Migration Update: April 27, 2011
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Whale mom/calf pairs are surging north in a week with good news and great news! In the past 13 days, ACS/LA volunteers spotted 98 northbound gray whales (including 36 calves)—the highest calf numbers to date since 2006. Thrills and chills abound in this week's Field Notes. What is the calf doing in this week's image?

This Week's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Photo: Michael H. Smith

What is Baby Doing?

Whale Watching: News from Observation Posts

Click on the globe to see the migration route. Then click red dots for latest news from our Posts.

This week: See field notes from #6, #7, #8, #10, and #15

Watching Whales at Bodega Bay, CA

"In the past 13 days, we have spotted 98 northbound gray whales (including 36 calves): the highest calf numbers to date since 2006," reports Director Alisa Schulman-Janiger at ACS/LA (#6). (Calf counts at this post generally peak around April 25.) Many of the whales passed so close that observers could hear them blow, and bottlenose dolphin and sea lions leaped playfully among the whales. Wouldn't you love to be there?

At Post #7, Michael Smith's Counters have had one great day after another (see data). Yesterday,(April 26, "it was almost non-stop whales" from the opening. They added seven more calves in an altogether fantastic day," reported Director Michael H. Smith. But boat traffic on April 19 kept them on edge as they watched the cow/calf parade.

Great news also comes from Wayne Perryman's scientific study site at Pt. Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Station (Post #8). The northbound pulse of gray whale calves is now in full swing, with 19 c/c pairs spotted April 26. Mr. Perryman now has hopes of beating last year's low total of 71 calves. Find out something that has make him think, question and wonder.

Farther north, happy whalewatching cruisers at Post #15 (Vancouver, CA) reported their first mom/calf pairs, and the whales have been streaming past Kodiak Island, Alaska (#16) as they enter the home stretch of their over-5,000-mile migration.

Highlights: What's Happening Now

Read the latest thrills and chills from Post #7.

Here come the moms and babies! What's the exciting news at Post #8 after this week's rush? Click the photo for a question too.

Click and watch the few remaining whales at nursery Laguna San Ignacio (#2) at sunset.

Video: BajaEcotours

Tracking the Migration: Using Daily Data

Explore This Week's Questions:
In our first report we said, "Delighted observers predict a record year." As you look at the data now, answer these questions:

  • How do sightings at each of our two California point-count posts compare to those seen during this period a year ago? (Data pages contain two years of data.)
  • Predict trends you will see in the next 2-week report period, our final numbers for the 2011 spring migration.

Tracking the Migration Using Daily Data

Tracking the Migration Using Daily Data

View, record, graph, and analyze the latest data from California Posts #6 and #7.

FAQ: Answers from the Gray Whale Expert

It took an expert to answer some of the tough questions you sent, and this week we share fascinating answers! You get an update on a mysterious whale that appeared a year ago, and see Kim's responses to challenges like these:

  • Do the moms make the babies leave them, or do the babies want to leave?
  • Are whales afraid of anything in the ocean?
  • If the arctic ice all melts, what will the gray whales do?

Expert Answers for 2011

Teaching Suggestions

Marine biologist Kim Shelden, our gray whale expert! She answered your questions from NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, Wash.
Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Will you take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation? With your help, we can document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

More Gray Whale Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The FINALGray Whale Migration Update Will Be Posted on May 11, 2011.