Gray whale calf drama…

Observation date: 8 May 2014

Orcas   Photo by R. Dexter Lipton

Orcas                                                        Photo by R. Dexter Lipton

When I arrived at the south parking lot around 8:30 AM, people were running, some walking to the breakwater to get a look at the drama unfolding just off shore.

orca, killer whale

Orca breaching                                   Photo by Mike Jones/AZHIAZIAM

A pod of orcas were trying to separate a young gray whale calf from its mother. I set up one of my three spotting scopes on the orcas, the other two on the falcons.From my vantage point, I could see the male orcas trying to climb on the whale’s back. The tall dorsal fin of the male and white eye patch were very visible.

The SubSeas Tours whale watching boat, “Dos Osos,” the Harbor Patrol boat and two smaller craft were very near. The show went on for a total of seven hours.

gray whale calf, Morro Bay, beach, whale, gulls

Gray whale calf washed up on the Morro Strand beach                                                     Photo by Mike Baird

The seven or eight active orcas managed to drown the calf and they with the rest of the pod consumed most of the soft tissue, lips, eyes, tongue, but nothing from the back of the head to the tail.

gray whale calf, orcas

Gashes on the Gray whale calf  from orca teeth                                            Photo by Joyce Cory

Three days later, it washed up on Morro Strand about a half mile north of Morro Rock. The following day, they buried it at water’s edge with a backhoe.

gray whale calf, orcas, Morro Bay, CA

Gulls acting as the clean up crew                                                     Photo by Joyce Cory

It made the news, many photos are showing up around town. Here are, but a few and their contributors.

Happy trails, Bob



About Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch

The Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch is here to inform birders, students and all people who are eager to know about these handsome peregrines. We want you to enjoy and be able to use our on-site powerful spotting scopes. We are available to answer your questions about the pair of falcons that have been observed for many years.
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9 Responses to Gray whale calf drama…

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Thank you for your fine panoramic photo, Mike. We are so glad you were there to give us the opportunity to show our viewers the full landscape which puts everything in perspective.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Thanks to all the photographers who contributed their fine work.
      ~ Bob & Heather

  1. Sallly K says:

    It is sad but life/death in the wild is like that.

  2. Linda Wedel says:

    The post was very good but it made me very sad, glad I wasn’t there, would have wanted the spectators to rescue the baby. I think of the ocean as so beautiful and forget the drama that goes on just under the water.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      The drama of life is natural as are the emotions that go with it. Thank you for sharing your observations with us.

  3. Sue Boardman says:

    Everything has to eat but sometimes it is still sad. You have a perfect window on the world, or at least, the important things.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Yes, it is a unique view that we had. We were just in on a very close at hand predator/prey study. Remember that we, humans, are the biggest predator around. Puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it? So important to take care of our oceans. ~Heather

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