CRC ID# 49 Patch: First seen in 1991 and every year since .
Update: March 30, 2011
are surging northward. The first leaders
have reached Alaska. Reports are flooding in from Washington, and
Post #7 set a sightings record. Explore
of travel; what are the reasons behind it? Discover what's
so unusual in our Image of the Week.
Week's Report Includes:
of the Week
Watching: News from Observation Posts
on the globe to see the migration route. Then click
red dots for latest news from our Posts.
This week: See fresh field notes from #2, #5, #6, #7,
#8, #9 ,
thank all the citizen scientists who report sightings. Be sure
to click sightings or
the dots on the MapServer for
their stories and comments.
Image: Michael H. Smith
Research ID# 49) is one of the regular returning gray whales
in Puget Sound.
Patch was first
in 1991— and
Michael H. Smith
A cow/calf pair migrates past Post #7!
gray whales to reach Alaska were joyfully reported March 19.
The whale parade is causing
big excitement off the coast of Washington, where highway
near Penn Cove because so many people had slowed or stopped
to see the
At Bainbridge Island, WA,"We've had whales every day for
almost a week." Many, like Patch, are old favorites returning. "Seeing
the gray on this beautiful 1st day of spring, I paused to reflect
of grays in Puget Sound. How they represent the time of year
where winter is losing its grip—and the hope of warmer
spring days awaiting us all," wrote a whale watcher.
California, whales stream past Monterey Bay (#9) and
the two point-count sites.
Schulman-Janiger at ACS/LA (#6) jubilantly
13-year record of 64 northbound on March 21! She predicts: "I
think that we will be seeing a good number of grays over
the next few weeks. Hopefully
be accompanied by a bumper crop
March 29, Michael Smith's Counters (Post #7)
celebrated their first cow/calf sighting!
Their string of double-digit days included a new record
high. (See data.)
San Diego (#5) they
continue to see the gray whales heading North, notes Birch
Aquarium's Staci Shaut, but "it looks like many of the moms
and calves are still in the lagoons.
One of our naturalists just returned from our last trip to
Baja and said that the moms and calves were very relaxed.
Moms were spy hopping and breaching and even some of the
were trying to spy hop,"
March 28 was day one of biologist Wayne Perryman's annual cow/calf
count at Pt. Piedras Blancas, CA (#8).
It brought good weather and more than 40 adults and juveniles
streaming past. The crew counted about the same on day 2, March
29. "No cows with calves yet but we are at the ready," reports
these observations indicate that the
migration will soon end one phase and begin the next. What
will we see?
Order: What's the Pattern?
years of watching the migration, experts have seen that groups of whales
generally travel in surges. These jumps in numbers are called pulses. They
also travel in a certain order. Explore this animation with the help
of these questions:
the Migration: Using Daily Data
This Week's Questions:
What a surprise we see in this
week's data! As you look at the numbers, think about these questions:
the latest numbers show any pulses (surges in numbers)
at Post #6 and #7? Any calves yet? Summarize what you see.
time for a whale choosing a certain route between Post #6 and Post
#7 is just
under a day—maybe 22 hours—for mature
21, folks at Post #7 were hoping to set another record
day on March 22. Did
happen at Post #7? Share possible explanations.
Prepare to Ask the Expert!
Marine Biologist Kim Shelden, our Gray Whale Expert
Do You Wonder?
Click your way through the gray whale images in the photo galleries
as you prepare to Ask the Expert. Try to notice two things
about each image. What makes you curious? What would you like to
whales and their migration, then prepare your questions. Marine
biologist Kim Shelden is waiting for them! Submit
your questions from noon on April 1 until noon on
April 15. Here's everything you need to know:
Gray Whale Resources to Explore!
Next Gray Whale Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 13, 2011.