It's the time of year for us to witness the vanguard of the Gray Whale migration. Scott and Tree Mercer spotted one of the first groups last Sunday, nine Gray Whales, swimming purposefully south. These are the pregnant females hurrying to their birthing lagoons off Baja.
Emily Jordan was out on a boat excursion and near the Point Arena buoy when she spotted these Gray Whales.
We have had a group of subadult Gray Whales feeding off the Point Arena coast, seen nearly every day. They are probably what Emily photographed. Beautiful photos of these cetaceans that we love so much.
Thanks to Emily for allowing me to share her photos with you here.
We have a storm coming in later today, the first rain in many days. We are looking forward to it!
Scott and Tree Mercer are studying marine life off the Mendonoma coast. One of the most productive sites is the bluffs of the Point Arena Lighthouse. Scott recently photographed Tree on the bluffs. She was helping spot whales.
The Mercers post their daily sightings on Facebook at Mendonoma Whale and Seal Study. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/Mendonoma-Whale-and-Seal-Study-1421926098039236/
They also share their sightings with other research groups, and fortunately with me, for my weekly Mendonoma Sightings column in the Independent Coast Observer. Recent sightings have been young Gray Whales feeding off the coast, and several Humpback Whales about 3 1/2 miles out.
I thank Scott for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
Jon Loveless saw some, and Paul Brewer too. Young Gray Whales, juvenile whales who did not migrate up to their feeding grounds in the Arctic, have been seen most days off the Mendonoma coast. Paul Brewer got a few photos of one of these whales.
Whale expert, Scott Mercer, is excited about this development. He says, “These sightings clearly demonstrate how rich our local coast is.”
Our heat wave is over and the smoky skies have cleared, thank goodness.
Thanks to Paul for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see much more of Paul's nature photography, here is the link to his website: http://www.capturingnatureswonders.com/
Ken Bailey spotted this young, pre-adult, Gray Whale feeding off the Mendonoma Coast. It has quite a load of barnacles on its head.
Whale expert Scott Mercer took a look at these photos. He said the size of the whale's head tells him it is around three years old.
It's great to see this young whale. Gray whales don't become mature - sexually active - until they are at least eight years old.
Thanks to Ken for allowing me to share his photos with you here. To see much more of Ken's wildlife photography, in particular his underwater photography, here is a link to his website: http://www.seadreams.org/
Richard Kuehn noticed spouts over the Thanksgiving holiday, perhaps the vanguard of the southward Gray Whale Migration. More Grays have been seen, though in small numbers.
Scott Mercer, a Gray Whale expert, related the theory that, because there was an early ice-out in their prime feeding grounds, they were able to feed earlier than usual. It was then thought the Grays might be on the move earlier than usual, and that has proved to be the case.
Here is an aerial photo of a Gray Whale that Craig Tooley took last year.
Thanks to Rich and Craig for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much, much more of Craig's Nature photography, here is his website: www.ruffimage.com