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        Calendar: February 2014

Natural Events

The winter months are excellent in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary for tidepooling because afternoon low tides expose marine algae and invertebrates throughout the month.

During this month, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) can be seen traveling both southbound and northbound through the Channel, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries on their annual migration from Alaskan feeding grounds to warm calving lagoons in Baja California, Mexico and back to Alaska.

Elephant seals

Northern elephant seal (Mirounga augustirostris) pupping and breeding season on San Miguel Island throughout February.


Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pupping season on San Miguel Island continues through May.

California Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) begin nesting on Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands through February.

Baitfish, including mullet and cigar minnows, move into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary from northern waters, attracting sailfish, wahoo and king mackerel to the reef tract.

Northern elephant seals in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary continue to give birth to pups and many females wean their month-old pups abruptly by returning to sea for an extended foraging trip. Before leaving shore females become receptive and are mated by one or more bulls. Copulatory activity peaks on February 14, St. Valentine's Day.

The winter months are excellent for tidepooling in California because afternoon low tides expose marine algae and invertebrates (November-February.

During this month gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) can be seen traveling both southbound and northbound through the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. The whales follow an annual migration from Alaskan feeding grounds to the warm calving grounds in Baja California, Mexico before returning to Alaska.

Northern elephant seal (Mirounga augustirostris) pupping and breeding season on San Miguel Island (January and February).

Pacific harbor seal (Phoco vitulina) pupping season on San Miguel Island (January and February).

Peak elephant seal pupping and mating season, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Clam digging season commences, coinciding with harbor seal pupping, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Elephant seal pupping and haul outs at Ano Nuevo and Point Piedras Blancas beaches in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Hammerhead sharks and spotted eagle rays continue to school at the Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary.

In late February, North Atlantic right whales may use the nutrient rich waters of Gray's Reef during their winter calving period before beginning their northward migration of over 2000 miles to Stellwagen Banks and the Bay of Fundy.


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