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So. Cal. whale census yields record number
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (UPI) Dec 28, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Migrating gray whales are swimming through Southern California waters in record numbers this winter, longtime whale watchers say.

Whale spotters stationed at Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes have recorded a record 163 sightings so far in December, more than have been logged at that location in 28 years, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The abundance of the marine mammals traveling south along the coast to Mexico is delighting tourists, boaters and divers, the newspaper said.

"I've seen some pretty good years but never anything like this," said Joyce Daniels, a volunteer in the whale census, noting more than two dozen sightings on Monday.

"We had whales everywhere. So many I was having trouble figuring out which whale was which," she said. "It's a real adrenaline rush to have so many whales."

By this point in December last year, the observers had logged 26 gray whales; the previous record was 133 observed in 1996.

More than 20,000 gray whales migrate each year from the arctic to Baja California, where females give birth. They migrate back north in the spring.

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