Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2-19-15 They Found More Salmon and Followed It

Wednesday/Thursday, February 18/19th
Wednesday
...knowing that J pod was north (in my mind anyway) it was now a matter of waiting for them to come back down...but when?...which way - Rosario Strait?  San Juan Channel? or Haro Strait?
...would they 'show up' over the Lime Kiln hydrophones? ...even if they came down Rosario Strait or San Juan Channel and not Haro Strait, they sometimes are heard faintly in the distance...if they came down Haro Strait there is a greater chance they would first 'show up' over the Orca Sound hydrophones and then Lime Kiln...
...the wait was on...
video
...that is how it began...the whales were echolocating...it is almost not recognizable in the beginning and gets clearer as they get closer...it wasn't long before the whales' calls began as they continued traveling down Haro Strait...
...fish had been coming through over the last day or so...

...I had notice the sounds of what I believed to be a harbor seal...it (they, whoever) had been quite noisy...it was in the middle of the night some times so I knew it wasn't a diver or someone throwing rocks into the water by the hydrophones...
video

Thursday
...at about 4 a.m. I was surprised to hear J pod on the Lime Kiln and then over the Orca Sound hydrophones...they were still here!...and they were near...but of course it was too dark to see them...I last heard J pod calls at about 6:30 a.m. over the Orca Sound hydrophones...
...when it was getting a bit of light out there and not having heard the whales I went to Lime Kiln, just in case they had gone into a resting pattern (they are silent) and were possibly going back down island...that is when I saw and heard a harbor seal in close proximity to the location of the hydrophones make a sudden move where it 'jumps' up and then over with a loud splash and slap - I said, "there it is, there's that sound!"
...after scanning for the whales for a long time I was convinced they had gone north...and that too proved to me that yes, there was enough salmon that had moved up Haro Strait to cause the whales to follow them back to the north...
...what an eventful day and I hadn't seen a whale yet!

...Capt. Jim had a trip in the afternoon and we headed out on a very long journey to see if we could catch up to the whales as they went up one of my favorite places - Trincomali Channel...and we did, just as the whales were about to exit Porlier Pass, at the north end of Galiano Island, B.C...
...both babies, J-50 and J-51 were present, traveling next to their moms, J-50 next to Slick J-16, and J-51 traveling next to Shachi J-19...I didn't do very well on images...but I did see them and so did the passengers who had to look really closely for the little ones to 'pop up' - they are so quick!...Shachi and Eclipse on the left and Hy'Shqa J-37 acting goofy...both J-49 and baby J-51 were not at the surface...
...I kept trying...barely...had to do a lot of cropping and adjusting so J-51's fin would actually show up next to mom...

...as the whales exited the pass, similar to how they are when they exit Active Pass they got a bit energetic ...
...after exiting the pass they continued along...it was interesting to watch Granny J-2...she was with Samish J-14, her kids, and Onyx L-87...

...with them were Shachi J-19 with her two kids - 10 year old Eclipse J-41 and new baby J-51...

...accompanying them was Tsuchi J-31...Tsuchi has been being an auntie whale for a while now...she reminds me of Ophelia L-27...
...then at one point Granny slowed down...Shachi and her group continued as they had...and then Granny altered the pod's direction of travel...it wasn't a real obvious alteration, such as a 180 degree turn about, it was subtle, about a 30 degree course change...and soon the others were making the change as well...
...however, the J16s who were the whales farthest to the right of the group, ended up traveling about a 1/2 mile off from the others...Onyx L-87 and Blackberry J-27 had dropped back and were traveling together as the trailers when we left them...Mike J-26, one of the J16s family group was with his family of five way far off from the rest...they were all going the same direction...

...didn't realize I had this until later...I had to lighten it up so the buildings would show up through the haze...
...now that's a 'proof of location' shot!
 
...our visit was short but sweet and back toward home we headed with lots of conversation about the whales' need for salmon, and the alarming salmon situation that just seems to keep going on and on and not much getting done to fix it...
 
...sport fishing is great for some and maybe fine for catching some types of fish, but how about stop catching any Chinook at all for a few years...

...a while ago, someone asked the question about eating Alaska wild caught salmon...don't some of those salmon come to the Fraser River to spawn?  I don't know the answer to that at this time, but if they do, and if some of the seafood cards out there are saying that it's okay to eat Alaska wild caught salmon...I just wonder are we hurting the salmon runs here by it being caught before it gets here???
"food for thought"...
Just where does the salmon you eat come from?
better yet:  What sustainable seafood are you eating instead of salmon?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

2-14-15 K and L Pod Whales Appeared Today

Saturday, February 14th
...out on Maya's Westside Charters today...and no sooner do we leave the dock, we find we are heading west to catch up to a large group of whales...just spotted...and thought to be transients...NOT...it was members of K and L pods!  And they were going west (away from here)...when/how far did they come in when did they turn to leave?...doubt we'll ever know the answer to that except from maybe a fisherman who might have seen them 'in the act'...

It's not uncommon for the whales to show up in February and not make it all the way to Haro Strait before turning around...they were already past Race Rocks and almost to Secretary Island...and we were on our way hoping the whales would slow their departing pace...

...the farther we went the nicer it got...more sunshine and the seas for the Strait of Juan de Fuca - fabulous today...
on scene:

...the whales were spread for miles across and were not necessarily traveling in their family groups...for example: 
Yoda K-36 and Pooka L-106 were traveling together for a while...and then Pooka and his mom, Surprise! L-86 were traveling together...

...Sekiu K-22, Tika K-33, and Crewser L-92 were traveling together...
...Nyssa L-84 and a Pacific white sided dolphin were traveling together...


