Gray whales, on their annual migratory path along the Pacific coast to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska, have been spotted recently entering San Francisco Bay — and a pair of them also washed up dead last week.
Whales have become a pretty frequent sight in the Bay in recent years, as many of them seem to be following food like anchovies and krill through the Golden Gate and into the Bay as they head north.
In 2015 and 2016, whale experts noted the oddity of many humpback whale sightings in the Bay, given that these larger animals were not typically accustomed to veering through the Gate — and this was cause for alarm because these whales are more apt to have fatal run-ins with ships.
Two deceased female gray whales washed ashore last week, and scientists with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said that one had died from malnutrition while the other's cause of death couldn't be determined (but it could have been a ship or boat strike). The Center said the number of whales' is abnormally high in the Bay this year.
ABC 7 reports that a large gray whale was spotted breaching Wednesday near Alcatraz, and it was seen by many at Marina Green. Also, "At least one gray whale was seen swimming around for several hours before heading west toward the Golden Gate Bridge."