Sadly we had to cancel the annual SWS gray whale fundraising cruise for 2020 – but the good news is that ALL of our local “Sounders” are in town, and it looks like this year they’ve brought a few friends.
One ‘new’ friend – who has been documented several times in the area has been spotted in Penn Cove a couple of times, also along the north shore of Camano near Rocky Point and near Elger Bay. Cascadia Research Collective from Olympia does all of the research on gray whales, both along the west coast and in the Salish Sea, and they’ve designated this new whale to be CRC #2258.
For those keeping track, the Sounders who have been seen in the area this season are – 21, 22, 44, 49, 53, 56, 185, 356, 383, 531, 723, and 2246.
Without the usual whale watch boats (all cancelled due to Covid-19), we’re not able to collect the data on feeding locations, which whales are ‘traveling’ together, and missing the opportunity to get photo identification of any unknown whales who might just be visiting. Cascadia Research is very keen to collect photos of ‘unknown’ whales, particularly during this UME time (Unusual Mortality Event), designated last year as such and will most likely continue through 2020, due mostly to low food availability when these whales are feeding in the Arctic.
If you have good ID photos – preferably underside of fluke (tail), or right and/or left side of their back – and don’t recognize them as one of our “Sounders” – please feel free to forward to me and I’ll get the pics to the researchers (with your name attached). Thanks.
–Jill Hein, Class of 2005, written April 2, 2020
Photos by Jill Hein
Camano Whale Watch, Facebook Group – people post sightings of gray whales and orcas whenever they are spotted.