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First gray whale of the season sighted off Whidbey

The first returning gray whale of the season was reported today by a Camano Island woman, according to the Orca Network in Greenbank.

Connie Barrett reported seeing a gray whale in Saratoga Passage just after 10 a.m. Thursday.

Howard Garrett of the Orca Network also reported seeing the whale from the bluff above Hidden Beach, north of Greenbank, about an hour later.

Garrett said the whale appeared to be No. 53, and one of the 10 or so "Saratoga Grays" that feed off the coast of Whidbey Island during the spring.

The Orca Network will host its annual "Welcome the Whales" celebration in Langley on April 23. The event includes the parade of species through downtown, as well asĀ  demonstrations,children's activities and other fun events.

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