...then the Pwsd moved over to Ino L-54...


...off in the distance someone started breaching...one of the kids, but too far away to get an ID of which juvenile it was...
...at one point the K14s seemed to be traveling together, for a while that is...then with Surprise! L-86 and Pooka L-106, who a short while ago were with Kasatka L-82 and Finn L-106...
...as they were passing us, Kelp K-42 breached...
...I thought maybe he was the one who was breaching before but the eye patches are different...

...there were whales a mile or more south of us who we never got to, but it was sure neat to see their distant blows backlit by the sunshine...and there were whales close to a mile from us, closer to shore, who we didn't ever see...
...and the last whale we saw was Ballena L-90 and in the distance the Sheringham lighthouse - check out the lighthouse via the link...some of the images are stunning.



...according to us humans the whales were all mixed up today, but according to the whales they knew exactly where everyone was, including us!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2-12-15 J Pod Had a Surprise For Us All

Thursday, February 12th
...at 6:40 a.m. I began hearing faint calls over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...the volume increased a bit but not much and then, after about 25 minutes no more calls...then at about noon there were a couple very faint calls again...and in no time at all whales were passing by the Lime Kiln lighthouse going up island!  J Pod and it's February and you're at the light?! WOW!
...getting out of the car and hearing blows is not what I was hoping for...'oh, no, they're already going by!...
...it was rainy and of course overcast...
...Slick J-16 with baby J-50 and Echo J-42...and one other...were some who were ahead of me...

...some were in close to shore...it's one of those times you just snap as many as you can and look later at what you got!
...Princess Angeline J-17 and all her family all came in right along the shore...

...the last of the J17s to pass by the lighthouse...

...and little did anyone know...

...yes, there was a surprise hidden between these two!...and no one knew about until the Center for Whale Research boat with Davie Ellifrit and I got on scene with the lead group who were quite a distance from shore...that's when we discovered a wonderful surprise!


Read below then go to CWR website for the first images of this new addition to J Pod. I'm sure there will be an encounter posted soon. 


PRESS RELEASE
From Center for Whale Research
12 February 2015

Another New Baby in J pod!

            After spending the past two weeks near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, J pod finally came back into the interior Salish Sea waters and showed off another brand new baby whale to the few observers that braved the mist and light rain and watched the whales swim by from land and from vessels at respectful distance. Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research, and Jeanne Hyde who first heard the whales on Lime Kiln hydrophone this morning, embarked on the Center ‘s research vessel “Chimo” to Haro Strait while CWR Senior Scientist, Ken Balcomb, watched from shore and managed communications.
            The late December calf, J50, with its J16 family were seen today as well; but, the big news is that J19 and J41 were swimming protectively on either side on another new baby that we estimate is about one week old. This newest addition to J pod is designated J51, and the presumed mother is thirty-six year old J19. Her ten-year old daughter, J41, was also in attendance. The newest baby appears healthy.
            This brings us to twenty-six whales in J pod, the most viable pod in the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population of the US and Canada Pacific Northwest. K pod has 19 individuals, and L pod has 34 individuals for a total population of 79 SRKW’s as of today. That number can change anytime with the birth or death of one of these charismatic whales.

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...all of J Pod and Onyx L-87 were seen today.  Granny, Cookie J-38 and Oreo J-22 were traveling in a medium distant proximity to one another, while the J14s were in closer to shore...
...they went north...it's about the time of year for the herring runs up north there, so maybe they are headed up there to eat the salmon who are there to eat the herring...they'll be back down, but when and which way remains the mystery!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2-10-15 They Ate a Harbor Porpoise

Tuesday, February 10th
...after hearing Pacific white sided dolphins again in the early morning hours, for at least two hours, I thought scanning might be a good thing to do...
...and then the phone rang and off to the boat...Capt. Jim got word of orcas in San Juan Channel...
...Deer Harbor Charters and the Western Prince zodiac were already on scene as we arrived...one group was making a kill or already had...
...another small group was halfway between this group and the others, who were on the far side of San Juan Channel...
...the group we stayed with most of the time was the moms and kids who were having a meal.
...not a pretty picture, but a proof of what they were eating picture...
...it looks like that since the whales' 'dinner plate' moves about and since the whales don't have 'hands' of any sort...they use their teeth not only to chomp down but to hold onto so others can get a bite... 




...so who was there...well, there were all of the T124s and that's a big family who doesn't always travel together...the T86As, and the T100s, and we discovered there was a new to us baby - T100F (I think)...the calf looked to be a few months old.

...I transferred to the Center for Whale Research boat and continued on with Dave Ellifrit and the whales...see the CWR Encounters page for that post...it may not be up just yet, but it will have some really nice group images...they had grouped up and were traveling at a slow and steady pace, more like they were resting which made it exceptionally nice when they were surfacing in unison too!
...counting them all up there were three family groups, totaling twenty-one whales! Now that's a transient encounter we always look for in February and March and April and even sometimes in May...or maybe that's just wishful thinking!

Monday, February 9, 2015

2-9-15 Pacific White Sided Dolphins!

Monday, February 9th
...a long stretch, no Southern Residents cause there's no food...not in these parts anyway...that could change...there's always hope!

...ships and noisy harbor seals was about all that I heard over the hydrophones for a long time now...until...

...close to 5:00 a.m. this morning...two times over about a two minute span...Pacific white sided dolphins!...here's all I heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...I cut out the blank space in the middle so this about 25 seconds...that's all...
video
...last year on March 17, 2014 I also recorded Pacific white sided dolphins...and used that to compare this recording to...a link to that blog post...
...there really is animal life out there!