Monday, February 2, 2009

Whale Count - First Day...

Hello Everyone...

I have been busy with responsibilities of life..... I can't believe how fast time is flying by... It's crazy!

Today was my first day participating in the Gray Whales count at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara. What a fantastic first day we had. The weather was beautiful, calm waters made for perfect viewing, and a handful of nice people. During my two-hour shift, we spotted a Sea Otter among the kelp near shore, about 20 Bottlenose Dolphins, and a nice surprise about 2 miles out from our point, a small pod of Orcas; probably, Transient. They were traveling east just off of Santa Cruz Island. We could determine that a male was included in this pod due to its large dorsal fin. Other than that, the rest of the identification process was impossible from our viewpoint.

From our viewpoint, you can see the 4 islands that are part of the Channel Islands National Park; Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, and San Miguel. Here is a photo off the internet that shows the 4 islands I just listed.

If I were to guess, we were located just below the "f" in If.

I also learned a few things today about Bottlenose Dolphins.... They are common to travel along the shoreline and the Common Dolphins are not. In my previous post, I stated just the opposite. From my experience viewing dolphins in the Santa Barbara Channel, this holds true.

Unfortunately, I am not able to take photos during this 2 hour shift, but I do plan to scope out the area and find a nice position to photograph some of the wildlife during off shift hours. From what I understand, the first few weeks are typically slow for whales to migrate through the area, but once they start migrating through, the numbers are endless. :) However, they did have their first juvenile northbound migration through the area this morning just after the first shift started. It is possible that this juvenile Gray Whale did not migrate all the way down to Baja and was just traveling in the route its mother showed him/her last year. From what I heard, it was traveling closer to shore than usual for just a single whale and that also shows it hasn't learned that its okay to travel further off shore like the other juveniles and adults without calves do.

I will be posting my days "Counting" here. It is a weekly shift, but some weeks I am unable to participate....

I am working on my Anacapa Island post, so it should be up by the end of this week, if not sooner. :)

Thank you all for visiting and commenting.

Hope you all are doing great. Have a wonderful week....

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