Hundreds of blue whales near California

This video from Britain says about itself:

The blue whale, the largest creature that has ever existed, subsists by eating one of the smallest – krill. [David] Attenborough investigates a computer-animated blue whale skeleton to illustrate its immense size and body functions, then catches a glimpse of the elusive creature in the open ocean.

From CBS in the USA:

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18, 2010

Hundreds of Blue Whales Spotted Off Calif. Coast

Once Hunted to Near Extinction, the Whales are Flourishing and Delighting Whale Watchers Up and Down the Coast

By Bill Whitaker

A show is unfolding off California from Santa Monica Bay to Newport and anyone can watch. All you need is a sturdy boat and a healthy sense of awe.

Off the coast of Southern California, the hunt is on for a rare, up-close look at the largest creature on earth, the 90-foot-long blue whale.

“They’re massive, they’re huge!” said whale watcher Elizabeth Branscombe.

In recent weeks, the big blues have been putting on a whale of a show.

“This is as good as it gets out here,” said whale watcher Martin Hochman.

They’re fluking and frolicking with their young.

“I’ve been working on the water for 23 years right now and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a congregation of blue whales like this,” said Captain Brad Sawyer of the “Voyager” whale watching boat.

These massive whales have made a huge comeback, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker. They were nearly hunted to extinction 50 years ago. Now more than 2,000 of them spend their summers off the California coast.

Veteran whale watchers say they’ve never seen so many so close to shore.

“About 200 or more blue whales between Santa Monica Bay and Newport which is very unusual,” said Alisa Schulman-Janiger of the American Cetacean Society.

They’re here for the seafood buffet. The whales eat tons of tiny, shrimp-like krill every day.

“There are massive amounts of krill. And not only a lot of krill in different areas but it’s concentrating at the surface, so these blue whales are spending a lot of time at the surface and very close to shore,” said Schulman-Janiger.

It’s also cause for concern. The whales are swimming near some of the nation’s busiest shipping lanes. In the past three years, at least six have been killed by ship strikes.

Scientists want to know why so they’re rushing out to sea to tag and track the whales.

“There’s a hint that they actually come and spend more time near the surface when they perceive a threat and so our concern is that might make them more vulnerable to ship strikes,” said John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research.

On board whale watching ships, the reaction is pure delight. Three-year-old Isabella Branscombe has a new favorite activity: whale spotting.

“The whale’s coming!” she said.

The show won’t last forever. The whales could high-tail it out of these waters any day.

Blue Whales have been spotted just a few miles of the coast of LA – a very rare sight: here.

Blue whales off California – Why aren’t they recovering? Here.

Blue whales off Sri Lanka: here.

The blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived. Ironically, it sustains its massive bulk by eating some of the smallest creatures in the ocean – krill. A foraging whale lunges into a swarm of these shrimp-like animals, accelerating to high speed with its mouth open at a right angle. Pushed back by the rush of water, its mouth expands and its tongue (itself the size of an elephant) inverts to create more room. The whale engulfs up to 110 tonnes of water and any krill within is filtered out and swallowed: here.

Blue whale vocal behavior is affected by man-made noise, even when that noise does not overlap the frequencies the whales use for communication, according to new research published Feb. 29 in the open access journal PLoS ONE: here.

Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity: here.

Do Blue Whales Hear Mid-frequency Anthropogenic Noise? Here.

Fin Whales, Once Rare, Crowd Calif. Coast: here.

A pair of humpback whales, believed to be a mother and her calf, surface in the deep water channel leading to the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento, Calif., on May 16, 2007. Photos here.

Hvalur, Icelandic whaling company, aims to kill 140 endangered fin whales by end of 2010 whaling season: here.

2 thoughts on “Hundreds of blue whales near California

  1. Pingback: Rare blue whales off Ireland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Rare blue whales near New Zealand | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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