It is an honor to share my new animal song video for kids, “Viva la Vaquita”, featuring the most endangered marine mammal in the world, the vaquita porpoise. When I start writing this song in 2016, there were an estimated 60 vaquitas left. Unfortunately, now there are only 30. This song is my way of bringing attention to this unique little porpoise I have grown to love. The vaquita lives only in the Gulf of California (aka Sea of Cortez) in Baja, Mexico. Therefore, I’ve included some lyrics in Spanish as well as musical instruments that are used in the traditional “Norteno” music of Baja, Mexico.
You can learn more about the vaquita, the smallest of all cetaceans, on a previous blog post. The post also includes coloring books in English and Spanish, courtesy of Viva Vaquita.org. To learn more about the vaquita and how to support the final efforts to save it from extinction, visit National Marine Mammal Foundation and VivaVaquita.org. Thank you for all you do to protect our precious oceans and the creatures who make it their home.
Viva la Vaquita!
“You belong to the Earth.
It’s the place of your birth.
The plants and animals we see…
We are one great big family.
We share this place,
This Earth where you belong.”
-(from “I Belong to the Earth”)
I’m so glad to share this Earth with you!
I saw orcas off the coast of Newport Beach, CA (USA) on January 7th! They were a rarely seen pod of Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales, including 1 large male and 1 calf. Thanks to the Gray Whale Census Team and Alisa Schulman-Janiger for first spotting them from land at Palos Verdes while counting gray whales. Thank you also to my employer, Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari, for bringing us to the whales. I’ve included my photos of these beautiful creatures, taken at sunset. The tall, distinctive dorsal fin in the top photo is that of the male orca.
These types of killer whales, identified by their darker saddle area behind the dorsal fin, are usually seen from south of San Diego to Central Amercia. Because they are rarely seen, we don’t know much about them yet. It was a very fortunate sighting, indeed.
Check out the drone footage of these orcas taken by Newport Coastal Adventure at: Newport Coastal Adventure/YouTube and read more about this killer whale visit at: OC Register On-line. You can also hear my song about another type of orca, called Southern Resident Killer Whales, in my previous blog post. Sightings such as these and the opportunity to teach about cetaceans are two of the many reasons why I love my job as First Mate and Naturalist.
Glad to be singing on the sea,
A few years ago, I wrote this song, “Orcas”, as a celebration of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Today I am re-posting this music video in memory of Granny (J-2), Doublestuf (J-34), Polaris (J-28), Rhapsody (J-32) and the other endangered SRKWs who have died since I released this song. May their beautiful spirits continue to teach us and inspire us to protect their remaining family members. Thank you for watching.
I have the good fortune of seeing common dolphins several times a month off the coast of Southern California. I encountered hundreds of them off the coast of Dana Point, CA over this holiday season; and I couldn’t think of a better way to wish you a happy new year than to share this photo that captures their playful spirit.
Common dolphins earned their name because they are “common” to all oceans in the world. They are beautiful animals that often travel, hunt and socialize in large pods of a hundred or more. We have a population of about 450,000 common dolphin off the coast of California, so they are very dear to me. Their cooperative and playful nature always brings joy to my heart and inspires me to squeal, whistle and sing. And sing I often do, sharing my dolphin song “Clickety-Clack” with the children on the boat! (more…)
Dear Ocean-Loving Friends,
When I am out at sea observing marine animals, I often wonder what’s going on in the ocean that I can’t see. Imagine my delight as I began to learn about plankton, the countless tiny living things that are floating and drifting in the world’s oceans and other bodies of water. These tiny organisms, most of which are too small to be seen without a powerful microscope, include plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). Plankton are the foundation of the food chain that supports fish and other sea creatures—and the people who eat them. Phytoplankton also provides us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe. (more…)
Love Humpback Whales?
Sing along to our “Humpback Whale Song” after reading this post.
Today I am grateful for the wildness in my life:
The wildness of this humpback whale I met in Monterey, CA last week. The wildness of the sea and wind, the earth and sun. The wildness of all creatures that visit me and inspire my songs. The wildness of plants. The wildness that lives in the fresh food I eat and the clean water I get to drink. The wildness of the children and families who sing my songs and who are amazing guardians of the Earth. I am grateful that I am part of this wild web of life and for all the ways in which Nature reminds me of that. And I am wild about sharing my wonder and gratitude with you!
Your singing friend and naturalist,
What’s wild in your life?
Watch my spider song-in-progress video:
I’m so excited! My producer, Jim Coffey of Blue Vision Music, has finished the instrumentals for my spider song; and I want to give you a sneak peek in time for Halloween, a holiday that celebrates spiders, spirits and other creatures of the night.
Jim has done an amazing job of matching my vision for this song, which included using string instruments that are plucked and played in ways that help the listener to imagine the work of a spider in its web.
I look forward to recording my vocals in the studio soon and releasing my spider song as a single. In the meantime, enjoy this sneak peek of a song that honors a weaver of silk and master designer of webs. My friends, meet the amazing spider!
Weaving webs of song and connection,
P.S. Check out our video blog post about spider webs:
“Watch a Spider Construct Its Web”
Dear Whale-Loving Friends,
This video by Chip Richards reminds me of the day I wrote my *“Humpback Whale Song” for kids. I put on a recording of humpback whales singing. As I listened to their songs, I felt such deep emotions and I started playing my guitar and humming a tune that turned into these words: “The most incredible songs I’ve ever heard, come from the sea and they have no words. They’re the beautiful sounds of the humpback whales, singing their songs, telling their tales, in oceans all around the world.”
As I watch this incredible video, “Singing With the Whales”, I am reminded of the inspiration and love that that whales and dolphins invoke in us. When there is an encounter and exchange between the whales and humans (like the one is this video), I am reminded of the intelligence of the animal world and that we all share this same beautiful planet.
Your singing cetacean naturalist,
*”Humpback Whale Song” can be found on our CD IF I WERE A FISH and Other Animal Songs for Kids.
One of the things I love about foggy, dew-thick mornings is watching all the spider webs reveal themselves. What has caught your attention in nature today?
I have been mesmerized and mystified by spiders and their webs for years now. So much so that I’ve written a song about them, and it will be recorded and released in early 2017. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can listen to a sneak preview of it in my spider song music video.
Your song-weaving friend,