FINAL Gray Whale Migration Update: May 15, 2013
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Hungry gray whales now passing Kodiak, Alaska are just halfway through their epic migration. Moms and babies are strung out along the Pacific Coast. All are heading for a 5-month feast in the Arctic. Go whales!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Students with life-size gray whale art they created
Image:: Angela Salazar
News: Migration Pushes Northward

The gray whales' epic journey is only half done, even for the leaders! Scientist Bree Witteveen tells us, "By the time they reach Kodiak, Alaska (16), the whales are approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to their ultimate destinations." Click on our migration route map (right, below) for posts 17, 18, and 19. See why it takes until July to reach their summer feeding waters!

Moms and Babies Northward Bound!
Meanwhile, moms with babies are bringing up the tail of the migration parade. How are they doing?

In Tofino, B.C. (15), Kati Martini reported the first confirmed cow/calf sighting on May 6. See the report! "We know that there are a good number of Gray Whale mother and calf pairs still coming our way in the next few weeks," declares Katie.

Gray Whale cow and calf pairs are coming through Monterey Bay (9), reports Katie Dunbar. She notes, "This period has been marked by more Killer Whale sightings than Gray Whales." Her field notes tell what they've seen, and a possible explanation why they may have missed some gray whale sightings. Check it out!

At Post 8, a scientific study site, May 6-10 was "another really good week, with sightings of 58 cow/calf pairs, for a total count of 279 so far. "It's still behind last year's count, but a very respectable total," reports Wayne Perryman. Counting continues throughout May. Read Wayne's field notes to find out what made May 8th an exciting day at Pt. Piedras Blancas.

This is the final week of counting at Post 7, where Michael Smith reported their 101st pair on May 3. The counting crew named the calf 101 North—after the famous California highway. Season tally to date: 738 whales, 126 calves.

"We have sighted 39 of our 136 northbound cow/calf pairs over the past two weeks. We'll likely see several more northbound cow/calf pairs," reports director Alisa Shulman-Janiger At Post 6. She was on early duty at their gray whale census on May 14, and saw a nearshore gray whale cow/calf pair just after 6:30 a.m. It turned out to be the day's only sighting. Highlights of the past two weeks include bubble blasting, calves adorning their heads with kelp and rolling with their moms; and bottlenose dolphins interacting with cow/calf pairs.

Looking Ahead

Journey North will continue to post daily counts for Posts #6 and #7, as well as weekly counts for Post #8 until these official sites have stopped counting for the 2013 northbound season.

Young gray whale breaching on migration north along Mendocino-Sonoma, CA coast
Image: Kathy Bishop
Breaching Baby
Bubble print from a gray whale that blew bubbles underwater
Image: Caroline Armon
Bubble Blast!
Flukes of diving gray whale
Image: Bree Witteveen
Stray Gray
Gray whale migration route
Map: Journey North

See Latest Field Notes:
Post 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16

A whale-sized thanks to contributing scientists Alisa Schulman-Janiger, Michael H. Smith, Wayne Perryman, and Katie Dunbar. Your data and observations give us a front-row seat. We are grateful!

Explore: Navigating the Way

Every year of their lives, gray whales swim more than 10,000 miles in a roundtrip migration between nursery lagoons in Mexico and feeding grounds in the Arctic. How do they find their way? Explore this question with facts and photos:


Gray whale slideshow: Navigating the Way

Tracking the Migration: Daily Data
It's time to size up the season and share discoveries! Print two Migration Comparison Charts and then fill in the blanks as you analyze the data from both point-count sites. The data tell a story. Share the story you find!
How to track gray whale migration with Journey North

Gray whale migration analysis chart
Access Data
Record Data
Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts
Please take a few minutes to complete our Annual Evaluation. With your help, we can document Journey North's reach, impact and value. Thank you!

annual evaluation
This is the FINAL update for spring 2013. Please join us again next spring!