About Observation Post #8
Point Piedras Blancas, California, United States

(35.66N, -121.28W)

A Scientific Survey Site
Gray whale mothers with their new calves pass this area from late March to late May. Biologist Dr. Dave Weller is in charge with a team whose job is to count the mothers and calves passing Point Piedras Blancas on the calves' first journey north. Just north of San Simeon, and just south of the Big Sur coast, this site is ideal: The cow/calf pairs pass very close (within 200 meters), and they often stop to nurse and rest here. In 2012, this survey was expanded to also include shore-based photo-identification to catalog mother-calf pairs. Since 2015, information on the body condition and health of these pairs is also being collected. Dr. Weller took over in 2017 from NOAA's retiring Wayne Perryman, who has collected this data every year since 1994. The data help scientists study the link between climate change in the Arctic (where gray whales feed in summer) and the number of whale calves born each year. See aerial image of survey site.

Photo: Wayne Perryman

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