Sunday, March 31, 2013

3-31-13 Someone Needed a Whale Hug Today...

Sunday, March 31st
...I have a friend who really needed to see whales today...but as the day started there was no word on whales...I told him that he was going to have whales on the waterfront this afternoon...but I only said that to give him a bit of hope for the day...
...by noon two whales had been spotted west of Victoria heading west...but that was it...a while later they changed direction and began heading east...so off we went to see the 2 transients...
...as we were arriving on scene we heard that the two whales might have disappeared...a few minutes later a large group of whales was spotted!!...
...and they were coming our way...
...they actually passed by Victoria!
...what a group and what a whale hug!  T99 and two of her kids T99B and T99C...all the T36s which includes grandma T36, her two female offspring T36A and T36B and all their kids, T36A1, T36A2, T36B1 and T36B2, and T65, T65B and T65B1...
...AND with all these females and kids was Chainsaw T-63!

...14 whales...heading for Haro Strait...

...and this doesn't even include the 2 males that were spotted again...passing the waterfront (my friend got 2 whale hugs today!)...
...these two males T49C and T124C were a few miles behind the larger group and seemed to be traveling in the same direction...
..whether they caught up to the others or the others dispersed into smaller groups I don't know...no whales were spotted until late Monday...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

3-30-13 Whales in the Night and Then All Day!

Saturday, March 30th

...there were transient calls at 4:25 this morning...there were a few unusual sounding calls mixed in...one that I call a chirping bird call...I only heard it once this morning, but it's a call I'm used to hearing the Residents make and not the Ts...so I'll be going back through some of my Transient recordings to see if I can locate that call...
video

...it was late morning when Ts were seen up in Swanson Channel...at first it was reported that it was Capt. Hook and friends...but then when someone arrived on scene they only saw the T18s which includes T19B - aka Mr. Floppy Fin...
...ah-ha!...Capt. Hook and friends had moved off to the north...maybe they were having their own meal...because the T18s took a Steller sea lion...


... at one point  Capt. Hook and...came back to where the T18s were chomping down...but they didn't stay, instead they moved back north again...
...when the T18s finished their meal they began moving north and both groups of whales came together heading for Active Pass...
...it was wild - first a BC Ferry coming out of the Pass and then standing waves coming out of the Pass toward us! - yikes!!...and the whales were going into the Pass...
video


...on the other side of the Pass when they first surfaced it appeared they were still together because little T86A3 was traveling with one of the T18s...
...but then on their next surfacing sequence it was only the T18s...

...Capt. Hook and friends (T86s and T124A1) had split off...they were all traveling northwest...some along the shore line and the others out in the middle...
...it was time for us to turn and head for the harbor...

Friday, March 29, 2013

3-29-13 Well Hello Capt. Hook!

Friday, March 29th
...Capt. Hook is in town!...and with him are the T86As and T124A1...

...we saw them in Active Pass going north...they stopped and for a quick snack...must have been a harbor seal because it was really quick...

..even an eagle got a piece of it...
...as the whales moved north in the Strait of Georgia they passed up some porpoise, a harbor seal, and then a Steller sea lion...it wasn't long before another Steller sea lion came past us going the opposite direction and right behind him were the whales!



video


...the attack didn't last long but they seemed to do a lot of damage to the Steller because, even though the whales would move far off from him, he continued to thrash around in the water...the whales would come back every once in a while and a lunge or two would occur...
...it was as if they were waiting for the Steller to exhaust himself, making the job of finishing him off easier...killer whales are very smart...
  ...there were three Stellers who seemed to be watching from the distance...
...they approached Steller who was the 'target' but didn't intermingle...and the whales didn't seem to interact with the three Stellers...

...I imagine the Steller became a meal after a while, but we had to leave, so we'll never know for sure...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3-28-13 Harbor Porpoise Rescue in Saanich Inlet

Thursday, March 28th
...with the seas completely flat this morning you might think it was the middle of summer...but it's not and it's not as likely that I'd see whales today because it's still March...
...but then I got to remembering 2005...it was about a month later than March...late in the day - 5pm about...
...I was sitting on the shore at the lighthouse...some harbor porpoise surfaced really close to shore...a few moments later some Dall's porpoise did the same...they were going up island and they were maybe 20' from the rocks...unusual...then a Steller sea lion surfaced going up island too and right along the shore too!...

...I was so excited seeing porpoises and the sea lion I didn't even notice the WHALES !  - yes !! right behind them was J pod!...that was their 'entrance' for the season back in 2005.
...funny thing is that no one had seen whales at any time during the day that day...the whales just 'all of a sudden' appeared.

...knowing that now, I can never take for granted that they won't show up 'unannounced'...

I mentioned harbor porpoise...there was one found beached in Saanich Inlet on Tuesday...it was rescued and taken to the Vancouver Aquarium...here are a couple links. 
from the Times Colonist - Harbor Porpoise Rescue
and from the Vancouver Sun - Photos Vancouver Aquarium
One potential piece to the story is that on the day before the harbor porpoise was found 4 transients - Chainsaw T-63 and T-65, T-65B and her baby T-65B1 - were seen entering Saanich Inlet late in the day, close to 6pm. (that's from a friend in Canada who was on the water with them - lucky guy!!)...
 

