We’re often asked during our whale watches “When is the best time of year to see whales?” And while we can have lulls in between the peaks of our migrations we can see large whales at any time of year. In the past couple of weeks we’ve been visited by a number of humpback whales, along with the many sightings of common and bottlenose dolphins. Humpback whales, like many whale species, migrate from colder, northern feeding grounds they inhabit in the summer months towards warmer, southern breeding grounds in the winter. While we can see a few humpbacks during all seasons of the year if they are off of their migratory route, our predominant humpback sightings follow their migratory seasons. In the Pacific Ocean most humpbacks reside near Alaska, USA, Canada, and eastern Russia for the summer and then move to either areas around Japan and the Phillipines, Hawaii, or Mexico and Central America. Scientists have been working on cataloging and identifying the whales that show up in the different breeding zones, partially to learn as much as we can about their habits but also to confirm if there are “stocks” of humpbacks that routinely stop in specific zones of their southern breeding grounds and which individuals belong to those breeding stocks.
While we might see more humpback whales during the winter through the spring as they return to their northern feeding grounds, that doesn’t mean you should wait to get on a whale watch. Come on down to Long Beach and get your combo ticket for the Aquarium of the Pacific and Harbor Breeze Cruises.
If you have been enjoying our blog photos, all the photos credited to the Aquarium of the Pacific are taken by our photo ID interns during their whale watches where tehy are recording whale sightings. Are you or someone you know interested in learning how to collect field data and honing your photography skills while monitoring local whales and dolphins? Follow the link to apply for our Marine Mammal Internship today! Application window closes on November 13, follow the link and be ready to upload a resume and cover letter to be considered for this amazing opportunity.