Every week, Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching provides the Dana Point Times and San Clemente Times a report on the week’s whale and dolphin sightings from naturalist Laura Lopez, in addition to a weekly log.
Here is Lopez’s report for the past week:
Multiple Fin Whales are seen daily on almost every trip. Many of these whales are very boat friendly, and our passengers are getting great looks as these whales make close passes to our vessels often several at a time. Per MarEcoTel, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of a small group of biologists studying Fin Whales, there are an estimated 10,000 Fin Whales off the west coast of North America over 1,200 have been cataloged. Many of these animals call the Southern California Bight their home, staying here year-round. These great whales appear to be feeding on the abundant krill in our local waters.
Captain Steve spotted a northbound gray whale cow/calf pair just in front of the Dana Point Harbor jetty late one afternoon. We watched as they turned in toward Three Arch Bay. They were spy-hopping, rolling, bubble blasting with the adult possibly feeding in the surf line. It was such a wonderful encounter to see this pair “playing” so close to shore in just a few feet of water. There have also been Minke Whale sightings.
Included in the pods of Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin and Common Dolphin were calves which everyone loves to see. There have even been mixed pods of both Risso’s and Bottlenose Dolphin feeding together. The usually boat shy Risso’s Dolphin have even occasionally followed the Bottlenose Dolphin and engaged with our boats. We also saw flying fish and an elephant seal.
Our six-hour Pelagic Birding Trip led by David Pereksta occurred at the same time of the peak migration where an estimated 400 million birds will be in the air across the United States. This coincided with a very heavy marine layer which led to several smaller birds like the Wilson’s Warbler to drown offshore. As these tiny birds drop though the marine layer they are stranded over water and exhausted. We did our best to rescue those close to our boat and sent one to a rehabber.
Here is the latest Whale Watching Log from Dana Wharf Whale Watching:
May 19 – 7 Fin Whales, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin
May 18 – 3 Fin Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
May 17 – 12 Fin Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
May 16 – 9 Fin Whales, Common Dolphin
May 15 – 9 Fin Whales, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin
May 14 – 13 Fin Whales, Mola Mola, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin
May 13 – 20 Fin Whales, 2 Minke Whales, 2 Gray Whales, Mola Mola, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin
May 12 – 14 Fin Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
May 11 – 11 Fin Whales, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola, May 10 – 16 Fin Whales, Risso’s Dolphin, Common Dolp