Baja Jones Adventures

 



Comparison of different whale watching dates
Following is a brief comparison of what you might expect to see at Laguna Ojo de Liebre during different whale watching dates.  This comparison is not an absolute guideline because we deal with wild animals in a wild and uncontrolled environment.  Seasons change, weather fluctuates, animal behavior seems to alter from year to year.  Through it all the gray whales and Baja Jones return to Laguna Ojo de Liebre year after year.  I first made this chart in 2002.  A couple things have been added or changed. Those changes are in red below so you can see how my observations have changed with time.
      Date Estimated number of whales present description of major whale activities other comments
       
January 1st    100 to 200 Whales scattered.  No large groupings of whales. Raging hormones.   Many mating pairs and trios.  Lots of really explosive mating activity.   Some mothers with very young babies.  They are still recovering from giving birth and 5000 mile trip. No babies breeching, still too young.

Some adult breeching probably as part of mating activity.

No close encounters

January 15th 400 to 600 probably  more.  First groupings or clumps noticable Still lots of mating activity.  Thrashing and splashing rules the day.  More mother/babies laying around.  Still some babies showing pub nose look. No babies breeching, still too young.

Some adult breeching.

Lots of juvenile (1 to 4 year olds) breeching

Some close encounters/ 50% of trips onto water experience close approach

February 1st    1000 to 1200  population seems to be stabilizing Mating has tapered off, but still some.  Babies now larger.  No newborn babies.  First baby half breech observed on February 6th.

Many juvenile breeches.

Close encounters increase in  frequency, 50% of trips have close approach

February 15th   1000 to 1500
For several years now the whale count has been higher at around 1500 to 2000+ whales inside Laguna Ojo de Liebre. The 2014 baby count was 900+. When I compiled this chart in 2002 the maximum count for baby whales would have been 200 - 300.
No mating observed.   Some false mating with immature males chasing any female including mothers with babies.

We have been seeing mating into late February.  In 2014 we did not see any mating taking place in March. But some of the mating groups were still hanging around into March.
Lots of baby breeching, but only half out of water.  They haven't developed strength for more.

Still many juvenile breeches.

Almost no adult breeching observed

Close encounters common

March 1st 1000 to 1500 and numbers steadily declining now. 
No mating observed.   Still some false mating may be taking place.  Babies really getting big.   Mom's have difficulty keeping control of babies. Socializing between babies has started.  Play times similar to that when puppies tumble and roll.   The first baby to breech almost out of the water was seen on February 24th. 
March 15th 500 or less - about half of peak census Mothers now must work to keep babies away from the pangas if baby wants to approach. Some baby breeching.  Much socializing with groups of up to 4 to 6 babies playing together.
March 30th 100 to 600with a   steadily decreasing  count.

Primarily mothers and babies remaining.  Most solo whales have now left lagoon. All whales have moved to the outer portion of the inner observation area.  Nursery area is empty.
This year, 2014 there were still a hundred whales or more inside observation area 3 near our camp at March 23 - 27 trip date.
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copyright 2014, Keith Jones
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keith@greywhale.com or rowman1998@yahoo.com