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Whale Watching: Leaping to New Heights

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 2:17pm

Whale Watching Updates: We are nearing the 300-mark for Gray Whales sighted this season. Highlights this past week have included a pod of over 100 Common Dolphins and a Gray Whale double breach! That means two Gray Whales breached, or jumped with most of their bodies out of the water, at the same time. In the past 4 seasons we have only observed a double breach one other time in January 2014. Though seeing two whales breach in the same area at the same time is really just a lucky coincidence, scientists aren’t totally sure why whales breach in the first place. Part of it seems to be social and it may even be purely recreational. Some researchers have suggested maybe whales breach to discourage parasites. In any event, whale breaching is an awesome sight when you are able to witness it. Thanks to passenger Bob Bolsinger for sharing his beautiful pictures. Photography Tip: If you are lucky enough to see a whale breaching once, keep your camera ready. Though we never know for sure what these wild animals will do, whales often breach two or more times in succession. If your camera has an action setting, use that option on […]

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Photos: Fabulous Dolphins and Migrating Grays

Fri, 01/22/2016 - 12:49pm

Whale watching is in full swing as we passed the 200-mark in mid January for Gray Whales sighted. Mixed in the Gray Whale sightings we have already seen three mother and calf pairs. While these animals are on their way to the lagoons of Mexico to breed and give birth, it’s not unusual for females to give birth farther north, including off our coast in San Diego.  Dozens of Common and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins also made appearances this week. More acrobatic than Gray Whales, they are exciting to see riding the bow or wake of the Marietta.

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SEA Days: Whale Tales

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:43pm

Written by: Marissa Mangelli, Volunteer Programs Assistant Every month, the third Saturday is a special day at Birch Aquarium: SEA Days! As the tagline suggests, SEA Days are always full of  “Science, Exploration and Adventure.” Visitors and members can meet a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego or local researcher and get hands-on with science, participate in activity stations, and get creative with a thematic craft. If you have ever been lucky enough to see a pod of wild dolphins, their majestic and playful manner is a wonderful display. Without our primary sensory organs, our eyes we wouldn’t be able to marvel dolphins in the first place . As humans rely on eyesight to interpret their surroundings, a dolphins hearing is its number one tool to view the world! Dolphin sound scientist, Anne Simonis, joins us for this month’s SEA Days to share her research on dolphin acoustic ecology. Below, she answers a few questions about her background and what she will be sharing with us! Where did you go to school? Undergrad: Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN and Deakin University in Warrnambool, Australia Graduate: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA What is your area of research? I study […]

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Photos: Cetaceans of San Diego

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 10:52am

December kicks off whale watching season in San Diego, and Birch Aquarium naturalists are ready to tell you all about the amazing marine mammals living off our coast. Here’s just a few species to get familiar with before heading out with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises and Events!

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Students ask: What will the next 100 years bring?

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 10:36am

By Danny Beckwith, Education Specialist  What will the next 100 years bring? This question has been on the minds of the students at High Tech Middle North County for the past few months. Working as change agents and climate scientists, under the guidance of Mr. Curtis Taylor and Ms. Gabrielle Thinh, the 6th grade students have been investigating the cause of climate change and its current and future impacts on weather, climate, ecosystems, and resources. The goal was to bring about awareness and solutions by developing a comic book which details aspects of climate change, creating an informative art piece, and designing a public service announcement video. One major question they are tackling is “How can we educate the public?”  Birch Aquarium Education staff visited the students at their school to give them some insight into talking to the public about climate change. Using the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation framing techniques, students were taught how to explain the mechanisms of climate change through easy to remember and understand metaphors. On December 15, 2015, the students exhibited their projects at Birch Aquarium. Gorgeous and colorful visual art pieces made from recycled materials were on display, in addition […]

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Whale Watching Returns!

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 10:36am

By Audrey Evans, whale watching coordinator Our first week of whale watching season has been a great one! It’s only days into the season and we have already observed 10 baleen whales, dozens of dolphins, and countless sea lions, cormorants, and pelicans. What other exciting observations will the next four months bring? The only way to find out is to get in on the action! The most outstanding sight so far was on the first first day of the season. A humpback whale breached multiple times and slapped its flippers on the surface of the water. Humpback Whales are not rare, but also not consistently seen on our whale watching cruises. Only two humpbacks were spotted during the entire season last year and we have observed less than 20 in each season for the past four years. Many guests aboard the cruise remarked this was their very first time whale watching. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of seeing a whale for the first time – we love being part of these unforgettable and awe-inspiring moments! The Marietta, Flag Ship Cruises and Event’s whale watching boat, pulls up to the dock in Downtown San Diego.

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