Gray Whale Aerial Photos, Eschrichtius robustus, California

Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) migrate from the Bering Sea in Alaska down the west coast of the United States to the “calving lagoons” of Baja California. (A small number of grays whales also live in the extreme western Pacific.) This migration is considered the longest of any mammal. Calves are typically, but not always, born in or very near the Baja California lagoons but are sometimes born north of there, during the southern migration. I have encountered one gray whale mother and newborn gray whale calf well to the north, in the cold gray waters of Big Sur, about 20 years ago. I recently had another special opportunity to photograph gray whales during their southern migration, this time from the air. Southern California had experienced a high pressure weather system that cleared out the air and laid the seas down flat. The best time to fly in such conditions is in the last days of the high pressure, before it breaks. We had clear skies, flat oceans, great visibility, and did see a few whales. These photos are tagged with their exact GPS locations (sometimes I get requests for info from cetacean researchers). Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29001
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Gray whale blowing at the ocean surface, exhaling and breathing as it prepares to dive underwater, Eschrichtius robustus, Encinitas, California

Gray whale blowing at the ocean surface, exhaling and breathing as it prepares to dive underwater.
Image ID: 29045
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Encinitas, California, USA

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29031
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Gray whales traveling south to Mexico during their winter migration.  The annual migration of the California gray whale is the longest known migration of any mammal, 10,000 to 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California, Eschrichtius robustus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Gray whales traveling south to Mexico during their winter migration. The annual migration of the California gray whale is the longest known migration of any mammal, 10,000 to 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California.
Image ID: 29048
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Gray whale diving below the ocean surface, leaving a footprint in its wake.  Aerial photo, Eschrichtius robustus, Encinitas, California

Gray whale diving below the ocean surface, leaving a footprint in its wake. Aerial photo.
Image ID: 29037
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Encinitas, California, USA