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May 20: Counting Extended!
The northbound mom/baby pairs just keep coming, so our two point-count stations are staying on the job to count for at least another week! It looks like a near-record season for gray whales. Scroll down for three photos that share the excitement!

gray whale calf close to shore by Gualala, CA

Joni Goshorn, observing from a bench overlooking the Gualala River and the Pacific Ocean, saw a mother/calf pair so close to shore "it was almost unbelievable!" Several Gray Whale mother/calf pairs have passed by quite close to shore, writes Jeanne Jackson, our reporter in Gualala, CA.
 
Calf leaping as it migrates past Pt. Piedras Blancas, CA with Mom

This breaching baby insisted on being counted! The week of May 12-16 brought 64 mom/baby pairs past Pt. Piedras Blancas, CA, site of the government's official cow/calf count. "We had 8 pairs Friday [May 16]," reported biologist Wayne Perryman, for a running total of 399 pairs up to then. "We plan to continue the survey till the end of the month."

 
Gray whale cow and calf migrating past Counter Point in the nearshore of the Santa Barbara Channel.

When they saw this mother and her baby gray whale passing Counter Point, the volunteers for Gray Whales Count were aboard the Condor Express whale-watching vessel for a change. They were celebrating the end of their tenth annual survey of the northbound Gray whale migration through the nearshore of the Santa Barbara Channel. But then, after consulting with our collaborators, "we have decided to continue our Count — likely a week longer, and maybe until the end of the month," reported Director Michael H. Smith, who took the photo. GO WHALES!

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