The 2019 Gray Whale season is underway in the Salish Sea. The weather has been glorious, and so have the whales! As of March 19, 2019 our current census of gray whales is 9. These whales are a group known as the ‘Sounders’ who divert from their Mexico-Alaska migration to come into Puget Sound and feed on ghost shrimp.
CRC#531 is one of 3 known females in the Sounder group, and she is with us this year. She usually skips every other year or so. We believe that this alternating behavior is because she may have had a calf and is thus not able to leave the calving grounds early enough due to having to stay to be sure the calf is strong enough to make the migration.
#531 has no name, but a few years ago we had a really fun group of passengers who lovingly nicknamed her “Phyllis” after one of their own. They also commented on how easy it was to identify her because of her lovely “marble countertop” markings. (We use flukes to ID whales).
#531 and #383 are spending time together in March, and we are frequently seeing them – and other grays off of Gedney Island.