from Observation Post #8
Piedras Blancas, California,
Biologist Wayne Perryman reports:
July 15, 2009: Final count of northbound gray whale calves
was 86 calves, which is the lowest in the time series for this
11 (final report to JN): This
is a VERY slow year. We saw only 5 cow/calf pairs last week,
but the fact that we had a lot of fog didn't help. So we
up to 76 for the year, which puts us firmly in third place
for the lowest count over the 16 years of this effort. Ice
heavy last season in Alaska due to a very cold winter, so
this is consistent with what we think we understand about
the position of ice relative to the feeding grounds when
pregnant females swim north. However, I think that this may
a stronger effect than we had anticipated.
27: We had great weather last week but we are only
up to 43 calves so far. This is about the third slowest start
16 year time series. On the bright side, on Saturday (officially
a day off because we don't have enough money in the budget
the observers overtime) we saw 13 pairs go through just in
casual watching. So we can say it is a slow start — but
maybe we have a big pulse coming.
13: We saw 6 cow/calf pairs and 16 adult/juvenile
animals this week, bringing our calf total to 8 so far. This
to what we saw last year at this time. In casual watching
Sunday (April 12, when we aren't on site counting),
one observer saw 5 cow/calf pairs go by. The parade is starting
to pick up!
had a bit of wind this week but got a good 5 days of effort
about 15-20 adults and juveniles a day and the migration is starting
to move closer to shore. Based on arctic ice alone, I expect
we will have a year very similar to last year.
24: Saw 1 cow/calf pair! This is our first week on
site at Pt Piedras Blancas.
18: Too early! Wayne Perryman will set up for his
cow/calf census the last week in March.
He reports: "We are working on ice distribution data now to see
if we can come up with a prediction before we get up there."