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Spectators gather on a cliff overlooking Westward Beach as a gray whale migrates past them on Sunday, March 26. Photos by Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
A gray whale passes along the Malibu coast Sunday, March 26.
The head of a whale emerges from the Pacific Sunday, March 26, just off the coast of Westward Beach in Malibu.
Gray whale migration is at its peak for the season, with 1,250 southbound nearshore whales and 1,129 northbound nearshore whales identified by the American Cetacean Society Gray Whale Census.
Shown are the number of whales seen by the American Cetacean Society Gray Whale Census in March 2017, compared to last year's March counts, against the average March counts for our our 10 prior years. This is only for nearshore gray whales; the majority of gray whales actually travel through the Channel Islands, notes project director Alisa Schulman-Janiger. Graph Courtesy of ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project (Joyce Daniels)
Suzanne Guldimann, Freelance Reporter
8:10 am PDT April 4, 2017

The annual gray whale migration didn’t get off to a later than usual start this year, although it may have appeared that way to Malibu beachgoers. Instead, the migration pattern appears to have returned to normal after five years of unusually early sightings. 

Every winter, gray whales migrate down the Pacific Coast from their arctic feeding grounds to the warm waters of Baja, California, where their calves are born. In spring, they head north again.