SEASIDE — Humpback whales were spotted Saturday feeding on bait fish for hours in Seaside Cove, the Seaside Aquarium reported.
Humpbacks are not unusual to the Oregon Coast but they tend to stay offshore for the most part, said Tiffany Boothe, of the aquarium. The whales come into the cove when bait fish are plentiful, usually during the months of July through September.
This year there have been reports all over the Oregon and Washington coasts of humpbacks feeding near shore, Boothe said. They can travel in groups but for the most part they are very small groups two to six animals.
Humpback whales endure the longest migration route of any mammal, she said. Humpbacks seen along the Oregon Coast travel 3,000 miles between their feeding and breeding grounds. They have been known to complete this journey in as little as 36 days.
Alongside the whales were brown pelicans, harbor seals, California sea lions, harbor porpoises, western gulls, terns, grebes and sooty shearwaters. They are feasting on anchovies and the birds and the sea lions are following the fish — not the whales. “The fish is the important part,” Boothe said. “Without the fish none of the activity that we saw today at the cove would be happening.”