Tuesday, April 26, 2011
If you’ve been following the gray whales this year you know that this has been one of the best years we’ve had. As the official gray whale seasons comes to an end at the end of the month, the numbers are still holding strong.
When gray whales migrate, there is typically a pattern as to which groups leave when. On the southbound migration, when they’re heading south for the winter, the pregnant females normally pass by first so they can get to the lagoons to give birth, next are the singles that are mingling and will be mating this year, and then last are typically the juveniles that are still trying to figure things out. On the northbound migration, the first to leave the lagoons for the summer feeding grounds are the newly pregnant females, then the singles and juveniles, and then lastly the cow/calf pairs. The last two weeks have been filled with the little ones passing by with their mothers.
In addition to all of the gray whales, just this last weekend we also got another sighting of a blue whale! We normally have one or two blue whales that hang out here for a couple weeks before the majority of the blues get here in June and July. I’m really excited to see which blue whale this is once we get some photos of the dorsal fin so we can match him up. It’ll be interesting to see if this is the same whale that was here in April last year.
April 30th is the last official day of gray whale watching, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop going out or we’ll stop seeing whales. We’ll be switching to our Dolphin and Sea Life cruises but of course if there’s whales out there, we’ll go look. The gray whale numbers will start to slow down soon, but there is always stuff to see out there. Some of the most exciting stuff I’ve ever seen has taken place in May where I saw breaching humpback whales. Although we don’t have an actual humpback whale season here, we do get them around this time here and there. We’ve already had a few sightings this year and I can only hope we get more!
It’s a big ocean out there with lots to see, but if you haven’t made it out this year to see some gray whales now is a great time before the last little guys pass by.
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