02-09-2013: Dwindling Gray Whales Continue South, Northbounders Start to Show Up, Common Dolphins and Risso’s Dolphins

We’re still seeing grays heading south. These are likely non-breeding youngsters and off-year mature females. Most mature females breed every other year. However, some females have been observed giving birth yearly.

We suspect the south-bounders we are seeing now won’t be making the full migration all the way to Baja. They will probably turn around and start heading back up north before they get to border of California and Baja, Mexico.

We have already seen a handful of north-bounders this week making their way back up to the feeding grounds in Alaska. Mid-february is the historical period in which we start to see more and more north-bound gray whales. We’ll see the males and females that have already completed their breeding cycle first.

As we get closer to April and May, we’ll start to see the mothers and calves making their way across the Monterey Bay on their way up north. We also are likely to see more ocras during this time frame. The Monterey Bay is notorious for orca ambush attacks on the gray whale calves.

We also had some excellent looks at about 200+ long-beaked common dolphins and about 50+ Risso’s dolphins. I love the dolphins. Particularly the long-beaked commons as they buzz the boat and ride along next to the boat while using the energy of our wake to propel themselves through the water. Very cool.

About Michael Sack

Boat Captain, Monterey Bay marine life naturalist and guide. Photographer and Videographer.
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