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More Blue Whales!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Whale Watching

Monday, March 18, 2013

Julien

Is the season starting early?

The blue whales came back for more! We were hoping that seeing a blue as early as February this year would indicate the start to an early season, but not this early! We have had 10 sightings of the blues since the beginning of March, mostly within the last week! They have consistently been feeding on krill and showing us some amazing lunge feeding. We do not know if this means that the season has officially started this early but it sure is a pleasant surprise and a treat for all of the whale watch tour guests. In the past around February or March we’ve seen a couple of blues in the area probably checking for the krill availability, with other blues arriving in large numbers around June. But this year, it seems many of them have come to stay for a while. If this does mean the 2013 blue whale season is starting early, it will be interesting to see how the whole season changes, if at all.

I, of course, am super excited to have the blues back early, since these whale watches are always full of excitement. The first time I ever saw a blue whale was while working on our whale watch tours, and it was such an amazing moment. To this day, every time I see one, it still blows me away at how large these marine mammals are, and how they can consume 8,000 pounds of krill in one day. Watching them lunge feed at the surface, right in front of the boat, is one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen while in the field with wild animals. I hope this means we will see them for a longer period of time this season. It is also pretty neat to see blue whales and gray whales all in one day!

Now even though the blues have been stealing the show in the last week doesn’t mean they are the only whales we have been seeing. We are still in gray whale season and have been seeing several north bounders with 33 sightings since the beginning of the month. But let’s not forget about the fin whales because since the first of the month, we have had 56 sightings! Along with seeing the blues, there have been several fin whales joining in on the krill party and it is common for us to see both fins and blues together feeding in the same area. We also had a fun surprise a few days ago as an elephant seal popped its head out of the water to check out the boat.

Dolphin sightings have been occurring almost daily as well, which is always nice to see. They bring playfulness to the trips and are always fun to watch as they ride along the wake of the boat. We have had almost daily occurrences of dolphin sightings which range between the four main species we encounter; common, bottlenose, Pacific white-sided and Risso’s. If you feel adventurous and want to go search for some whales with us, come on out on a whale watch tour guided by experts!

More Blue Whales!
Two gray whales travelling north together  | Aquarium of the Pacific
More Blue Whales!
Three gray whales all fluking one after the other!  | Aquarium of the Pacific
More Blue Whales!
A fin whale searching for food with gorgeous Santa Catalina Island as the backdrop.  | Aquarium of the Pacific
More Blue Whales!
Hundreds of common dolphins riding the waves.  | Aquarium of the Pacific

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