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Small Group Of Gray Whales Return To Puget Sound

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file photo of a gray whale (Photo credit LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

file photo of a gray whale (Photo credit LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — A male gray whale that frequently visits the Puget Sound has come back this year to feast on shrimp, marking the start of an annual stay by a small group of these big marine mammals in Washington state inland waters.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association says that the gray whale named “Little Patch” was seen this past weekend for the first time this year. He’s one of a group of about a dozen primarily male gray whales that feast on ghost shrimp in north Puget Sound waters for about three months during spring. The whales then continue their migration to Alaska.

Cascadia Research Collective biologist John Calambokidis says these grays are a peculiar group that breaks off the main northbound migration, seemingly because they have discovered good feeding in Puget Sound waters.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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