Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Saturday, April 27, 2013

4-27-13 Was Today's Lesson 'The Use of Your Tail' ?

Saturday, April 27th
What a wild day it was!

...from 11:15a.m. until I left for the boat I heard intermittent transient calls on the Orca Sound hydrophones...but couldn't locate them...the rain and choppy seas didn't help...just as we were about to leave the dock on Maya's Westside Charters, a boat located the whales in Haro Strait a few miles offshore...we didn't have far to go...
...they had just started an attack on a Steller sea lion...I had always wondered if moms and kids, with no adult males, would go after a Steller...today I got my answer...as we were arriving on scene one of the little kids 'was practicing'??...
...the action was stunning...the intensity of their attack mesmerizing...how this group used their tails in the attack was something I hadn't seen to this degree before...

...they stayed on the Steller more intently than when I've seen a group that had more adult males and not so many little kids...I wonder if the extensive use of their tails thwacking the sea lion was just the way this group did things or 'today's lesson was on the use of your tail' or that's where the most strength would be because of the lack of larger more experienced whales in this group...there were times they were all engaged in the attack and other times the littlest kids would be off from where the Steller was, but they were so rambunctious we wondered if there was another Steller...

...the moms were not necessarily paired with their offspring...they were all teaching/helping one another...T36A1 going toward the Steller who was making a splash like the whales were!

...seconds later another whale surfaces about to thwack the Steller...
...three adult females and two young males were the main players...T49A2 was lying at the surface at an angle...looks like his other eye was at the surface...he must have been watching what was going on...see the sea lion on his far side...
...his left eye was so very wide open - with a 'blank look'...
...was his left eye not being 'used' for looking but his right eye was completely engaged in the attack?(I have no idea)...just after T65A2 dove T65A surfaced...


...that is her tail moving from left to right about to thwack at the Steller...

..the end was near now...three whale tails at the surface...we knew the Steller was under there...
...

...when they finished 'preparing' their food T65A2 was off by himself for a while and then joined up with the 3 moms -T65A, T49B, T36A...T49A2 and T65A3 were together and sometimes mixed in with the other kids - T65A4, T49B2, T36A1 and T36A2 were together - the 'kids table' !
...this image from a bit later..that's a bonaparte's gull in front of that tail.

...amazing, simply amazing...
...will post video on next post...


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