Friday, March 23, 2012

3-23-12 Rhinoceros Auklets As Training Tools!


Friday, March 23rd
...Capt. Jim had gotten a call about 10:30 and since he was already in town...go take a look...and then he spotted them from shore, in town!...the whales were heading up island - yes!...that would be perfect......out on Maya's Westside Charters at about noon, we head over to San Juan Channel to see some transient orcas...

...Ivan and Chris on the Western Explorer were with the whales and were telling us of some amazing vocals...
...Capt. Jim put in his hydrophones...here's some of what I recorded...

video

...at 3 1/2 minutes there are a couple bang sounds, you can hear Capt. Jim say, "what's that?" (a pile driver)
...it was the T2Cs...mom, her sprouting son, a 7 year old, and the baby, who was seen for the first time last Sept....they were eating on a harbor seal...
..some of that backward surfacing went on...

...with no hands they really have to help each other when they eat...really....and with sunshine there was some interesting shadow action......Capt. Jim and I must have clicked our cameras at the exact same time, cause he has this one too...maybe all the others on the boat did too!
...they seemed to have finished their meal and... 
...then they hung out on the surface, maybe having a discussion...
...the humans were having a discussion too:
"maybe they are talking about how good their food was"
or
"maybe they are talking about how they could execute their attack better next time"

...however, we only had to wait a few minutes and could have added:

"maybe they were talking about giving the baby a try"

Rhinoceros Auklets Beware!
You may be used for training purposes!

..the whales went after something...at first we thought it might be another seal...but then we saw a bird in the middle of the froth...they were actually after a Rhinoceros auklet!
...they injured/stunned it enough that it couldn't fly very far nor get much above the surface, but kept trying...and why we thought it was 'school time' is that first mom T2C and the baby T2C3 went ahead of the other two kids after the auklet...but they didn't stay after the auklet (auklet #1) very long...they turned and continued up island...with several spyhops and fun stuff...
...it was only a few minutes later when it seemed that once again they were after something and this time we could see ANOTHER auklet...T2C2 and the baby and auklet...

 ...auklet #2 is still trying to get away...ahead of the froth from the whales...
 

...and then...and then...we didn't know someone had been watching us
- an EAGLE!...maybe what the baby learned from this lesson was: don't play with food too long or someone might take it!
Here's the video clip Capt. Jim got with his IPhone...
video

...it's just too funny!