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First Northbound Babies!
"What a phenomenal gray whale season in southern California!" exclaims researcher Alisa-Schuman-Janiger." She tells us why:

  • This is the ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project's 32nd season, based at Pt. Vicente. Our gray whale counts (December 1 - March 6): 1863 southbound (including 49 newborn calves), and 444 northbound (including 2 calves). This is a record high southbound count, and our highest northbound counts in 17 seasons! (Last season we were at 1192 southbound and 338 northbound grays).
  • Our official turnaround date (when southbound migration phase switched to northbound migration phase) was on February 23—also our first day of mostly northbound grays.
  • We sighted our first northbound gray on January 2, and our first northbound calf on March 3rd (one of our earliest northbound calves). Our peak northbound counts occurred on March 4 and March 5 (49 northbound); we will quite likely record even higher counts (weather permitting)." —Alisa Schulman-Janiger, Director Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, March 6, 2015

At Gray Whales Count a bit further north, counters saw 40 northbound whales on March 7th. That's 266 so far, compared to 153 on last March 7th.

"We do not expect these numbers until — maybe — the fourth week in March. I don't know if it is population increase, great weather and observation ability, and/or whales deciding to use this route more than in the past. It's fun to speculate."
—Michael H. Smith, Director, Gray Whales Count
, March 7, 2015

Photo: Michael H. Smith

Baby gray whale on first journey north