Do Not Copy

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1-26-10 Ruffles J-1 Event - Part 1



Tuesday, January 26th 
Part 1
...it began with a strange sounding call...at first I thought it was something squeaking on a ship that was passing by...then I realized the ship had gone and the sound was still happening...I didn't get a chance to record so if you want to hear the recording Scott made go to the Orca Sound Limekiln page...
Archived sounds from Lime Kiln...in the grey box below that, scroll down until you see:
100126-1235-1311 003615 lk repeated....click on that.

...off I went to the park (of course) to look...I almost gave up, when there he was!...Coming from the north...a few miles offshore...looking from the lighthouse toward Kelp Reef marker, he was just to the south side of it and a few miles away...who was it?...

...it looked like Ruffles...I looked at my pictures on my camera, but I hate to ID someone from that far away using my camera...He was traveling in a methodical manner, a few surfacings and then a longer dive...traveling in a 'straight line' down island, a couple miles from shore...unfortunately I had no access to the hydrophones so I didn't know if he was making these calls or if there were other whales in the area...so I kept scanning...

I talked to Beam Reach/hydrophone Scott and we pretty much concluded that this was the whale making the call...based on Scott hearing the calls (volume) and my seeing the whale (location)...he also let me know that others had heard some other calls that were very faint...whew! the rest of J Pod must have been around somewhere...Dave, from the Center for Whale Research, told me that he has seen them do this in the past...most of the pod would go close in along the east side of Vancouver Island... that might explain it...
...anyway...I could still see Ruffles traveling down island, then after another 20 minutes or so, and, deciding there was no one coming from the north (for at least 15 minutes) I would go south and look and then come back...I couldn't find Ruffles anywhere...I went to County Park and scanned to the north...it was a flat calm day - thank goodness - and I could see up to Henry Island and across Haro Strait but no more whales...so, when all else fails go to the park and wait...

...two more hours of scanning and no whales in sight...
what was the most bothersome to me was the sound of the call I had heard before leaving home...it was a very unusual call, not one that I associate with J Pod...but I'm no expert...and maybe it seemed unusual because it was the only call I was hearing...
...then later I got word from Scott who forwarded info from John Ford: "I've often heard whales that are traveling apart from the rest of the group repeat a single call over a long period in a similar fashion, though mostly just in the northern residents. This kind of repetitive calling is usually associated with high excitement levels."
Thanks Scott and John...that's pretty interesting...

...will J Pod be heard on the Pt. Townsend hydrophones tonight? ...will they show up on the Lime Kiln hydrophones?...or maybe they are going out the Strait of Juan de Fuca...

...I surely hope someone spots the rest of the pod, so we can all sleep well.


 

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