Two Gray Whales decided to swim close to shore near the mouth of the Gualala River. Photographers Tom Eckles and Ron Bolander were on the Gualala Bluff Trail with their cameras in hand. The first two photos are Tom's. You can see a fellow on the sandbar was having an up close and personal experience that day!
These next three are Ron's photos:
In this last photo you can see the head of this Gray Whale is encrusted with barnacles. That means it is an adult. It is spy hopping - taking a good look around.
I wish I had been on the Gualala Bluff Trail while these two Gray Whales were making a personal appearance!
Thanks to Tom and Ron for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much more of Tom's nature photography, here is the link to his website: www.tomeckles.com
An adult Gray Whale and her juvenile - a calf born earlier this year - have been seen for a week now. It is thought that these whales did not migrate to the Arctic Circle. This is an exciting development for the Grays. They are considered part of the new Pacific Aggregate Coastal Gray Whales.
Jim Garlock took the photo above. You can see a blow drifting above the Gray Whale. These whales are actually "rock picking," sucking up anthropods and other tasty treats from the rocks, rather than moving mud around as they do in the Arctic.
These two whales have been seen very close to shore, as Robert Scarola's photo will attest. It's very exciting to have them here during summer. Perhaps this will become a regular occurrence.
Thanks to Jim and Robert for allowing me to share their photos with you here.