Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Sunday, August 13, 2017

8-13-17 SRKWs and Transients Comparison Practice

Sunday, August 13th
...having no whales in the area of Lime Kiln recently has given opportunity to have more conversations with people who come into the lighthouse...
...many people have asked, "how do you tell the difference between an SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whale) and an Transient?"
...one of the people was a man who lives on a nearby island and has recently had, on many occasions, killer whales passby...as he was taking some notes on what to look for he mentioned that he uses 'post-its'...so I called him Mr. Post-Its - (I'm terrible at remembering names, that is unless it's an orca's name.)
...well, Mr. Post-Its told me that when he was younger he wanted to be a marine biologist but his life took a different turn and added that it has been all good...so, I suggested that now was his time to use some of his training from years ago and be that 'marine biologist' right from his front window...
...so for Mr. Post-Its and anyone wanting to see some of the differences, here's a general comparison sheet (printable) to help you get started...
...and now here are some practice whales for you...
...these are only a sampling...but will maybe give you an idea of some of the general differences you might see...










 
...the answers...you'll figure them out...sometimes you have to look for those 'tiny things' that will reveal - Transient or Resident?

 


Saturday, August 5, 2017

8-5-17 Please Don't Throw Away the SRKWs

Saturday, August 5th
...that about sums it up - so far...

...the worst year ever for seeing the Southern Residents.
...the worst year ever for returning salmon.
...the smoke from the fires on the BC mainland and in Washington state makes everything orange...and with no wind it has like this for several days...
...the T18s came up island the other day...

...inside of Low Island, which is off of County Park...

BUT I find it difficult to not talk about the Southern Residents...they are not here and there are huge implications for why they aren't...
...my last blog post mentioned the bait fish moving up, and lots of it...well, that has stopped... (remember, I'm only talking about a stretch along the west side of San Juan Island)...no matter, this stretch is not at its level of sea life that it has been in the past 13 years that I've been watching...

...some L Pod whales came in the other day...that night at midnight they came up to the lighthouse...their echolocation clicks were extremely loud and they lasted a good while...they were in the area until after 3 a.m. fading off the Lime Kiln hydrophones...seen later that morning heading back out to sea...

...test fishing indicated Chinook salmon had been coming in...looks like the whales followed them...I heard from several that the whales were seen with fish in their mouths and/or chasing fish...now that's a good sign...
...the not-good sign is that they were heading back out to sea the next morning...

...no one knows what will occur next...will it all of a sudden change?...it certainly can...and it also can stay the same...what is important is that no matter where the whales are they must eat to stay alive. 

...we can only watch and wait and see what unfolds as the weeks go on...

...a few images from the PAST...



...keep watch on what's around you...from the small up to the large...indicators...indicators...

...the Transients have filled the empty space...but they aren't the Southern Residents...
...please don't throw the SRKWs away...no matter who tells you something 'can't' be done is only saying words...it's the actions of people who can make the change...
...when someone tells you to 'not even bother' ...well 'be bothered' - bothered by their words of discouragement, push on...it's only their opinion...
 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7-25-17 Grab Your Binocs

Tuesday, July 25th

Grab your binoculars and go to the shore line and see...

...those images taken from 'the wall' at Lime Kiln Pt. State Park this morning...people were coming down and looking...looking out...looking for the 'big things'...but when they were directed to look closer and look down...some were quite amazed at what they saw!
...I couldn't show them whales...at that time I didn't even have a clue where they were...but I could show them the 'tiny things'...
...often those 'tiny things' are what gets ignored, when in fact so much depends on the 'tiny things'... (look down at the shore wherever you are to see what you can see...)

...some of the big things some folks saw yesterday and again today, not only from Lime Kiln but also from County Park, and from their sounds I think they liked those 'big things' too... :)
Monday...
Tuesday...
...and L Pod...well they came down last night...I heard them over the Lime Kiln hydrophones at about 11pm...they headed back west today...
...but maybe they will be back sooner...lots more gulls today and cormorants too, even some harbor porpoise, a minke whale, and let's not forget those 'tiny things' and the 'big things'...they are all connected.
...and J Pod, well they are still in the Salish Sea but not where you could see them from shore today...some folks on boats got to see them...maybe tomorrow J Pod will come our way...
...let's hope the salmon will be abundant enough for J Pod to stay...
 
