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Whales AND Dolphins AND Sea Life!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Education | Whale Watching

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Julien

Whales AND Dolphins AND Sea Life!
The greaceful fluke of a recent humpback whale taking a dive near Redondo canyon.  | Aquarium of the Pacific

It is not ‘no whale November’ folks, even though we are not in an official whale season; we are still seeing whales and having really exciting trips on our dolphin and sea life cruises! One of the big highlights was a November blue whale! As I was saying in the last blog, you never know what is going to happen with our whale seasons! This blue may have been sticking around for a last minute bite to eat on krill before its journey. We also happened upon a humpback whale, several Risso’s dolphins, an elephant seal and the return of the masked booby bird!

The blue was such a nice surprise as we had not seen one for almost an entire month during our trips. This whale was quite large and covered in diatoms making it seem like it had a yellowish tint to its skin. Diatoms are green algae that grow on the whales’ skin, usually on the ventral side, which gave them the name ‘sulfur bottoms’ back in the whaling days. Blue whales, unlike most of their baleen cousins, rarely have parasites living on their skin, most likely because of their speed. The humpback that was sighted on the 17th was a treat to see since dolphins had been the star of our whale watches for the few days prior. This humpback was near Redondo canyon cruising around and showing us its marvelous fluke.

Even though the boobies were our avian highlight of the year so far, we have been seeing some other beautiful birds that we do not typically see during our trips. The surf scooters have been seen scooting around in groups of several adult males and one adult female. These sea ducks winter in temperate coastal waters but are usually found in lakes during the summer. The adult males are quite colorful with beautiful patterns on their beaks, and at first glance, could almost be mistaken for a type of puffin!

The sunsets have been magical if you are on-board a 3:00 p.m. trip and I was lucky enough to witness my first green flash last week! Common and bottlenose dolphins have been energetically entertaining the guests on the majority of our sea life cruises. Gray whale season officially starts on December 1st and many have already been reported! So give the gift this holiday season of spending quality time with your family enjoying nature, learning something new, and looking for marine life with us!

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