Thursday, October 30, 2014

10-30-14 Visual and Vocal Kind of Day

Thursday, October 30th
...at about 1:20 a.m. transient calls came over the Lime Kiln hydrophones for at least 20 minutes...then an hour+ later I heard them again, only much more faint...

...10:30 a.m. I went to scan for humpbacks, since yesterday every time I looked out the window I saw one!
...right off the bat from County Park there were two way out by Kelp Reef marker...and then one much closer in at County Park...who later turned into two!
...so 4 humpbacks on a rainy and windy day...

...down to Lime Kiln to watch a helicopter do something near the lighthouse to do with acoustical work...very cool to watch that helicopter come down very close to the water and just hover...

...while watching the helicopter I also watched the humpbacks, who were several miles off shore, but I could see their blows and their tails when they sounded...too cool...

...and then tonight...a singing humpback on the Orca Sound hydrophones and this time I am sure it was singing...I compared it to the recording from last year and there are more similarities...but to be sure I sent a clip to the Center for Whale Research for verification...
...it started at about 9:40 pm for several minutes, then stopped and started again at 9:53 and this time he was really singing - in my little world anyway...
...here's a bit of what I heard...
video

...it's not the first time (see last year October 13, 2013)...and then last week when I thought it was singing...and now tonight...this may become common to hear at this time of year...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10-28-14 The Whereabouts of SRKWs

Saturday-Tuesday, October 25-28th
Saturday
...it started before midnight on the 24th and lasted for a long time into Saturday the 25th...I recorded over three hours, but the calls were intermittent, extremely faint in the beginning, increasing and then fading out again...originally I only heard J and K calls but after listening again I picked up L pod calls too...here's a short clip...the slight breaks of silence you hear are spaces indicating these are all separate and occurred sometime throughout the long event...
video


...sometime on Saturday afternoon whales were seen in Puget Sound...and again on Sunday...

...on Monday whales were reported in Rosario Strait...that would be unusual for the Residents, but with a reporting of a large group, it most likely was...would we find out??? - wow!...thanks to the Odyssey for locating the RESIDENTS!!
...on Maya's Westside Charters we had just left a couple humpbacks when word came in...okay - how about a longer trip today folks?!  Yes!...and we were on our way...
...the whales were in the Strait of Georgia and the seas were not very friendly out there...we could see whales spread for miles...
...Crewser...
...Scoter K-25
...there were whales way up ahead, off to the east...and even to the south...
...Kelp K-42 zooming on by...
...Patos Island lighthouse and Lobo K-26...
...no J pod whales did we see...but they were all heading in the direction of the Coal Docks...so who knows who was up ahead!

...then comes Tuesday, 10-28-14...12:30 in the afternoon calls burst over the speakers...I just dropped everything and ran...got to south of the park...and kept going...
...the seas were brutal looking, to me anyway...
...and today I was able to fill in some of the ID gaps from Monday...
I can at least say that I saw some members of each of the four family groups of L pod, those who travel as a unit - L26s, L4s, L43s, and L21s...
 ...Marina and Mystic turned back up island for a few minutes...
...nasty seas?...and understatement!
...just to give you an idea of distance...usually called 'killer whale dots'...
...luckily my camera did the long distance work...
...and Crewser's tall fin helped out too...

...and those calls...quite different from the other night...once again, the slight breaks indicate separate calls...
video

...I didn't see any J or K pod whales...I don't have a clue where J pod went after I heard them on the hydrophones early on Saturday...and I only know that some K pod whales had gone north on Monday...

...the plot thickens...


Sunday, October 26, 2014

10-26-14 Singing Humpback Was Just Feeding

Sunday, October 26th  (re-posted with corrections)
...in my excitement to record and share these sounds made by a humpback whale on 10-26-14, I neglected to go back to the recording from last year that was confirmed to be a singing humpback whale...

 ...when I heard these sounds, I had remembered them from last year's recording and jumped to the conclusion the humpback whale was singing.
...however, researchers from Alaska let me know that these sounds are related to feeding...
...going back and listening to last year's recording and comparing it to this year's recording, I can see the are some differences...
...here's the same clip I originally posted from 10-26-14 with different wording...

video



...with all the humpback activity within the Lime Kiln hydrophone range and not hearing any of these sounds except for this one time...oh, gee, it just gives me something else to wonder about!




