breaching humpback
Photo by Ian Walsh

Newfoundland man captures stunning bird’s-eye view of breaching humpbacks

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If you thought seeing a whale up close was mesmerizing, try watching one swim from above.

Newfoundland resident Ian Walsh captured the unique perspective of a group of humpbacks on Sunday using a high-definition camera and a drone. Walsh was filming along the water near Mobile, just south of St. John’s, when he spotted the breaching whales nearby. 

He describes the video, which also features Newfoundland puffins flying above, as “a bit choppy,” because he was having a tough time seeing where the whales were headed in the bright light. But the footage he managed to capture is nothing short of beautiful, and for some, it’s even useful.

According to Jack Lawson, a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the rarely seen view of the whales is a great resource for researchers.

“Those videos are very useful,” he told CBC News“If anyone is giving me pictures of the underside of humpback whales or flukes, for example, there are catalogs for humpback whales that can help you identify individual humpbacks.”

Videos like these also give researchers a unique look at behaviours they’re used to seeing from the side and, when they know how high the drone is, they can even estimate the whale’s size.

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