ACS/LA GRAY WHALE CENSUS AND BEHAVIOR PROJECT


As of 22 APR 2014

Southbound Today ---------------- 0
Northbound Today --------------- 38
Total Whales Today ------------- 38
Southbound Calves Today --------- 0
Northbound Calves Today -------- 14


Season to Date (since 1 Dec 2013)

Southbound ------------------- 1212
Northbound ------------------- 1303
Total ------------------------ 2515
Calves South ------------------- 14
Calves North ------------------- 84

Message from the observers: GRAY WHALE CALVES and ORCAS: Oh my! This was our highest gray whale calf day for this season: 14 pairs! One pair came into the cove between us and the Pt. Vicente lighthouse and swam among the waves so close that the census observers had to evacuate our observation post on the PVIC patio and go down to the fence line to watch them. They stayed there for over a half an hour; both mom and calf produced bubble blasts, and the calf tried to do a spyhop. Two different sightings included BREACHING CALVES! One calf was especially active: breaching, lunging, and head slapping; this activity occurred as they were leaving our viewing area. The other calf BREACHED right down in front of us; it did a there-quarters breach, then later on the MOM BREACHED! Two cow/calf pairs swam with BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN , coming into our viewing area via the very shallow water between "Whale Rock" and "Pyramid Rock". Gray whales in seven of our twenty-one sightings milled, whales in six sightings rolled, and calves in two sightings displayed their pectoral flippers. We also sighted 12-20 ORCAS! We watched them for almost two hours as they milled about two miles offshore; some were BREACHING, and there was a lot of tail-slapping. After about an hour, we noticed that there was an oily-looking slick in their milling area that grew much larger over time. Gray whale census director Alisa Schulman-Janiger concludes that these were mammal-eating Bigg's (transient) type killer whales that had killed a gray whale calf; feeding on its carcass would eventually have produced a rapidly growing oily slick. These whales typically celebrate after a kill with lots of surface activity - which is what we observed. FIN WHALES came through our area a few times. We also spotted COMMON DOLPHIN and BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN.



For more information please contact the Census director, Alisa Schulman-Janiger (email: janiger@cox.net)

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