08 January 2012

Islamorada Journal 2012...08 JAN


As promised, here are the photos Deb took of the dolphins in the three pods we saw on Saturday.

One of the groups had perhaps 30 members...have never seen a pod that large on Florida Bay before.

Click on any photo to enlarge.


The photos don't show how large these animals are...we'd guess some of them were as long as eight feet...maybe more.

The photos do, however, give an idea of their strength.


It's not always easy catching the dolphins at the most elegant part of their leaps...

...but in this shot Deb caught this fellow perfectly.

Looks as though these two were playing leapfrog.

Two of the pods chased after us when we motored past them, playing in our wake and giving good photo ops. But one group had absolutely no interest in us as they were in feeding mode...so we stopped the boat and just watched.

If you look closely at this photo and the next you'll see small fish in the air, jumping out of the water to get away from the dolphins.

This bunch had stirred up the water into a big mud. Dolphins will encircle their prey and then use their tails to create a wall of muddy water around the fish. Apparently this helps the dolphins concentrate and control the intended meal, mullet in this case, and allows the snacking to continue without a great deal of expense of energy on the part of the mammals.


Turns out this is called "mud-ring feeding." There's a video that shows it quite clearly at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArsoMcVi5MM

Smart rascals, aren't they!


This was Saturday night's sunset.

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