Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Monday, March 30, 2015

3-30-15 A Whale of a Surprise!

Monday, March 30th
...out on Legacy Charters to see if we could locate J Pod whales who I had heard earlier over the hydrophones (see prior post)...
...we met up with whales as they were just entering Active Pass...it appeared to be the J16s...
...little did we know we were in for a surprise!
...it wasn't until we had exited Active Pass and were in the Strait of Georgia that this group of whales stalled out and and we weren't quite sure what they were doing...maybe with baby J-50 they were taking a rest?..I don't know...but what I do know is what occurred when they started to move on...
...Slick J-16 and baby surface as they passed by us...I thought to myself, "there's mom and the baby."...but then right in front of us and about 25 yards behind mom and the baby, another baby surfaces!...that's when I told Capt. Spencer, "I think there are two babies here!"

...and so began our quest to figure it out...and then Suttles J-40 surfaces - huh? what?...you don't even belong in this family group...just what is going on?

...our quest was to get two calf fins up at the same time, so we could prove there were two babies here, J-50 and someone else...that took a while...
 
...when Legacy was about to leave the scene, Maya's Westside Charters arrived, so I boat hopped and was able to stay out with these whales longer - thanks captains!
...we know that J-50 is a female, and that belly marking is a female, but is this J-50?!  So many questions...the answers may take a while...
...Suttles J-40 was behind this group...an unfolding mystery...these whales could be babysitting the new calf...we've seen it before...



...The Center for Whale Research was contacted while we were on the water to let them know about this calf...then after looking at images and seeing open saddle patch on each side of the calf, they were contacted again with this information.  J-50 and J-51, the other two new calves in J Pod do not have open saddle patches.

3-30-15 Those Fish Sounds and Then...


first to recap:
3-27 J Pod was last seen heading out the Strait of Juan de Fuca...
3-28 I heard that J Pod had been spotted at Sombrio...that's almost to the outer coast...
3-28 I began hearing those burp sounds (fish sounds I've been told) starting in the afternoon and continuing into the evening.
3-29 I was away from the hydrophones until the early afternoon...I had been out trying to locate the T11s...
3-29 late afternoon and into the evening more burp sounds...

If you aren't familiar with what I am speaking about go to this prior post...

I continue to record these sounds yet I still haven't gotten it into my head that the whales might be showing up again.

Well, they did at about 2:25 this morning 3-30-15!...over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...then at about 4:00 a.m. there were a bunch of 'squiggles' (S10s or S33s) over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
video
...they were in the area until after 7:00 a.m. going up island...I wonder if they will be in the same place where no one could find them the other day?!...that's what I thought about when I heard them last :)

...don't know yet what the rest of the day will bring...but it's been great so far! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

3-27-15 Find Us If You Can!

Thursday, March 26th
...Find Us If You Can! relates to what happened on Thursday...
...(correction on time-I looked at my notes wrong) somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. I hear about 5 seconds of J pod calls over the Orca Sound hydrophones...
...I spend the next one and a half hours at Lime Kiln scanning for them...
...others spent the day looking for them...
...Find Us If You Can they said...and no one did!

...by the evening I was beginning to wonder if I needed to 'fire' myself from the hydrophones...
...I know I heard them but wasn't quick enough to hit the record button and since no one had found them all day...well, had I been hearing things?  :)

Friday, March 27th
...Oh, You Found Us!
...it was just about the same time as yesterday...10:02 a.m....
...lots of ship noise over the Orca Sound hydrophones...
...I hear faint clicking...was it the ship? or whales?...
...the clicking stopped...then started again...
...it was whales!
...but after yesterday I didn't trust myself so I called and had another person's ears on it...
...Yes, it was whales and it was J pod!

Yippee!...I don't have to fire myself from the hydrophones.

...when I first saw them coming down island...
...pics from the park as they came down...
...the whales were spread out, but at that time going down island...so when we came out on the boat later it was surprising to hear they were already heading toward Victoria and west...
...pics from the boat, Maya's Westside Charters with Capt. Jim...

 
 
video


...it's only March!...J pod shows up on sunny calm days and disappears on less sunny and less calm days...that's nice for us humans but I doubt it has anything to do with their travel...they are focused on finding salmon...we keep hoping they will continue to find enough to keep going...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

3-24-15 J Pod Today? It's Only March!