Thursday, October 23, 2014

10-23-14 What A Window Of An Afternoon

Thursday, October 23rd
...with the weather pattern beginning into a stretch of unsettled weather I didn't know if I'd be going out today or not...

...out on Maya's Westside Charters we headed over to where there were some humpback whales...
...on our way we stopped at Kelp Reef marker where Steller sea lions can often be seen at this time of year...
...as we came around to the other side...uh-oh...what happened here?...Capt. Jim wondered if the Stellers had done this...the tangled mess #1 of metal is what had been a hand rail to hoist oneself up from the vertical ladder #2 that is attached to the cement in the water...#3 is the ladder that leads up the tower of the marker...so far they haven't tried to climb that!
...link here to see prior encounter of how they do it...see how Stellers actually get up on that ledge...

...then I noticed in the next shot that the ladder is actually farther from the cement base that it appeared...I just hope someone will come and get this junk out of the water before it detaches completely and adds more trash to our waters...
...speaking of junk in the water...storms push a lot of debris, including logs into the water...when you think of the stream near you maybe not having much impact - not true - no matter where you live, when the rains come they wash all that junk down stream and in this area many times right into the ocean...here's a humorous yet potentially deadly 'cedar orca'...
...the only 'orca' we saw today...

...on to Canada...we paused seeing the Canadian flag flying at half mast after the horrible events that took place in Ottawa the day before...
...looking at harbor seals hauled out near Trial Island, I noticed some shore birds...
...we didn't have long to see the humpback as the seas were beginning to build from the west...
...but BCX0470 sounded (fluked) a couple times, giving us a nice ID opportunity...
...as we came back across we saw the tall ships - from S.A.L.T.S. -...we stopped to say, "ahoy" and those 9th grade students were about the most animated I've seen on one of those ships...those instructors probably had no problem in getting these kids into action!

...continuing toward home...oh, yes, Dall's porpoise visited us for a few minutes...off in the distance...
...to the northwest and moving our way...
...then an eagle in a tree...what's so great about that?...

...I love the feathers!...it's only 16 seconds and it's out of focus but the feathers are the 'main attraction'...
video

...as we pull into the dock the rain drops start...what a window of an afternoon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10-21-14 Barnacles Gave A Clue As To Who

Tuesday, October 21st
...thinking the killer whales had continued up island (which seemed a bit unusual) I figured we would go north today and look for them...and maybe find some of the humpback whales that had been in the vicinity a couple days ago...
...but I learned that the L pod whales had turned and gone back down last evening...what?!
...I spotted the blow of a humpback whale in the distance...on Maya's Westside Charters we headed in that direction...as we approached Capt. Jim saw a second whale!
...they were at the surface moving slowly, looked like they might be in a resting mode...then they fluked (sounded)...
...figuring they would be down for several minutes, I thought I would scan around...and as I put my camera down I said to myself, "watch they'll probably do something because I'm looking away."  One second later (no joke) one and then the other breached...I guess they woke up...
...at least I got the second one breaching...
...they got into a frisky mode...

video

...as I looked through my images, I noticed the barnacles...
...one whale had lots and the other hardly any...
...looks more like a crocodile than a whale with all those barnacles on the whale's bumps, called tubercles (hair follicles)..it makes them stand out even more...
...look at the outer edges of the tail flukes on these two...
...either lots or none...
...same with their pec fins...
...it's Split Fluke BCX1068 who has the barnacles in all those places...
...I wonder why that is...one much older than the other?...where they spend most of their time?...maybe there is no reason at all and that's just the way it is.
...in looking for more information I found several articles about this...here are a couple links: article on the Pacific Whale Foundation site...
...and on the scienceonline site: How Do Barnacles Attach to Whales?
 
...these two whales are known in this area and are often seen together but not always...this is the time of year the humpbacks are moving down, stopping off in these waters while on their way to their winter grounds...
...one last look before we leave...Salt Spring Island in the distance...


...the whales and the barnacles continued on their way...except at this moment they were going in the wrong direction!