Gray Whales are in Town!
Grab a pair of binoculars and watch as one of the oceans most spectacular live shows travels through our coastal waters. Around 25,000 Gray Whales are currently in the middle of their migration from their breeding grounds in Baja to their feeding grounds in Alaska.
A small group of these whales don’t make the entire migration, but spend the summer along the coast of the Pacific North West. Dawn Goley, Professor of Zoology and Director of the Marine Mammal Education and Research Program at Humboldt State University and her students have been studying these whales for over twenty years now. Professor Goley explained how they are gathering an understanding of how these whales make use of this habitat, their life history, how and where they feed, and different factors that affect their abundance and behavior. “One of the neatest things is that we are able to identify them by their pigmentation patterns. We see the same whales return year after year,” stated Goley.
Whales are extra easy to spot during this Northern migration as cows and calves travel extremely close to shore to avoid predation. If you see a plume of mud in the water it is likely because a Gray Whale is nearby. Gray Whales are referred to as “grubbers” and feed by taking mouthfuls of mud from the bottom of the ocean and filtering out little invertebrates. The best seat in the house to spot these majestic beings is from any high vantage point overlooking the ocean such as Trinidad head, Indian Beach lookout, Point Saint George, and Patrick’s Point. Watching these creatures is spectacular just remember to be respectful and keep a distance for their safety and yours.
To report a dead or entangled marine mammal, call the HSU Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline: 826-3650
To Report Harassment of Marine Mammals:
- NOAA Enforcement, Arcata office: Tim Broadman 826-9247
- Trinidad Rancheria Animal Control Officer: Eugene 599-6828
- State Park Rangers if it’s at or near a State or County beach
A Note on the Snowy Plover from Arcata Fish and Wildlife
Snowy plover breeding season is here! All along the Pacific Coast, March 15 until September 15 is the most important time of year: time for plovers to find a mate, lay and incubate eggs in a depression in the sand, then teach the young how to survive on their own. They can use help from all of us! Please use designated trails, stay on the wet sand (especially if you’re on horseback or with your dog), and pack out your trash. Thanks for keeping the beach clean and safe for people and plovers!
Hey That Rock Isn’t a Trash Can!
Although the crevasse of a rock on the jetty or a sand dune may seem an ideal place to sneakily dispose of your trash, its not. This bag of fishing line, wrappers, cigarette butts, and other bits and pieces is the accumulation of what one person found on the North Jetty, Monday morning after she had just picked up trash the day before. As we all know this waste has devastating effects on wildlife, the environment, and is just plain ugly to look at. So people please, its simple enough, pack out your trash.
Speaking of Trash on the Beach…
Camp Clean and Save our Coast! Surfrider Humboldt is hosting their first annual “Camp and Clean” at Patricks Point State Park in collaboration with the PacOut Green Team! What could be better than camping, beautifying our coast, and maybe even surfing. The event kicks off Saturday April 9th at 6pm at the Ball Field site for a potluck dinner and campfire fun. Bring your friends, musical instruments, stories, etc.Burgers, s’mores, and bagels will be provided, but as this is a potluck bring something tasty to share if you can! Beach cleanup and ivy pulling at Agate Beach starts 9am Sunday. This event is free for all who wish to join and family friendly. Of course edible and/or monetary donations will be accepted. RSVPs are greatly appreciated so Surfrider can plan ahead for food and supplies. For more info and to RSVP visit our Facebook page Surfrider Humboldt at event page Surfrider Camp and Clean.