May 2017 Whale Watching in Monterey Bay
May was a very special month with more than the average number of humpback whales we normally see this time of year. Dozens of humpbacks were drawn close to shore near Moss Landing due to the abundant anchovies. We also saw some krill in May which mostly humpback whales were feeding on, plus the occasional blue whale. Several encounters with killer whales plus multiple species of dolphins including Risso’s, bottlenose, northern right whale dolphins and Pacific white-sided.
Strong, gale force winds also gave us a rare and special treat: fork-tailed storm petrels! The strong winds blew this tiny, offshore species nearshore and were observed in and around Moss Landing for about a week before they returned offshore. Fork-tailed storm petrels nest in burrows near the Aleutian islands. Their long, fragile legs are only strong enough to take a few hops to enter their nest. The rest of their lives is spent out at sea.
The sea conditions calmed down significantly for a few days so we planned a short-notice all day trip on Tuesday, May 23rd and had great sightings: lunge-feeding humpback whales, killer whales, harbor porpoise, blue sharks, a fur seal, purple-striped jellies, black-footed albatross, storm petrels, and a visit from a female Anna’s hummingbird (10mi offshore!).
It’s still Spring but with all of the incredible sightings we’ve been having it already feels like Summer! Looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store. Stay tuned!