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Monday, April 15, 2013

4-15-13 The T123s and Their Hunting Technique

Monday, April 15th
...yesterday (Sunday) we had a brief encounter with the T123s...T123A has grown a lot since the last time I saw him, and it's been a while...and last year there was a new baby in this group T123C, so I got my first look at this little one T123C...
...they were in the Strait of Georgia and zigging and zagging...

...today (Monday) they showed up again...and their behavior was totally different...they were in Trincomali Channel heading north...no zigging and zagging today and no long dives like yesterday...

...T123A had been tagged a few years ago - I don't know where or when - but I noticed he appears to still have a piece of 'something' sticking out of the tag area...if I could see the 'bump' from a really far distance (Sunday)...
...I wondered what it would look like closer (Monday)...
...it looks like there may still be a piece of something in there (the white spot) and there is another bump below that, but no white spot on it... 
...the whales took us where I'd never been before... - all the way to the northwest point off of Salt Spring Island...
...and when they got there they rounded the corner...
...there they stopped and began hunting...the whales were very interesting, and with just three present it made it easy to see what was going on, that is except for the details as to what was occurring under the surface...the calf would be at the surface with either-
big brother...
or mom...
...the duration of the time mom T123 or oldest offspring T123A was under the surface was about three to four minutes...at that same time the other one was visible with the calf and they were making short dives..then the two would dive and next time on the surface was the other one - T123 or T123A and the calf would be with that one...
...they alternated like this for quite a while...whether they were holding the seal down or trying to find it we couldn't be sure, but after quite a while the seal did surface and the male was right behind him - of course I missed that shot...
...then the harbor seal popped up again...it was on the surface for a brief time then dove...the whales continued their alternating long dives, which made us think that they were trying to find it, especially because we didn't see it again...

...T123C was right in the mix of it...
...with mom (above) and big brother (below)...
...when we left they were still after the seal...maybe that seal had some good hiding places...
...I imagine this hunting technique occurs with larger groups, but it's more difficult to keep track of who's where...having just the 3 whales during this encounter was very educational...for me and probably for that little calf too!

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