Guests from all over the world are joining us for a Baja Whalewatching tour, leaving tonight. They are coming to us via a wonderful UK outfitter, BirdQuest. Stay tuned for the daily reports!
translation: Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe–To you we appeal because you have told us that we, your children, are under your care and protection so that you protect us in difficult moments of our work in the sea.
Our Baja Whalewatching tour with Naturetrek has just left the dock. Folks aboard are about to see the wonderful wildlife in Baja California for the next 12 days.
112 calves and 220 adults for a total of 332 gray whales
From Dave Povey: “When asked to “chase” the Manx Shearwater seen Thursday, Feb 14. I thought chances were slim and none. Doug Aguillar, Jay Keller, B J Stacey, and I headed into the same area s.e. of Pt. Loma this morning. There were birds and dolphin working the area, though I thought, in smaller numbers than Thursday. We faithfully looked at every Black-vented Shearwater that past, and stopped on several small groups resting on the water. Around 8:30 a.m. we found a larger group that had just finished a feeding frenzy, and were now resting on the water. Jay called out he that he was seeing a darker backed bird on the water. Quickly sorting through Black-vents, there was our Manx. Same overall size, blacker backed, bright white below, with a curl of white up the neck around the ear, and white under tail coverts.
We drifted along with the flock for 5 mins. or so, taking pictures, before the flock finally started taking off. Was it the same bird as Thursdays? Maybe the photos will help?
The postion on the GPS was 1.3 n. miles southeast of Thursday’s Manx.
That would put this bird at 4 n. miles s.e. of Pt. Loma and 3.25 n. miles west of Silver Strand.”
Local experts headed offshore on February 14th for a half-day out as far as the 9-Mile Bank. Most areas were fairly quiet, with only small numbers of scattered seabirds here and there.
But quite close to shore–only 2.7 nm SSE of the tip of Point Loma or 3.5 nm W of the Silver Strand–we had a large feeding concentration of Black-vented Shearwaters (ca. 400-500), Brown Pelicans, cormorants, alcids, and Pacific Loons. With all the Black-vents was a MANX SHEARWATER, which put on a fairly good show both at rest and in flight. Otherwise, the totals for the morning were:
Northern Fulmar: 3
Black-vented Shearwater: 500
Pomarine Jaeger: 5
Parasitic Jaeger: 1
Common Murre: 14
Scripps’s Murrelet: 48
Cassin’s Auklet: 35
Rhinoceros Auklet: 54
–Paul Lehman, San Diego
From Paul and Marc (CLICK MORE)
The author is Dr John Janovy, a Searcher friend who took a Baja Whalewatching Tour in March, 2004. He has produced his essay, inpsired by the trip, as a free “Smashwords” download. Thanks, JJ!
John Janovy, Jr. (PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1965) is the author of seventeen books and over ninety scientific papers and book chapters. These books range from textbooks to science fiction to essays on athletics. His research interest is parasitology. He has been Director of UNL’s Cedar Point Biological Station, Interim Director of the University of Nebraska State Museum, Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences, and secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Parasitologists.
His teaching experiences include large-enrollment freshman biology courses, Field Parasitology at the Cedar Point Biological Station, Invertebrate Zoology, Parasitology, Organismic Biology, and numerous honors seminars. He has supervised thirty-two graduate students, and approximately 50 undergraduate researchers, including ten Howard Hughes scholars. He is now retired–phew!
Our Steven Swartz and his crew made a census and report 114 singles and 48 cow/calf pairs for a total of 210 gray whales!
76 cow/calf pairs, 32 singles = 184 total gray whales!
The Searcher crew, 24 passengers, and 2 naturalists will be heading out tomorrow night on our first 12-day excursion for 2013. Joining us as far as Laguna San Ignacio will be Steven Swartz, long-time Searcher friend and gray whale researcher.
We love this 30-year-old news clipping of him in the lagoon, photographing whales in 1983. (Thanks to Linda for that!)
If you click the link below you can read up on his current research (2012) in this special place. He does wonderful work for the whales and people in Laguna San Ignacio!
Laguna San Ignacio Ecosytem Program, 2012 Final Report
There were 113 gray whales in the lagoon–40 cow/calf pairs and 73 singles!
The total was 46 gray whales and 15 of those were cow/calf pairs. That means 16 adults are there as well.
The folks in LA counting the southbound migration have seen their first gray whale calf, swimming alongside its mom, of course. The total number of whales is now 220 counted from shore, including one baby calf!
The December 1-31, 2012 count is in…182 gray whales counted from the shoreside station!
The LA-based shore census station (sponsored by American Cetacean Society, LA chapter) has counted a total of 69 southbound gray whales so far this month. They haven’t noted any calves yet, but the San Diego-based whalewatch boat did see one earlier this week. We would expect that most of these whales so far are near-term pregnant females, on their way to the calving lagoons in Baja California. And we’ll be right behind them!
Our dear friends and colleagues at Kuyima report that their first gray whale sighting was on Dec 10. And on Dec 17, they saw threedifferent whales in the lagoon!
Curently our 2013 tours are all full, though we always recommend getting on the waitlist in case of cancellations. Please note our 2014 tours are open for booking–plan ahead and book now!
(Thanks to Rch Crossen for this photo. We never know what will show up off the bow of Searcher! In this case, it’s a school of mobula rays.)