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Unusual California Whale Sightings: Gray Whales, Blue Whales, Killer Whales Spotted

By Eric Zerkel
Published: January 2, 2014

Looking for a 'whale' of a good time? Then head down to southern California, where onlookers off the coast of Long Beach, Calif. are getting a rare peek at hundreds of the Cetaceans.

Whale sightings this time of year aren't uncommon near the nation's busiest port, but are usually reserved for Gray Whales, which make their annual south-seeking pilgrimage along the coast, feeding on the bounties of krill and other whale foodstuffs that coalesce at a drop-off point close to shore, NPR reports.

But in the last couple of weeks a slew of other Cetaceans—Blue Whales, and Humpback Whales, and Orca Whales, Oh My!—have joined a record-setting number of their Gray Whale brethren to put on a tour de force that has left scientists baffled, according to the Whittier Daily News. 

"The thing you would expect to see are gray whales migrating through," marine biologist Dave Bader told NPR. "And the fact that we're getting a chance to see at this time of year fin whales, blue whales, is really a mystery."

A lack of answers hasn't stopped scientists from speculating on potential causes of the whale-influx. According to International Science Times, climate change may be one culprit. Under that theory, scientists believe that shifting currents have sent a stream of squid and krill into the area, leading whales on a tail chase of sorts. 

The other explanation may lie in the revitalization of Long Beach's waters, NPR reports. Clean-up efforts in recent years may have helped turn around the bleak, polluted waters, potentially attracting the whales. 

Whatever the cause, if you're with in ear-shot of Long Beach, hurry on down for a chance to see one of the most spectacular sights nature has to offer. 

MORE: Alaska's Glaciers in Retreat

Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)

Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)

In the photo above, the west shoreline of Muir Inlet in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is shown as it appeared in 1895. Notice the lack of vegetation on the slopes of the mountains, and the glacier that stands more than 300 feet high. See the glacier as it looked in 2005 on the next page. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)

  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Plateau Glacier (1961)
  • Plateau Glacier (2003)
  • Bear Glacier (1920s)
  • Bear Glacier (2005)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2005)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1909)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2004)
  • Pedersen Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Pedersen Glacier (2005)
  • Pedersen Glacier (1909)
  • Pedersen Glacier (2005)
  • Reid Glacier (1899)
  • Reid Glacier (2003)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1890)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1896)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Yale Glacier (1937)
  • Yale Glacier (2006)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1880s-1890s)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Muir Glacier (1941)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1950)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2004)
  • Carroll Glacier (1906)
  • Carroll Glacier (2004)
  • Muir Inlet (1976)
  • Muir Inlet (2003)
  • McCarty Glacier (1909)
  • McCarty Glacier (2004)
  • McCarty Glacier (1909)
  • McCarty Glacier (2004)
  • Muir and Adams Glaciers (1899)
  • Muir and Adams Glaciers (2003)
  • Yalik Glacier (1909)
  • Yalik Glacier (2004)
  • Denali National Park (1919)
  • Denali National Park (2004)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2005)
  • Toboggan Glacier (1905)
  • Toboggan Glacier (2008)
  • Muir Inlet (1895)
  • Muir Inlet (2005)

 


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