Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Monday, September 18, 2017

9-18-17 It Rained!

Monday, September 18th

...last night (Sunday) it rained...and this time it was more than just a sprinkle...

...this afternoon Southern Residents showed up in Puget Sound!

...was it the rain that caused salmon to move in and therefore the whales behind the salmon?


...in years past it was the norm for the whales to head to Puget Sound in September, to check out the the salmon availability...though in years past they used to leave the San Juans and head to Puget Sound...

...they came in today...let's see what they do...

...hopefully all those in boats on the water will be respectful of the whales and allow them plenty of space and quiet to live their lives and seek out food to sustain them.

...it is an exciting moment after a long and sparse summer for salmon in these waters....today there were several 'bait balls' (gulls, diving birds, and bait fish)...things are beginning to move again...
...maybe the next rain will bring salmon in this northerly direction, toward the Fraser River...they are needed for four years from now, to keep the cycle of life of going.

...may there be enough salmon for all - SRKWs, for spawning, and for the other 135+ species that rely on salmon for their well being.

A few links you might find interesting:
Why Protect Salmon-Wild Salmon Center 

WDFW publication

Wild Fish Conservancy

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

9-13-17 Spectacular From A Distance

Wednesday, September 13th
...when I learned that the whales were coming down San Juan Channel...well, I had to head that way...it isn't common to see them coming down and exiting Cattle Pass...I wasn't going to miss it!
...it's not uncommon to see the Transients on the far side of the channel, but today it was going to be the L Pod whales who were way, way, over there...
...had they been really close I wouldn't have seen the people and would have likely missed some of the action...






...then they exited Cattle Pass and headed offshore and up island...
...by now they were really far offshore...

...however, there were a few who were quite close in at South Beach...the first time I've ever gotten an image from there...
...then on up island the whales went...but they didn't get all the way up before they changed direction, spread out, and eventually headed south...
...while sitting in a chair seeing the whales from a very, very long distance, a mystery captain broadcast some of the calls over the hydrophones...
...not very good with my cell phone, but realized I could take video of the calls...and while holding the cell phone - ha! - I got my shadow too...
...well, thank you mystery captain, you brought the whales right to me!
video

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11-17 L Pod Whales Came Back In

Saturday - Monday, September 9-11

9-9
...early on Saturday it rained and it rained for a good portion of the morning...
...no whales...
9-10
...but that night, in the middle of the night (like 3a.m. on Sunday), I was awakened to those 'fish burp' sounds....first time I have heard them in a long time...there were several in a row and a couple more a while later...
...and then, it was a surprise to learn that some L Pod whales had shown up...it was a small group of L Pod whales and they spent the day down off the west side of the island...

9-11
...the next morning it was out the door early, hoping to locate the whales...after scanning for close to an hour, I turned and began to walk back to the car...it was then, I stopped, "that was a blow" (I had just heard)...very faint, but it was an orca!
...back to the outlook and there were two big males, one female, about a 1/2 mile offshore, heading directly for the shoreline and angling down island...I immediately called the Center for Whale Research...then I scanned farther offshore...and there were more coming across! - definitely Residents! 
...no matter how many times I find the whales, especially like this, it just never gets old...
...as I was watching them I heard a blow off to the up island side of me - yikes! some are already heading up island...off and running now :)

...I wasn't sure who was here...the hydrophones were recording but didn't have access with me...and sometimes it's more intriguing to let them show me...
...and soon they made their way up...





...who went up island were Racer L-72, Fluke L-105, Marina L-47, Mystic L-115, Moonlight L-83, Midnight L-110, Muncher L-91, Magic L-122, and Crewser L-92 and his aunt, Ballena L-90.
...those two big males I had seen belonged to some of the L12s, who spent the day down island, spread out most of the time and foraging over a wide area...

Interesting to note that the L4s from the prior day were seen heading toward the Fraser River and were reported to by at the North Arm of the Fraser by the afternoon...
...and by the end of the day the 10 L pod whales who had gone north, were still going north...they usually travel with the L4s...
...will they meet up and come back down together?
...are the L4s splitting off?...is this the start of something new for these L Pod whales...
...as usual...the next chapter may reveal more...

 



Thursday, September 7, 2017

9-7-17 Catching Up Over the Last Couple Days

Thursday morning, September 7th

...first, backing up to Sept 4, when J, K, and L pods came in:
...on that day, as they crossed Haro Strait on their way to the west side, they were very spread out...some were too far offshore to determine exactly who was present...there was, however, a mix and some crossed over and to just south of the park before going north...
...Scoter K-25 was one of them...I did get a look at Mega L-41, he and likely the rest of the family were way offshore and going up island...
...Sequim K-12 and her family had come across and eventually went up island...

