Map of the Gray Whale Migration
The Great Migration
The Gray whale migration to Baja’s San Ignacio Lagoon Map
The Migration route of the Pacific Gray Whale is often described as the longest known mammal migration in the animal kingdom.
Beginning in the Bering and Chukchi Sea and ending in the warm water lagoons of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, their round-trip journey moves them through 12,500 miles of coastline.
This journey begins mid to late September as the northern ice pushes southward. Traveling both night and day, Gray Whales average approximately 80 miles per day (120km). By mid to late December the majority of the Gray Whales are usually found between Monterey and San Diego where they are often seen from shore.
By late December to mid January the first of the Gray Whales begin to arrive at the calving lagoons of Baja. These first whales to arrive are usually pregnant mothers that look for the protection of the lagoons to give birth to their calves and single adults looking to mate. Finally by early to late February the bulk of the Gray whales begin to arrive and begin the cycle of life…giving birth to their young and mating. It is from mid February till late March that the lagoons are typically filled to capacity with nursing, calving and mating Gray Whales.
Throughout February and March, the first Gray Whales to leave the lagoons are normally the single males and females. Once they have mated, they will begin the trek back north to their summer feeding grounds. Pregnant females and nursing mothers with their newborn calves are the last to leave the lagoons. They leave when their young are ready for the journey which is usually from late March through mid April. Often there are still a few lingering Gray Whale mothers with their young calves in the lagoons well into late April and even May.
The date ranges given are meant for San Ignacio Lagoon only. Gray Whales at Magdalena Bay to the south often leave a month earlier and often come into San Ignacio Lagoon and Scammon's Lagoon where they spend a bit of time for unknown reasons.