It's time to wave goodbye to our big blue friends as the Southern Right Whales are heading south for summer.
The species visit the south-west from May to October each year to give birth and nurse their offspring in the cooler months of the year and are critically endangered on the Victorian Threatened Species Advisory List.
From October, the whales head to Sub-Antarctic waters to feed.
The whale which delighted beach dwellers at Warrnambool's breakwater on November 3 was an unusual sighting, though the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have recorded whales along the coast in months outside of their usual migration period.
The first Southern Right Whale sighting for the season was reported at Portland in early May, followed by the first cow-calf pair arriving at Logans Beach in Warrnambool in late June.
There were seven Southern Right Whale cow-calf pairs recorded this year, however sadly two calves died.
DELWP Natural Environment Program officer Mandy Watson said whale numbers continued to be monitored.
"We received more than 200 whale sightings reports along our coast this year covering three different species - Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale and Killer Whale," she said.
"DELWP conducts monitoring and research on the critically endangered south-eastern Australian Southern Right Whale population, which is estimated to be between 250 and 300 individuals.
"Following the unprecedented death of two calves this season, we will be assessing data and speaking to national and international colleagues to understand factors that may have contributed to these deaths.
"We're grateful for the support of whale watch volunteers and everyone who has contributed information to support the Southern Right Whale research program this year."
The launch of an online tool for citizen scientists and casual whale watchers to contribute whale sightings and photographs through swifft.net.au saw an enormous response with almost 300 whale images received.
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