If you thought you saw the Loch Ness Monster on St. Patrick’s Day in the Puget Sound, you’re right about one thing; we have had some special visitors in our waters.

A group of five to six bottlenose dolphins have been sighted regularly since September 2017 according to Cascadia Research reports. The dolphins are not common to Northwest Washington waters.

A Seattle Aquarium blog post writes that researchers from the Orca Network, Cascadia Research, and collaborators from California identified two dolphins as mature females called “Miss” and “Stump.” They say those two are nearly 1,000 miles from their home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most species do not tolerate freezing waters so they migrate to warmer places during the fall and winter and can sometimes migrate to cooler places in the spring and summer. But open ocean dolphins who tend to tolerate colder waters rarely venture this close to the coast. Either way, dolphins go where the food is.

Researchers are calling for locals and photographers to help them in spotting the dolphins to try and identify the rest of the group. If you see any species of dolphin, call Cascadia Research at (360) 943-7325, or email danderson@cascadiaresearch.org.