Thanks to Peggy Sloan, who is the Education Curator @ NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, we now know the whale that was recently spotted by Jeff Davis was a humpback whale. I sent her a link with Mr. Davis's photos (including this one)and asked for assistance in ID'ing the whale and she was nice enough to respond with the detailed information below.
So based on Ms. Sloan's information, keep your eyes open for the next couple of months and let us know if you are lucky enough to spot a whale. And if luck doesn't find you, don't worry, the Aquarium is in the process of updating it's whale exhibit so you can at least gain some valuable information for next years season.
And speaking of whales, on 12/22 another whale was spotted by Gordy near the CB/KB line but he did not have his camera with him at the time.
Here's Ms. Sloan's informative email:
"Thank you for sharing the whale spotting story with the Aquarium. We received several similar photos during the past few weeks. This time of year it is not uncommon for humpback whales to travel close enough to shore to be spotted from the beach. That said; it’s a treat every time! From around early November through April humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales travel close to shore as they move from their summer feeding grounds near Canada, to winter breeding grounds farther south. You are far more likely to spot humpback whales than the endangered right whales. To distinguish between the two look for the tell-tale dorsal fin – very visible even in the cropped photo you sent – of the humpback whale. Right whales have no dorsal fin. Also, humpback whales have long relatively thin pectoral (or side) fins where right whales have short relatively stumpy pectoral fins. There appears to be a bottlenose dolphins swimming alongside the humpback whale in the photo.
In 2012 the Aquarium will open an upgraded whale exhibit where visitors can learn more about these animals."