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Photo by Richard Snowberger
Photo by Richard Snowberger

Welcome the Whales Festival April 16-17, 2016

The "Saratoga" or North Puget Sound Gray Whales return to Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound each spring, for their annual three-month feeding foray in North Puget Sound. Cascadia Research of Olympia has been studying this population of Puget Sound Gray whales for decades, and has photo-identified a group of approximately 10 - 12 whales that visit this area each spring.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, don't miss the annual "Welcome the Whales Parade and Festival" in Langley to honor and celebrate the arrival of Gray whales to Whidbey Island. Welcome the Whales Festival is sponsored by Orca Network and the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome the Whales Festival is sponsored by Orca Network and the Langley Chamber of Commerce. See our Facebook event page for more details.

Join Orca Network at 3 pm on Sunday April 17th to see the local gray whales who return to our area each year. Whale watch aboard the Mystic Sea, departing Langley for a scenic 2.5 hr cruise in Possession Sound and Saratoga Passage, back around 5:30 pm. $75 includes appetizers and beverages.

Purchase your whale-watch tickets for April 17 HERE.

WTW2016posterS


ORCA NETWORK NEWS RELEASE
February 18, 2016

Contact: Susan Berta/Howard Garrett, Orca Network
info@orcanetwork.org 360-331-3543
www.orcanetwork.org

GRAY WHALE SEASON IS HERE! #723 has returned to North Puget Sound!

On February 17, 2016 while out looking for a possibly entangled humpback whale seen off Edmonds, Alisa Lemire Brooks (Orca Network’s Whale Sighting Network Coordinator) and Stu Davidson (whale sighting volunteer/contributor) checked out the blows of a whale across the sound and found one of the returning “Saratoga” Grays, #723 , off south Whidbey Island!

The "Saratoga" or North Puget Sound Gray Whales return to Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound each spring, for their annual three-month feeding foray in North Puget Sound. Cascadia Research of Olympia has been studying this population of Puget Sound Gray whales for decades, and has photo-identified a group of approximately 10 - 12 whales that visit this area each spring. In greater Puget Sound, we see approximately 12 to 50 grays per year, and along the Pacific Coast is a population of 250 Gray Whales known as the Pacific Northwest feeding aggregation (or seasonal residents). These whales can be found along the coast of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The whales are identified by the markings on the underside of their flukes, as well as by the patterns of barnacles, scars, and markings on their backs. One whale, Patch, or #49, was first identified by Cascadia in our local waters in 1991 and is a favorite of many local whale watchers, as he is easily identifiable by the large white patch on his right side, back toward his flukes, as well as white patches on the underside of his flukes.

To learn more about Gray whales, visit Orca Network's Gray Whale website page and the Cascadia Research website.

The small group of North Puget Sound Gray whales typically arrives to our region in early March and stays through the end of May, feeding on ghost shrimp along the sand and mud shores of Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey Islands, and in Possession Sound. The annual spring visit of Gray whales provides an excellent opportunity to view whales from the shorelines of Island and Snohomish counties, or from the Mukilteo/Clinton ferries, much to the delight of residents and visitors alike.

Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network has followed the travels of these Gray whales, as well as other whales in our region for decades, and since March 2014 our new Langley Whale Center has provided a great venue to learn more about the whales. The Whale Center is located at 115 Anthes in Langley on south Whidbey Island, one block up from "Whale Bell Park," where the Whale Bell is rung whenever someone spots a whale in the area. Orca Network has a Whale Sightings Viewpoints Map to help you find the best locations for viewing whales from shore at our Langley Whale Center and on our website at: Puget Sound Land-Based Whale Sighting View Points. To report your sightings and get the latest information on where the whales are, join and follow Orca Network's Facebook page where whale sightings are posted daily, along with news, events, and information about the whales of our region.

The Langley Whale Center features displays and videos about Gray whales, Orcas and the many other marine mammals of the Salish Sea. Also on display are marine mammal bones and specimens collected and prepared by Orca Network's Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, to help visitors understand the anatomy and natural history of the marine mammals who share our island waters.

Welcome the Whales Festival April 16-17, 2016 On Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, don't miss the annual "Welcome the Whales Parade and Festival" in Langley to honor and celebrate the arrival of Gray whales to Whidbey Island. Welcome the Whales Festival is sponsored by Orca Network and the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday April 16th, will include hands-on educational displays, costume-making, and children’s activities, followed by the Whale and Critter Parade in downtown Langley, ending at the Waterfront "Whale Bell" Park with a blessing for the whales, music, and celebration on the beach, while watching for Gray whales in Saratoga Passage. The Langley Whale Center will be open from 11 am - 5 pm, with special activities and displays about Gray whales and staffed by Orca Network/Whale Center docents.

In the afternoon presentations will include our featured speaker John Calambokidis, Research Biologist & co-founder of Cascadia Research Collective, presenting the research Cascadia is doing for the Dept. of Natural Resources, including the Whale-cam footage taken last spring in Possession Sound.

Sunday, April 17th, browse the Langley Whale Center's Exhibits, displays and gift shop from 11 am - 5pm; In the afternoon take to the water to see the Gray whales, on Orca Network's Gray Whale Fundraising Cruise on board the Mystic Sea whale watch boat.

For more information about Welcome the Whales weekend or Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network, visit our website at www.OrcaNetwork.org

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