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Our First Blue Whale and More!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Whale Watching

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Julien

That’s right! We sighted our first blue whale of the season already on February 18th! Typically our blue whale season starts in June and ends around late October but we do tend to see early blues every year. This is one of the earliest blue sightings we have had in the past few years. The first blue sighting last year was in March, and the prior years, in April. We guess these whales are scouting out the area in search of the krill they will all be gorging themselves on in the near future. Since they have an amazing ability to vocalize hundreds and even thousands of miles under the right conditions, it’s possible they could be communicating about food availability to the others. Krill availability largely depends on upwelling. Upwelling occurs when the deep cold waters are pushed to the surface due to surface winds. Colder water equals more nutrients, which means more krill. So, I hope our water temperatures stay cool this summer, and that this early blue means an early start to the season!

In addition to the exciting blue whale sighting, February has overall been an amazing month for spotting animals. From the mid-end of February we have seen a total of 56 fin whales and 21 gray whales along with thousands of dolphins! The fins have been happily feeding and we have had some awesome trips watching them lunge feed at the surface. We have also been seeing more and more northbound gray whales, which are headed back to Alaskan waters after their ‘vacation’ down in Baja California. Breaching grays have also been making the trips exciting and as always, very spontaneous. Although the majority of the gray whale sightings have been going north the last few weeks, there have been a few southbound grays that are just a little tardy in their migration as well. Dolphin sightings have been strong with hundreds of bottlenose dolphins and the return of the Risso’s dolphins too! It’s been a few months since our last Risso’s sighting which of course is always a nice surprise.

Now that we are in the month of March, the gray whales will be in full swing for the northern part of their migration, so this is an excellent opportunity to see these seasonal wonders. The weather has been getting warmer as we continue these fabulous days out on the water with trips filled with wild life! So come on down and see me or one of my colleagues on a whale search in Long Beach!

Our First Blue Whale and More!
A fin whale busy working on lunge feeding thousands of pounds of krill in one bite!  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Our First Blue Whale and More!
A beautiful breaching gray whale!  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Our First Blue Whale and More!
A bottlnose dolphin leaping clear out of the water in an amazing display of their flexibility and strength!  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Our First Blue Whale and More!
A nice surprise of a large pod of Risso's dolphins.  | Aquarium of the Pacific

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