 

Monday, March 25, 2013

3-25-13 Closer Than Alaska!

Monday, March 25th

...middle of the night...a sound woke me up...well, what do you know - it's whales!
...it seems like it has been so long since I'd heard any on the hydrophones I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever hear any again :)

...transients...on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...lasting less than 3 minutes...here's a clip...
video

...maybe they will still be around today...it's been several hours since they passed by here...

The title of this post 'Closer Than Alaska' refers to the previous post

Saturday, March 23, 2013

3-23-13 North To Alaska!

Since I can't seem to locate any whales around here...
...how about a momentary visit to Juneau, Alaska and some killer whales...

here's the link:  http://juneauempire.com/local/2013-03-22/photos-orcas-among-us#.UU50sTc1CSo

...thanks Christina for sending this!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

3-18-13 Bald Eagles

Monday March 18th
...the last couple days out with Capt. Jim on Maya's Westside Charters, the weather has been wonderful and bald eagles in abundance...

...yep, that's the moon...

...the white headed one looks to be an adult...but check out the tail feathers above...maybe not quite??
...over on Spieden Island...
...above-fully white head and still darkened tail feathers...
...below-no question on the age range of this one...
...and the Peregrine falcon...actually the mate was not far away...
so, where are the whales?...answer the question of where's the most salmon at the moment and most likely that's where the whales are... 
...and as for the transient killer whales - well they could be anywhere!

Friday, March 15, 2013

3-15-13 Spring Is In the Air

Friday, March 15th
...a foggy morning turned out to be a beautiful afternoon...a great day to be out on the water looking for whatever we might see...
...out of Snug Harbor with Capt. Jim and passengers this afternoon...no whales were seen today but the activity on Spieden Island definitely put spring in the air... 
...juvenile bald eagles looked very similar to golden eagles...and today Spieden Island is all green!

...I read on the American Eagle Foundation site that the flight feathers on a juvenile protrude along the back edge...
...and because of those flight feathers the juveniles look larger than the adults...
...this eagle, who appeared to be an adult by the white head, let us know it wasn't when it flew off...

...the black edged tail feathers show that it is most likely in it's fourth year - according to what I read, and not yet fully adult...

...Steller sea lions were zoning out at East Pt. this afternoon...what a great look!

...lots of animals in view on Spieden...we were looking for lambs...baby lambs...they should be 'hitting the ground by now'...and then finally - !

...and I received an email from Theresa telling me that the Cornell University Red Tail Hawk cam is back up...I had checked it a couple weeks ago and it was full of snow...
...it's a great web cam...and at least one egg in the nest...

...spring is definitely on the way, no matter what the weather says!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3-12-13 I Heard...

Tuesday, March 12th
...yes, I heard that Granny was seen a couple days ago, near the Campbell River area, with other members of Group A and Group B...it's been over two months since anyone has seen her and Group A...
...when J pod came through the other night...I thought they had gone north...
...since then there had been a few reports of killer whales up north...but I didn't know of anyone getting any ID pictures...was it J pod or Transients?...
...during the last week the CTV News on Vancouver Island had several news reports of a monstrous (my word) herring run...of course the reports showed massive amounts of herring being caught...
...I bet I knew where the whales were...

...then when I learned that someone had seen a proof of presence image of Granny from March 11th...well, that just made me smile...I haven't seen any J pod whales in a while and it's been since December since I've seen Granny and her group...
...I'm looking forward to seeing Granny and her pod in the not too distant future (of course that could still be weeks or more away)...

...so in the meantime enjoy these images from past years...
 
...there's lots to look forward to...
...I hope this year's salmon season
 is as abundant as the herring run was!...


Sunday, March 3, 2013

3-3-13 The Sweet Sound Of J Pod!

Sunday, March 3rd

No words can describe it...just listen...that's all anyone could do, as it was dark outside...though only a short clip and a very loud part too...their calls lasted for a long, long time, fading off and then reappearing to our ears once again...perhaps they are glad to be back, just like we are glad to hear them again.
video

I heard the whales on both Orca Sound and Lime Kiln hydrophones...
My anticipation for their 'arrival' was filled and now my curiosity kicks in...
...Who came by last night - Group A, Group B, B+, A-, or all of J Pod?
and
...Which way did they end up going?

And the anticipation grows...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

3-2-13 Breaches Can Reveal A Lot

Saturday, March 3rd
...I have this really fun image of a young transient killer whale about to land from a breach...this was taken during 2011...
  ...I also saw there was a distinct mark on the whale...

...and I notice that the whale was a male...
...and that this male killer whale had some very gray areas...

...and of course i then had to figure out just who it was...

...great fun on a stormy March day with no whales swimming by my window!

...oh, I almost forgot to tell you, it's T100B1

Friday, March 1, 2013

3-1-13 Anticipation

Friday, March 1st

...after looking out at the nice calm seas this morning, I decided that today is a good day to begin anticipating the return of the whales...

...so here's a bit of a clip from my files just for that purpose...
video

...the wait may still be quite a while, but right now I have a big smile on my face after watching that...I hope you do too!