from Observation Post #8
Piedras Blancas, California,
Wayne Perryman explains: "We stand watch from 7 a.m. to
7 p.m., with each observer rotating positions each 1.5 hours.
are on watch
a day, each with a 3-hour break between watches."
thanks, Wayne Perryman, for sharing
news of the cow/calf numbers with us from your observation
post on the migration trail!
12: We had 35 c/c pairs last week so the migration
rate has held steady for two weeks. This puts the annual total
calves so far, up from last year's full season count of 117.
Migration is stretching a bit later than usual, and as yet
has not indicated that it wants to slow down. Based on ice
distribution from last April through July, we expected a significant
increase in calf production this year — and so far we
are on the right track!
5: We had another good week, counting 34 calves in some marginal
sighting conditions due to high winds. That brings our season's
total to 116 calves, or one short of the full count from last
year. So it is another poor recruitment year, but it will be
up from last year when all is said and done.
28: Things finally started picking up
last week and we had 16 c/c pairs on April 25, our busiest day
of the season so far. Total for the week was 58 calves, bringing
our total for the season to 83. This is still very low (5th out
of 15 for lowest at this date) but things seem to be increasing
so: Are they late? Is calf production down
to come next week.
22: It has been a slow year so far. We counted only 25
calves through last Friday (April 28), but on that day we had
6 calves (the highest day of the
season). On April 21 we had 9, so things appear to be
picking up. I don't expect a banner year, but I was hoping for
a better year
week was a little slow, with 9 c/c pairs, bringing our total
for the year to 12 pairs. It has been pretty
windy so far this week, so we haven't gotten much effort in.
We are still seeing
more adults and juveniles offshore. That's usual,
so maybe they are just a little late. This isn't the lowest count
by this time; I think 5 of the 15 years were lower, and we are
only counting 5 days a week instead of 6. So, it is too early
to guess how this season will shape up.
7: We are still seeing a fair number of animals
offshore. We saw 347 adults/juveniles during our Monday-to-Friday
That phase of the migration is winding down now, so we
should see fewer animals offshore and
we will get more cows with calves as the week wears on. Total
so far: 3 calves.
4: We saw our first 2 calves today, so the northbound
parade is starting right on time!
2: We had a good week at Piedras. Started watches
on Monday and got in about 52 hours of effort from Monday through
We saw 380 adults and juveniles which is higher than average
for the last week of March. All but 9 on the animals we saw
were clearly in the offshore corridor (
about a mile offshore, the "highway" that the adults and juveniles
follow), rather than the inshore path
followed by cows with calves. We saw a few small animals in the
offshore highway that were 1- or 2- year-olds. Looks like
the northbound migration of adults and juveniles is a little
later than normal, but nothing really significant.
We expect to get a few calves this week as the adult count
slows a bit and the inshore migration starts to heat up.
24, Day #1 of 2008 Cow/Calf Census: Wayne
Perryman reports: We had 85 adults and 1 juvenile recorded
today. No calves,
Pretty normal here in paradise.
10: No mom/calf pairs
yet, but Mr. Perryman reports: Last season was off the chart
of ice in
driving force behind what
is clearly an anomalous year. Gray whales are reported to be
turning the corner into the Sea of Cortez, and there aren't many
calves in the lagoons from what I have heard. We plan to start
as scheduled on March 24 and see how it goes.
18: Biologist Wayne Perryman finished a shore-based
survey of southbound gray whales last week and won't start
mothers and babies until March 24. He sums up and makes a
prediction: "Weather was a challenge this
year and we saw more calves born on the south this year
than last. Based on an early
melt of arctic ice last
this should be a good year for calf production.
Last year's estimate was very low (low 400s is the approximate
and looks like it will be the third-lowest in the 14 year
time series of counts."
have more photos and stories of Mr. Perryman's 2008 count
of cows and calves
in coming weeks! For now, meet one of his counting partners:
Perryman's dog Nancy, "the world's only gray whale-
spotting Welsh terrier."
Photo Wayne Perryman