Some unexpected visitors are giving people near Astoria a rare treat.
Humpback whales have been spotted in the Columbia River just downstream of the bridge to Washington.
Biologist Deborah Jacques, who studies pelicans, said she’s never seen humpbacks so far in from the ocean.
“It’s really great to be able to see it,” she said, “but you also wonder what’s going on out in the ocean. Is there poor productivity out there this year with the blob and El Nino conditions?”
The whales are drawn by food and they’re not alone. Large numbers of pelicans and sea lions likely have been feasting on anchovies.
Professor Bruce Mate at Oregon State University, one of the world’s experts on whales, confirms that El Nino ocean conditions are driving many sea animals toward shore looking for food.