Tuesday, March 24th...
...but it's only March!
...I woke up at 4:00a.m., feeling fully rested and got up...I said, "I must be up early cause there will be whales today."
That is just too funny!  Actually there was no hint of whales, as far as I know, until maybe after 11 this morning...
...and just yesterday I thought it was time to make an 'anticipation for the season' video clip....well, thanks J pod, you did it for me!
...oh, to sit there at the park and have J pod, both new moms and babies too, pass by, sort of close to shore at this time of year...special...then again it always is...
video
...it took them a long time to get up to and past the lighthouse...they were going against a strong ebb tide, might have been part of the reason and there was some foraging going on too...
...as they approached they were quite active...

...Slick J-16 and baby J-50 and J-42 (not shown) were just north of the lighthouse for quite a while foraging...they started going back down island and then flipped again...the J19s came along next, and behind them the rest, except that there were a few who where miles from shore...
...as the whales were approaching a woman, who had just walked down the path, asked if there were any whales around...oh, yes, a humpback - Big Mama BCY0324 - who is still hanging around - in fact she was a couple miles offshore doing cartwheels and making trumpeting sounds too...at the same time the killer whales were slowly making their way north...and then a juvenile bald eagle came flying right at her and then over our heads...needless to say she was about speechless!
...someone has a few teeth (rake) marks...and someone else dug in a bit...it'll heal and just about vanish...salt water is a great healer...
...J Pod took the longest time to travel less than ten miles...then the tide turned...maybe that would move them along...I haven't heard them come back down, not yet anyway...


...now everyone wants to know where will the whales be tomorrow?
..wherever there is enough salmon for them is where they will be...

Last year in March, J pod was heard over the hydrophones on March 3rd.
The year before that J pod was seen near the Campbell Rive in early March.

This year in March: J pod seen: the 9th, the 18th, the 24th...interesting spacing of days...

There were fabulous vocalizations over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...I'll try to get some of that posted soon...I'll listen to see if any of the humpback trumpeting sounds got picked up too...


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3-18-15 The' Paul Revere' of the Whales Are Coming!

Wednesday, March 18th

...if this sounds strange refer to my blog post of 3-10-15...

...on Saturday, March 14th, with basically no burp (fish) sounds heard during the day of really nasty seas, J Pod showed up at 5:00 p.m....they were on the hydrophones for over seven hours...while they were here there were some burp sounds heard...and it couldn't be determined which way they ended up going...


...Sunday it poured rain all day, seas were nasty...didn't notice any burp sounds...
...Monday - there were a few burp sounds over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
...Tuesday - burp sounds over the Lime Kiln hydrophones in the middle of the night and intermittent throughout the day...10:00 p.m. and a few more after that...
...Wednesday - 7:15 a.m. - J pod!! -loud and clear over the Orca Sound hydrophones...
...now if only I would make a plan once I hear those sounds!

It sounded like they were coming down from the north...
...so off to the park...but when I located them they were miles from shore and moving up island!

...the Orca Sound hydrophones are north of the Lime Kiln hydrophones the whales are heard over the hydrophones which are closest to where they are arriving from...usually that is...they were loud over the Orca Sound hydrophones and there was nothing coming over the Lime Kiln hydrophones until about 45 minutes later...those calls were fainter...

...so the other night they had gone back out...and today they were coming back in...okay, that question resolved...

The next questions that came up for me are:
-Why were there no burp sounds before they arrived on Saturday?
-Since they had been here for several hours that night, with basically no burp sounds in advance and a few during the time they were here and then the left, did they run out of salmon and then turn around and leave?

Because now, over the last couple days those burp sounds were heard and then J pod shows up today, Wednesday, and they go up island to the north...still heading that way late in the day...

(I don't know how long these burp sounds will be the 'Paul Revere' of the 'whales are coming' a happy alert, not one of alarm...but it sure seems to have that tone...at least at this time of year...it will take more years of this to know for sure...)

I went out on the Center for Whale Research boat with Ken Balcomb this morning and we found the whales spread all over the place...today their version of zigging and zagging was a mile across this way and how about two miles back across the other way...
...they were actively chasing fish...however, with being spread out as they were one would think that the salmon were pretty well spread out too...at least there were some going through these waters and the whales were certainly chasing them down...

note: When I'm on a federally permitted research boat the pictures I take belong to the permit holder - the Center for Whale Research...
(check their encounters page for pics from 3-18-15)...