Display a total Eclipse of the heart

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

One of Koombana Bay’s most popular bottlenose residents put on a show for visitors this week when the playful dolphin “played hard to get” for a pair of male admirers.

Eclipse surprised Dolphin Discovery Centre staff and wowed interaction zone visitors when the 12-year-old came unusually close to shore to mate.

Flipping in the water and showing her pink belly – “advertising” that she is ready to mate – Eclipse flirted with a persistent Bistro and Fakey in a unique display for those lucky to witness it.

Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

“She was playing hard to get, she was rolling on her back so she was showing her belly out of the water and lifting her tail up so the boys couldn’t mate with her,” Dolphin Discovery Centre aquarist Jan Tierney told the South Western Times.

“That sort of thing might go on for a day or so and they might chase her around and around and then hopefully in one year, we’ll have a little baby Eclipse.”

And the chase did continue yesterday when Mrs Tierney said another six dolphins were seen following Eclipse in the bay.

Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

If the popular dolphin does have a calf, perhaps even more interesting is her family lineage in the bay.

“If she has a calf, that will be our first confirmed fourth generation calf that we know all the names of all four generations,” Mrs Tierney said.

Eclipse’s grandmother was Thin Fin – one of the first dolphins to come to the bay in 1989 – and her mother was Levy, who was born in 1994 before Eclipse was born in 2007.

“It’s pretty cool,” Mrs Tierney said.

Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

She said while it was common to see boys chasing the girls in the bay, the physical display so close to guests was unusual.

“That’s usually not displayed so close to our guests, so everybody that was here just had the most awesome day watching it all going on,” she said.

“We do see it all the time when we’re out on the boats, all the time, especially this time of the year.

Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

“When the water temperature reaches its peak, which is February, March every year, that’s a trigger for the mating to really get serious in the bay.”

It has been a busy week in the bay with fellow resident dolphin Scout bringing her newborn calf – believed to be about a week old – in for a look.

Eclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week.
Camera IconEclipse puts on a show in Koombana Bay this week. Credit: Supplied / Megan Lawless of Memories of Bunbury for Dolphin Discovery Centre

“It’s all happening this time of year, it’s very exciting,” Mrs Tierney said.

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