...some of the K12s passed the lighthouse...then came Shachi J-19 - you know the trending leader...behind her were Eclipse J-41 and her offspring, Nova J-51...and not far from Shachi was Hy'Shqa J-37, Granny's great-granddaughter 

...I was hesitant to post about that because there were J Pod whales way ahead of these, who were over a mile offshore...so...was Shachi becoming the matriarch of just the J14s family and not the rest of J Pod?...they like to keep it confusing!
...a few images from the evening of the 4th...



...many L Pod whales came north at nearly dark...at home I heard them over the Lime Kiln hydrophones for close to an hour...

...the next day the whales were up north of the North Arm and actually one report from a boat said they were north of the city of Vancouver...wow! -see footnote at end of the post.

...on Sept 6th the Residents were at the top end of Haro Strait (Turn Pt, Stuart Island) at about 10:30 and passing Lime Kiln at about 12:30...
...ahead of them were some Transients, two separate groups...one group (the T65As) coming down ahead of the Residents and another group (T10s, T101s, and possibly T109s - but not totally sure) coming up from the far west side of Haro Strait (I think they had come around Discovery)...they were way in the distance and but we could see them from shore...as the T65As got closer, the group that was coming up Haro turned and headed back where they had come from...both groups of Ts had 'left the area'...
...did they hear the Residents and decided to leave?...did they get word from the T65As that it was going to get 'crowded' in here?...no one knows for sure but it sure made for some interesting wondering...

...and then came the Residents...and were they ever vocal!!
...in the lead was Shachi J-19 !!  Whoo-hoo!!!!
...behind her were Eclipse J-41, Nova J-51, Hy'Shqa J-37...and behind them were T'ilem I'nges J-49 with Suttles J-40...and offshore from Shachi, in one of my pics (not included in these images) was Mako J-39...



...some began porpoising...
...a whirlwind of whales went by and others began approaching...
...two who were together...
...one a bit offshore surprised everyone with an awesome breach, one of those that seems to linger for a moment before landing...and one that likely few were ready for...and then another one breached...a juvenile...sweet!
...many more images which I'll save for another day...

footnotes:  It was heartwarming to read the Center for Whale Research's encounter summary from 9/4, when J, K, and L pod whales were in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, when Ken Balcomb wrote that Shachi J-19  "who seems to have taken over as leader"  yay...I don't have to say 'trending leader' any more! What also was heartwarming was that he stated the whales were 'frisky and appeared in good condition' ...which I translate as that they have been eating well during their long time on the outer coast.  That's what is most needed, that they survive.  
Now if anyone wants to see the Southern Residents in these waters more, then this eco-system needs to get cleaned up and healthy.  

I looked back at blog posts from 2013, same time frame, and the same thing was occurring...interesting to note that the pattern repeats...of course, the salmon run in cycles.

here are a couple 2013 posts you might be interested in...I find that I am saying the same thing this year as I was 4 years ago. Granted, I am no expert. BUT - why is there so much talk and so little action?!

Sept 3, 2013 Was It Another One Day Visit?
and
Sept 4, 2013  Food Today!
and
Sept 8th, 2013 North to the North Arm! (interesting to note that on this encounter in 2013 the whales were at the North Arm of the Fraser.  And on Sept 5, 2017 they were actually north of the North Arm of the Fraser.) 

Monday, September 4, 2017

9-4-17 They Must Have Read the Previous Post

Monday, September 4th
...I think the whales must have read my post and realized how long it had actually been since they had been in here!
...a report came early that Residents were inbound!  Excitement was in the air...But would the whales make it all the way to Haro Strait?...

...yesterday I met a couple who had been here last year...and they were hoping to see them again same time this year...all day they waited and asked and checked in to see if there was any word...nope...
...by the end of the day I suggested they re-live last year's encounter, because that might be all they get this year...they only had one more day on the island...
...they did and they seemed glad they did...

...and then there was today...
...it was a wait and see what happens day...
...and then when I heard calls over the hydrophones, I couldn't help myself, but came out of the lighthouse and announced that the whales were vocalizing and it's the first time we have heard their calls in a very, very long time!

...it didn't matter that they weren't on the shoreline...
...it didn't matter that they were spread out...
...it only mattered that they were here and we were glad...

...but with that gladness comes a big caution sign...
Caution:  Salmon, is there enough salmon in here for them? 

...and what are we humans going to do to make sure there is enough salmon for the whales... 

For tonight...cherish your fond moments with these majestic 'people of the sea' and do what you can to be a good steward for the whales.  After all they give us memory gifts to last our lifetimes.