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Love is in the Air for Gray Whales Too!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Whale Watching

Thursday, February 07, 2013


When we get in to February, the first thing I think of is Valentine’s Day. It looks like the grays ways feel the same way because on February 1, 2013, we had some incredible mating behavior with gray whales right in front of our boat.

Our Spring interns have arrived and are now trained and on the boats daily. Their job is to go on all of our whale watches, collect data on our sightings, and then document it with pictures. One of our interns got quite a show of gray whales exhibiting mating behaviors on the boat and she got some great photos to document it as well.

Each year during the gray whale migration we see lots of different groups of whales. In the beginning of the season we normally see individuals moving quickly past Southern California as they try and get down to the warmer waters of Baja quickly so they can give birth. They are the whales that got pregnant last year and are ready to give birth. Next we normally see the smaller groups and what seem to be the “singles”. During this time is when we might see some frisky behaviors like we did on February 1. These are the whales that are hanging out together on the way down. It’s like a singles cruise. Everyone is mingling.

When gray whales start to court each other there tends to be a lot of commotion. There can be rolling, spy hopping, and close rubbing of the animals. My intern witnessed all of these behaviors and even got some great photos so I can show you! Who knows, maybe all of this will lead to a calf next year!

Besides having some exciting courting going on, we’ve also had a ton of Pacific white-sided dolphins! I mentioned this in a previous blog, but we’ve had even more. You might also hear these dolphins called Lags. That’s short for their scientific name which is Lagenorhynchus obliquidens. I feel like we’ve had more sightings this year than the last few year combined. It might have something to do with the increased squid sighted off of our coast. Either way, I’m just happy to be seeing them so much!

As the gray whale season is in full force, now is a great time to join us on the water. You never know what the whales will bring, but so far this February it seems to be right in tune with Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the Air for Gray Whales Too!
A gray whale rolls and then goes down bringing the fluke up during its courtship with another whale.  | Aquarium of the Pacific | Lilhac Medina
Love is in the Air for Gray Whales Too!
A Pacific white-sided dolphin surfaces for a breath behind the boat.  | Aquarium of the Pacific | Kera Mathes
Love is in the Air for Gray Whales Too!
Just a couple of the many lags we've been seeing.  | Aquarium of the Pacific | Kera Mathes

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