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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Positive identification

It sounds like staff at the California Academy of Sciences was able to conclude that the juvenile Gray Whale washed ashore on Salmon Creek Beach yesterday was likely the same animal in the Orca attack offshore of Carmet on Saturday.

See the story in the Press Democrat here.

Eric and I were also working on this analysis tonight...comparing pictures in the video taken offshore to my pictures from the beach. 

We also think the evidence points to it being the same animal, but we used the color pattern on the head (instead of the flipper).

It's a little tricky, since the distance, angle, and lighting are different between the two images, but see what you think.

In the two pictures shown below, compare the sizes, shapes, and positions of the lighter patches on the head.

Here's a still shot from the video, with the head of the juvenile whale on the far right side:


And here's a close-up of the head of the whale that washed ashore on Salmon Creek Beach:


It seems like too many of the white patches match up to be a coincidence.  

If you haven't yet heard, the whale washed back out to sea last night.

1 comment:

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Jackie—

I saw Grays off the beach at Estero Americano this afternoon. They were very near shore.

Perhaps the Orca predation explains the Gray's nearshore migration.

Thanks for this information. I was not aware of it till I read your blog.

Dan