Cascadia has completed several dedicated surveys for gray whales so far in 2019 and put observers on whale watch boats operated by Island Adventures. These have documented an unusually high number of gray whales. This has included documenting that all of the known Sounders have returned this year (see chart) and have generally arrived earlier and stayed longer than typical using their usual spring feeding grounds in northern Puget Sound. Along with them there has also been a large increase in the amount of previously unknown grays coming into the Sound. At least 25 unique “unknown” gray whales have also come into the Sound this spring. Many of these individuals are staying in the area for a length of time to be resighted consistently. They are especially using the areas to the west of Whidbey Island south of the San Juan’s. The longer stay by the Sounders could be tied to the nutritional stress the population appears to be facing.
Please click here to read about Cascadia’s investigation into gray whale die off along the US west coast.