JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Massive macho mammals put on a show off Sydney

Date

Georgina Robinson

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Close encounter with a humpback

Wildlife photographer Scott Portelli tells the story behind his photo of this close encounter with a baby humpback whale in Tonga.

PT0M0S 620 349

A pod of five testosterone-charged whales put on a tail-thumping display of machismo just off Sydney today.

The five male humpbacks photographed about two kilometres from Manly were competing for top billing in their pod as they made their way north for the mating season.

Usually the most dominant male whale would be the one that gets the female at the end 

Bass and Flinders Whale Watching crewman Jonas Liebschner, who captured these images, said the head-slapping, jumping spectacle was classic "competition pod" behaviour.

Just outstanding ... a humpback shows off to male rivals. Click for more photos

Sydney's humpback parade

Male humpbacks perform off the coast of Sydney today to display their dominance. Photo: Jonas Liebschner

"It's male whales pushing and shoving around quite a bit to show dominance and to try to get the alpha male position," Mr Liebschner said.

"Usually the most dominant male whale would be the one that gets the female at the end."

The pod was spotted frolicking a way off but experienced some measure of performance anxiety as the boat, which is required to keep at least 100 metres from the mammals, drew near.

But one humpback's exhibitionist streak got the better of him eventually, Mr Liebschner said.

The whale watchers were treated to a 15-minute display of breaching, fluke-up diving and tail slaps.

"Basically out of the blue one of them was jumping and did that for the next 15 minutes and then as we left there was another big breach," he said.

The pod is taking part in the annual northern migration, which peaks in June and July.

Mr Liebschner said that, while the boat chose to follow one pod closely today, there were many others in the water.

"On a really good day you might have 150 to 200 whales going up the coast of Sydney," he said.

"You obviously don't see that many on one trip but it's not unusual to see pods where you see five, six, seven, eight, nine or 10 whales."

Related Coverage

whale Sydney's humpback parade

Male humpbacks perform off the coast of Sydney today to display their dominance.

Thumbnail image for video asset. Close encounter with a humpback

Wildlife photographer Scott Portelli tells the story behind his photo of this close encounter with a baby humpback whale in Tonga.

Anger over whaling commission closed meeting

The most determined attempt in 24 years to draw up a peace deal over commercial whaling is to be sent behind closed doors today, in a last ditch bid for agreement.

Draft whaling deal under fire from scientists, greens

The International Whaling Commission withdrew behind closed doors on Monday within minutes of kicking off a tense meeting that could end a global ban on commercial whaling.

Garrett raps green giants over whaling stance

The Environment Protection Minister, Peter Garrett, has admonished global environmental powerhouses Greenpeace and WWF for weakening their stance over whaling.

Whaling dispute turns to 'speed dating'

Organisers of a last gasp bid for a whaling peace deal have set disputing nations up against each other behind closed doors in the hope of a breakthrough.

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers