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A week for whale watchers.

Byline: Winston Ross The Register-Guard

FLORENCE - Next week represents both your best chance to see gray whales close to shore and what may be your last chance to bask in the expertise of a volunteer to explain why that is.

As they do during the peak of the whales' two migration periods during winter and spring, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department-trained volunteers will staff a summer whale watching week between Monday and Labor Day. But it's probably the last time the state will sponsor the summer activity, said Linda Taylor, an interpreter at the whale watch center in Depoe Bay.

"It's too rough to get things organized in the summertime," Taylor said. "It's hard to get volunteers - everybody's gone."

There are fewer whales in the area this time of year - the bulk pass the coast in their migrations to and from Baja California to breed in the winter and spring months. But the whales that are here are closer to shore, Taylor said.

"Almost all 18,000 gray whales out there are up in Alaska. But about 200 to 400, for whatever reason don't go that far north, and feed along Oregon, Washington and British Columbia," Taylor said. "We usually have them between July and October."

Volunteers will man a number of sites, including the Depoe Bay seawall; Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint, one mile north of Depoe Bay; and the Bureau of Land Management's Yaquina Head Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Resource Area, three miles north of Newport. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

For more information, visit www.whalespoken.org.

Whale spotting advice

The state Whale Watching Center offers these tips:

Bring your binoculars and dress for the weather. Focus your binoculars and have them ready, but watch with your eyes. When you locate a blow, bring up your binoculars for a closer look.

Learn the diving and feeding habits of the whales (see the Whale Watching Center brochure) so you will know how often and where they may surface.

Morning light (with the sun at your back) is often helpful for spotting blows. Afternoon light reflects off the water and makes viewing difficult.

Calmer days are better whale watching days, by land, sea or air.

Any spot with an ocean view may yield whale sightings, but higher locations are better than sandy beaches.
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Title Annotation:General News; Volunteers will be along the coast to point out some gray whales staying close to shore
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 26, 2007
Words:389
Previous Article:THIS WEEK IN HISTORY.
Next Article:Derring-do up in the blue.
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