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The First Blue Whales are Right on Time!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Whale Watching

Thursday, March 08, 2012


And that't not the only exciting news

Since I’ve been out on the water and working with the Aquarium of the Pacific, one thing that I’ve noticed about blue whales is that the first time we seem them is right around the end of winter/early spring. This year it seems they’re right on time!

The typical blue whale season is from June to September, but each year we’ve had a couple of blue whales show up really early! They’ve stayed for a week or so, and then they’re gone. In 2009 and 2010 our first blue whale sightings took place in April. Last year they took place at the very end of February, and this year the first sighting of them from Pointe Vicente was two days ago. That’s earlier than the first two years. I can only hope that means they’ll be coming in early for the summer!

We’re not really sure why the few blue whales that we see show up early. One thing we know is that food is a major factor in their movements, but why exactly there are only a few here around this time is unknown. Perhaps it’s because they’re checking out the area and looking for food. Maybe they’re trying to see if it’s a good time to move in to this area to feed. Being one of the loudest animals in the world and being able to communicate hundreds and even thousands of miles away, I guess if there were a few whales “checking out” the area for food, it wouldn’t be too difficult to communicate with other whales and let them know.

In addition to the blue whale sighting, we also had some interesting news about the Western Pacific gray whale, Varvara. A few weeks ago I blogged about the tagged gray whale that traveled across the Bering Sea and joined up with other Eastern Pacific gray whales. It turns out that she started heading back north a few days ago and actually PASSED LONG BEACH!!! Unfortunately we didn’t get the information from the tag until after she had passed, but how exciting! I wonder if someone got any pictures.

Just to put the icing on the cake, we’re also on high alert for more orcas! We got word that there were some orcas seen off of Santa Barbara a couple days ago and quite a few times after they were spotted in that area they make their way down here. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will bring us on the boats.

The First Blue Whales are Right on Time!
The latest map showing Varvara's, the Western Pacific gray whale, migration past Long Beach.  | Oregon State university
The First Blue Whales are Right on Time!
A photo from some of the last transient orcas that were in the area. We think the orcas spotted in Santa Barbara were also transients. Hopefully they make their way here!  | Kera Mathes

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