Field Notes 2013
Seattle, Washington, United States
April 15: Gray whales are still abounding all over Saratoga Passage and upper Possession Sound. The waters off Langley, Bell's Beach and as far north as Crescent Harbor have seen a steady stream of the big blotchy cetaceans as they cruise from mudflat to mudflat. As described before, the whales blast out the pits using a stream of water pressure out their (large) mouths, then fill their mouths with the water that's full of shrimp and worms (if they're in the right mudflats), then press the water out through the baleen, then swallow the goodies, and go back for more. These same few gray whales seem to know where the right mudflats are around here, so they come back year after year. —Courtesy Orca Network
March 31: Gray whales have been in their accustomed feeding areas around Hat/Gedney Island (it has two names) and points north and south in great abundance over the past three days (29-31). At least 8 gray whales have graced these waters, mostly near shallow mudflats, in recent days.
Gray whales every day now in Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey Islands, according sightings from Orca Network and appearing on our MapServer since March 21.
March 25: An observer reported to Orca Network: "Dubknuck is back—gray whale #44 was in Penn Cove tonight!" Someone else also reported this whale on March 26.
March 18: Maya from Washington State Ferries reported to Orca Network a single gray whale near the ferry lane between Clinton and Mukilteo to Orca Network.
March 17: Three gray whales on the south end of Gedney Island were reported at 2:41 by Tom & Tasha Hofer aboard the Mystic Sea.
March 17: "Finally, my first Gray of the season," Barbara Brock of Camano Island reported to Orca Network. "About 10:30 AM Sunday, mid channel between Mabana Rd. on Camano and Bell's Beach on Whidbey. Seemed to be feeding and not moving much."
March 16: "At 7:40AM a single gray whale passed by Tulalip Shores, just outside of the boat buoys. The whale was headed north toward Spee-bi-dah, not stopping to feed along the way," reported Vicki Mattson, Tulalip Shores (to Orca Network)
March 10: Writing in the Seattle Times newspaper, Linda Mapes reported the resident gray whales are back in Whidbey and Camano Island waters once again. "This small group of resident grays typically arrives to our region in early March and stays through the end of May or early June, feeding on ghost shrimp along the sand and mud shores of Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey Islands, and in Possession Sound.
"Not true year round residents, they are more like lingerers, stopping to rest and feed on the journey to their summering grounds in the Bering Sea. The whales are arriving from their birthing lagoons in Mexico, where they have spent the winter."