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2015 Northbound Summary
Record numbers of gray whales have completed or are in the final stretch of their spring migration! A resounding THANKS to contributing scientists at three California point-count sites, with their final reports for the 2015 journey north:

Wayne, Perryman: NOAA Cetacean Health and Life History Program
"The gray whale season came to a screeching halt with only 7 calves counted this week, compared to 58 the week before. We closed down after watches on May 29 and wrapped up the season. It was another very good year for calf production with the final count around 410 calves. This web site covers some of the publicity we have gotten for the hexacopter work this season."

Alisa Schulman-Janiger: ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project
"May 25 was our final day in a season that brought our new record high southbound gray whale count as well as 2141 northbound gray whales (318 calves). This is our new record high northbound gray whale calf count, and our highest overall northbound count in 27 years. What an amazing season, with a fantastic team of dedicated citizen scientists! We'll be back at the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center on 1 December to start another Gray Whale Census season."

Michael H. Smith: Gray Whales Count
"We counted (all raw data) 1,424 grays, or nearly 40% more than our previous high. We also counted the most calves we have ever seen. The 2015 Count was extended four days, to May 27, as they migrated through the nearshore of the Santa Barbara Channel. We were looking forward to Extra Time — until the Refugio State Beach Oil Spill put the whales in jeopardy on their joyous journey north.... facing a poisonous slick, they were passing through. We warmed to mothers nursing calves and fell silent as they moved beyond Counter Point and the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, what is supposed to be a safe haven. The dolphins, sea lions, Harbor seals, fish kelp, and other marine organisms and birds that live in this severely damaged environment face long term peril."

Final tally sign, May 29, 2015Image: Michael H. Smith, Gray Whales Count