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F A U N A     C A L E N D A R   -   W A T C H I N G
 
Whales
Killer whales
Penguins
Sea Elephants
Sea Lions
Dolphins
 
January    

February  

March  

April  

 

May

   

June

   

July

   

August

   

Septembre

October

November

 

December

 



Southern Whale (Eubalaena Australis)
Starting from the month of May and until the month of December of each year, the Whales arrive to the costs of the Golfos Nuevos, San Jose and the external coast of the Peninsula Valdes, a favorable place to mate, give birth to and to raise their calves. Once reproduction season came to end, the whales would begin their annual migration in search of food toward the southern seas.

The season of whales sighting from boats begins in June and finishes in December of each year. The sighting is best in the New Gulf, in the Tourist Villa of Puerto Piramides, Peninsula Valdes, the only place allowed and organized for that purpose. For the coastal observation, most favorable months are from May to November, and the places with most wildlife are the areas of the city of Puerto Madryn and The Doradillo Beach (The Quarries), declared as natural landscapes protected by Municipal Ordinance, located at 14 Km to the northwest of the city of Puerto Madryn by provincial route 42. Particularly this area stands out for its geography, turning it into appropriate place to come closer to the mother-whales with its calves at small distance from the coast.

Killer Whales (Orcinus Orca)
In Peninsula Valdes, they can be observed mostly between February and April in the Protected Areas of Caleta Valdés and Punta Norte.

Punta Norte is the most favorable place to see them getting out of the water to the beach, as feeding strategy, which includes calves of seals, finishing their reproduction period, and southern sea elephants in addition to other mammal species and fish. In October and November killer whales can be often observed in Caleta Valdés swimming close to the shore in search of sea elephants finishing their reproduction period.

Magellan Penguins (Spheniscus Magellanicus)
This non-flying sea bird lives in colonies distributed along the Patagonia coast from Península Valdés to Tierra del Fuego. They arrive only to reproduce and change the plumage between September and April of each year.

Authorized places of observation are the Protected Areas of Caleta Valdés in Península Valdés – a small colony in formation, and the Protected Area of Punta Tombo located 180 km to the south of Puerto Madryn, which is a continental colony of Magellan Penguins, the largest in the world, extending on the area of 210 hectares. In these two areas, first males arrive in the end of August and females in mid-September; starting fights between males to occupy their nests and form their respective pairs of the previous year. After courting and pairing, eggs would be laid between the third and last weeks of September, incubation lasting about 40 days. In the first and second weeks of November first offspring would be born and taken care of for about 90 to 100 days. In the beginning of January the young ones begin to acquire new plumage and then enter the sea and start their pelagic period developing in the end of January and beginning of February. In February, non-reproductive young penguins born last year enter full-blown stage of plumage changing lasting two or three weeks, avoiding the sea at that time. In the end of March, reproductive adults begin to change their plumage lasting all April and start pelagic period leaving the colony to emigrate to the North, up to the Brazil shores, Río de Janeiro, and pass the rest of the year in the sea to go back in September and start new cycle of reproduction and change of plumage.

Southern Sea Elephant (Mirounga Leonina)
Around the year Southern Sea Elephants can be observed along the entire external coast of the Peninsula Valdes (Protected Areas). Between August and April we can see them fulfilling their reproduction cycle and changing of skin. In the last weeks of winter and beginning of spring (end of August and beginning of September), the protected area of Faro Punta Delgada and Caleta Valdés (Punta Cantor) become the authorized posts for observation, where the first females arrive together with males, fights erupting among the males; then come the formation of first harems and first calving.

In the second and third weeks of September, calving dominates the reproductive scene, the size and number of harems growing day to day. The first and second weeks of October are the peak of the reproduction season, where the number of males and mature females is bigger than in any other season of the year, as well as the number of whale-calves. As of now, mating will hold total sway.

At the end of October, there are hundred of weaned calves, few mature individuals that didn't finish the reproduction, and the harems are smaller than in the beginning of the season with the difference that there are wounded, emaciated males without will to fight, to defend themselves or impose their will on the rivals. The skin change happens at the end of November and mid-January, first in the mature and young females, while the mature males change skin between February and April.

Sea Lions (Otaria Flavescens)
Seals can be sighted all the year round in the Protected Areas of Puerto Madryn (Punta Loma) and Peninsula Valdes, as they use the coast for breeding, change of skin and winter refuge. In the vicinity of Puerto Madryn, 17 km to the south, there is the Punta Loma seal-rookery.

The place allows to observe the animals using it to rest in the winter, between April and December. Beginning from December, the colonies start to emigrate to breeding-grounds in Peninsula Valdes, such as Punta Norte and Punta Pirámide, 5 km from the Tourist Village in Puerto Pirámide, where large males arrive first, fighting for the females and the territory, creating harems. In the beginning of January, the females give birth to first calves and in April the groups scatter and return to the winter refuge.                                

Dark Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus Obscurus)
Dark Dolphins of the Argentinean Coast can measure 1.70 m. They are very acrobatic and gregarious. They can be observed in shallow coast waters in groups of 6 to 15 animals. Between September and end April, in the regions of the Golfo Nuevo and San Jose, Peninsula Valdes, first births can be observed and mating reaching its peak in the summer months. Boat sightings of these dolphins can be realized in these months in the cities of Puerto Madryn and Puerto Pirámide.

 


   

 

   
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