Outdoors, action, adventure

« Previous Post | Outposts Home | Next Post »

Blue whales, due soon off SoCal, might be rediscovering historic territory


Marine mammal enthusiasts in the San Pedro and Santa Barbara channels are encountering sporadic humpback whales and anticipate the arrival of blue whales, which generally arrive in late spring and linger through the summer.

Southern California whale lovers are thrilled to have the world's largest creature in their midst, albeit seasonally, and most will be pleased to learn there's good news regarding an endangered species once hunted to the brink of extinction: Blue whales appear to be reestablishing historic migration routes beyond California to the Pacific Northwest and even the Gulf of Alaska.

The journal Marine Mammal Science cites 15 cases in which blue whales were seen off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. The research, by several groups, marks the first known migration of blue whales off California to the northern areas since the end of commercial whaling in 1965. (Blue whales migrate to and from California from a vast offshore region beyond Costa Rica.)

Four of the 15 whales were identified as animals previously observed off California, suggesting a reestablishment of the great leviathans' historical migration pattern. That's good news, to be sure, but count me among those hoping enough of the 2,000 or so West Coast blues will continue to linger at least long enough for SoCal whale-watchers to get a few good looks.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo by Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

Post a comment
If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Comments (2)

September 19th, 2009

Just observed a pod of 3 - 4 blue whales 2 - 3 miles off Mission Bay California, heading north approx 2.5 knots. We lost sight of them approx. 5 miles off La Jolla. Magnificent!

Blue Whales have already been sighted in the Santa Barbara Channel. Fisherman sighted them back in March and the Condor sighted their first Blue Whale on May 1st. It's going to be a great year!


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.