Hello docent crew! Allison and I warmly welcome you aboard to NPS Winter Wildlife! Thanks for being a part of this year’s crew!
It has been a start marked by waiting, waiting, waiting, Waiting for gray whale numbers to go up, waiting to see if pregnant cows show up at Drakes, waiting to see if all of Drakes will get closed like last year.
Regarding gray whales, some of you might recall the numerous gray whale deaths reported last year. Gray whales were arriving to their Baja breeding lagoons already malnourished. Scientists theorize that warmer waters inhibited amphipod production, which in turn led to decreases in prey intake and blubber production, so essential to the 10,000+ mile migration they do. The last time this happened about 20 years ago, there were two consecutive years of gray whale numbers in counts and it looks like this year may be the 2nd year of a similar trend. Calls to places north of us have reported low numbers. ACS/LA reports very low numbers on their website.
As for seals, the 50+ pregnant cows that showed up last year after storm surges during a gov’t shutdown have so far not appeared in the same numbers. We’ll see what happens with the predicted storms tonight and tomorrow.
Please note that Drakes Beach to the right (as you are facing the ocean from Ken Patrick Visitor Center ) is closed starting at the rocky point on the beach.
Again, thank you for your time and dedication to this program, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the National Park Service!