 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

7-23-17 J and L Pod Whales First Time This Year

Sunday, July 23rd
...yesterday, I happened upon this image from a few years ago...the orcas and gulls...and you know I have been watching for gulls that haven't been around much on the west side (a designated section only)...what had been common in the past just wasn't this year...and that means the lack of sightings of the Southern Residents and gulls and all kinds of things...so I started watching for gull activity, etc - hence the image...
...this morning when I went scanning I could see and hear gulls down island, much more activity than I had seen this year...yesterday in the mid-afternoon I heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones one little squeak...immediately I went into orca-mode (whatever that is!) but didn't hear anything else the rest of the day...
...well, L Pod whales were seen off the lower west side in the early morning this morning (so I wonder if the hydrophones had picked them up briefly from a great distance-will never know)...and then J Pod whales were spotted in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, coming in, but they would take a while to get to the west side of the island...
...in the morning there were only a few L Pod whales who started coming up island...some of the L4s - Nugget L-55, Lapis L-103, Lazuli L-123, Surprise L-86...here's a few of them...

...a couple hours later J Pod entered Haro Strait and their calls could be heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...and of course, the L Pod whales could hear them too...there was no rush toward one another...some of the J Pod whales soon began angling toward the west side and the lighthouse...and here's who arrived first and 7 minutes ahead of any of the others...

...behind Shachi were some moms and their little ones...and it was a riot trying to figure out who was who - bright, glaring sunshine didn't help either...
Kiki J-53, Scarlet J-50, Sonic J-52, and their moms plus a few others were moving about so erratically you might have thought there were 4 or 5 little guys!...but there weren't...tried finding Eclipse J-41 and Nova J-51...saw them later in the day but not in this moms/kids early up island group...
...and soon they turned and went back down island...Shachi did too.  I remember seeing this occurring with Granny sometimes too (I called it flexibility as a leader!)...
...Soundwatch was out there heading off private boats before they got into the whales...thanks Soundwatch!  You don't get the kudos you deserve for all the hard work you do for the whales.

...soon the whales came back up island and socialized along Land Bank and Lime Kiln Pt. State Park...It is the first time since September 2016 that these J and L groups have been together in these waters!
...it was so busy with whales you didn't know which way to look next...they were definitely into socializing big time!


...they 'stayed and played' for a good while and then went back down island again...yes, again...
...and when they came back up Js and the Ls were all mixed together....it was now after 4pm and this time they would continue up island...the tide had changed to a flood and some of the whales just went with the flow, allowing the current to carry them along...others zoomed on by...


 ...as the last of the whales were going north I noticed the gulls...
...all the family groups of J Pod were present plus Onyx L-87 and the L Pod whales who were present were the L26s, L72s, L4s, and L47s...of the Ls I didn't see everyone of them but some members of each of the families...

...they looked very energetic, more interested in social time than foraging time...though what orca would pass up Chinook salmon if they saw some!

...they went north in the evening, perhaps to the Fraser River maybe to feast or to check it out...they'll be back down...just when is what we want to know...
...always on the lookout...even in my sleep!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7-19-17 L Pod Whales Yesterday

this post is about Tuesday, July 18th
...here's more about the day full of L Pod whales along the west side of San Juan Island...
...they had been coming in through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, all day long...not sure if they would make it all the way in and across...had last seen them at almost dark on July 17th...
...so early in the morning on the 18th they were down island off False Bay area, spread out and foraging...after a while a few began slowly coming up island...
...Racer L-72, Fluke L-105, Kasatka L-82, Finn L-116, plus Nugget L-55 and one other were slowly going up island...but it was several hours before a small group made it almost up to the lighthouse...

...then turned and went back down island with the 'pooch in hot pursuit' (joking!)

...throughout the rest of the afternoon the whales were spread out...a few were up island along the Hannah Heights section...most were down off False Bay or South Beach...and at least one was way off shore...
...similar to the pooch...another unusual sighting...
...the mother and calf were Muncher L-91 and Magic L-122...they had gone up and were going back down island at that time...
...now it's three hours later - 7pm...and Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110

...behind Muncher L-47 and Mystic L-115 were Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110...they stopped to forage and spent about 10 minutes chasing salmon...
watching them as they worked together was fascinating...
...these two moved on north and it was apparent that others were coming north...this time it looked like all of them - The L26s, L72s, L55s, L86s, and L47s for a total of 19.  
...they were really vocal when they passed the lighthouse and loud too and appeared to be in a very social mood...

...yes, the waters of the west side had come alive...even Rhinoceros auklets had lots to eat...
...the whales didn't go very far and turned and came back down island giving those on shore the opportunity for some wonderful sunset images while watching some very active orcas...
...after dark I heard them over the Lime Kiln hydrophones from about 9:50pm, for about 20 minutes...their calls were very faint...
...by this morning, July 19, it appeared they had headed back out to sea...

...we wait again and we watch the bird activity, the fish activity and the life changes in the waters along the west side...for they may give a clue as to when the next group of Southern Residents comes in...