Many beachgoers lured to the coast by Sydney's balmy conditions were in for a treat on Saturday, with as many as 10 humpback whales turning out to mark the start of Sydney's whale-watching season.
The tally "is a phenomenal number for this early in the season", said Jonas Liebschner from Whale Watching Sydney.
Two humpbacks were spotted playing with a pod of dolphins off Bondi in the morning, followed by another five in the same area during the afternoon.
Humpback whales frolic off Bondi. Photo: Jonas Liebschner, www.whalewatchingsydney.com.au
A further four were spotted near Botany Bay, Mr Liebschner said.
Whale numbers have increased about 10 per cent over the past five or six years, Mr Liebschner said.
About 20,000 whales will migrate north past Sydney on their way to sub-tropical breeding grounds off the Queensland coast.
Whales at play
Amazing images of two humpback whales at play with dolphins off Bondi Beach. Pictures by Jonas Liebschner and are courtesy of www.whalewatchingsydney.com.au. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH. Photo: Jonas Liebschner / www.whalewatchingsydney.com.au
"Then there will be 22,000 coming back, as there will be newborn calves," Mr Liebschner said.
Sydney's temperature reached 24.2 degrees on Saturday and a similar day is forecast for Sunday, extending the run of days above 22 degrees to a record-matching nine for this late in the autumn.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting most of the coming week will have daily maximums of 24-25 degrees, stretching the run of unusual warmth to at least 15 days.
Sydney's long-run average for May is 19.4 degrees.