Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Saturday, April 27, 2013

4-27-13 Video of the Sea Lion Attack

Video Clips from the encounter...
...see previous post for the details and images...
...this was at the beginning of the attack, everyone was in on the action...
Watch the Tail Action!

...less tail action, more milling...
...the sea lion is in the mix of it all...
...they'd been eating...Capt. Jim drops in the hydrophones to listen...


Thank you whales.

 

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...


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

4-24-13 "Where Are the Whales?" asked the Little Boy

Wednesday, April 24th

...out with Capt. Jim on Maya's Westside Charters...we looked everywhere for whales...none had been seen in a week, though some had been heard in the middle of the night two nights ago...
...the eagles were having a 'sit in'...three of the 4 national wildlife refuge signs looked like this...

...the Steller sea lions were back at Kelp Reef marker and also at Green Pt.  they may be gone by the end of May, so it's always a treat to see them when they are here...
...but no whales...the little boy fell asleep...
...back at the dock, just about to leave - a phone call! Stop! no Go!-back on the boat - a whale has been spotted.
...the little boy was wide awake now - he got to see his first whale.  I think he was happy :)...his mom and dad sure were happy to see their first whale too...
...there was only 1 whale present!...very unusual - what appeared to be a young male, but who?...no nicks on the dorsal fin...a very non-transient looking fin...
...but then I got a glimpse of the saddle patch on the left side..."oh, I think I know who it is!"...I surprised myself...T65A2...
...was 'he' (he or she? don't know for sure) taking his first solo venture?
...we don't know, but everyone was scanning in every direction and no other whales were to be seen...but it doesn't mean that others weren't on the other side of one of those small islands along where he was traveling...
...T65A2 went right past a harbor seal...
...a few minutes later it looked like he might be going after something, but he soon moved along...
...it will be interesting to see if he is with his family the next time we see them...and if he isn't, then we will at least know that he has been seen...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4-23-13 Elephant Seal, Banded Peregrine, Hydrographic Surveying, Calls in the Night

Tuesday, April 23rd
...middle of the night...Transients wake me up...


...about 9:20 I see an elephant seal offshore from Deadman Bay...
...1:30 a trip out with Maya's Westside Charters...not very far out of the harbor we see an elephant seal!...I looked up the tide chart and it was an incoming tide since 9:00am....could very well be the same elephant seal...and this time I got a picture...
...we were looking for those 'midnight Transients'...we saw Dall's porpoise, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, but no killer whales...
...we went to look for one of the Peregrine falcon pairs and located one of the falcons...he/she is banded!!
...the Steller sea lions, some who have been hanging out at Kelp Reef marker were not there today...wonder if it had anything to do with the Transients who came through last night...but there there several groups of Stellers over in Spieden Channel, all who looked very relaxed...
...at the computer at about 6pm there is some tapping that starts up on the hydrophones - not again! ...this occurred a couple days ago....I alerted the hydrophone experts, since I didn't have a clue - related to the hydrophones?? or not??...it appears it may be hydrographic surveying - I guess you could say - mapping of the ocean floor...
...so if you listen in and hear some rhythmic tapping - that might be what it is...it may drive you crazy after a while!...oh, it's going to be a long night - hope some whales show up and break up the ping-pong monotony!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

4-21-13 Just How Does One Get Up On That Ledge?

Sunday, April 21st
...when out on Maya's Westside Charters, at certain times of the year, we have often seen Steller sea lions hauled out on the ledge of the Kelp Reef marker...it's been talked about alot as to how they get up on the ledge...
...well, today we have an answer!
...he had come around to the left side (as we are looking at this) and those already hauled out were letting him know with their guttural roars "not here!" ...seeing what was going on I grabbed my video camera just in time...
...he didn't appear to make a 'run at the ledge'...he just popped straight up on to it!

...and he is branded too.  Looks like - 1 ? Y... ? = possibly a 2, a 3 or a 7...I'll send it in to the branding folks.

...no matter who it is, it was very interesting to see just how he got himself up, out and onto the ledge!

...and as we moved on...
...it's almost like he was admiring himself in a mirror :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4-16-13 They Just Stopped!

Tuesday, April 16th
...the T65As, T49Bs and T49A2, who were here Saturday 4-13, showed up again today, this time traveling through many different passages, among several small islands not far from Morseby Island...
...then they headed toward Boundary Pass...the moms seemed to be up ahead and most of the kids lagging behind...sometimes the kids would porpoise - maybe to catch up?...
...sometimes their lunge was so high their tail would be out of the water as they came down...
...this is not a cartwheel...it's the end of a huge leaping lunge!

...it was funny too that they porpoised toward one of the tall ships that comes out of Victoria and then 'visited' it for a few moments...lots of kids on that ship...hummm...did the whales know?  Ha!


...after all that porpoising they began taking long dives, and at one point the whales surfaced and then stopped...logging at the surface...it lasted less than a minute...

...The T65As, T49B and B2 and T49A2 continued to move along...the other day they were very hungry and took a lot of harbor seals...today they had either eaten early or were going to dine late.

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!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

4-13-13 Facing a Big Obstacle?

Saturday, April 13th

...this about says it all for a lot of harbor seals on Saturday...some very hungry Ts were here...

...at one point an eagle came in after something...but when he came back up from his big swoop to the water he didn't have anything in his talons...then still looking about he flew back to the tree he had come from...
...up at the north end of Waldron Island the whales went after another harbor seal...it got a bit interesting - at least one of the moms was in on this kill, maybe both, but soon 2 or 3 of the kids stayed and worked on this meal, while the others were a good distance away, maybe having a meal in 'peace and quiet' from these wild little guys...maybe the little guys were getting some practice at independence - you know 'fix your own lunch'...
...by now, there were just 2 kids at this 'meal site'...as they were heading back to the other group one of them did this fun looking breach...
...it was the T65As - mom, who I call 'Lumpy' only because that was the only way I could remember her when I was learning them, and her three kids...T65A2, T65A3 and T65A4...
...with them were T49B, T49B2 and T49A2...
...as they moved on they split up...and as Capt. Jim says, "they were like kids in a mall" - everyone going every which way...it was hard to keep track of them...but then...

...this juvenile started porpoising toward the two moms...and soon they were all surfacing together going the opposite direction from where we needed to go...
...there are days of seeing lots of action like today was, and other days when there is no hunting or playing going on...all who saw these whales today got a real treat!
Thanks whales!  Hope the seals were tasty!
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

4-12-13 Whale Trivia and the Word 'Uncle'

This is a re-post from January 2010...with changes that have occurred since then...J-44 was about a year old when I first wrote this.

...he was first seen February 2009, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...
I remember seeing one of the first images of J-44 (Center for Whale Research photo) and this calf's very unique eye patch...a friend commented that it looked like a sperm whale...here is an image I took while out with Capt. Jim in November 2009...in the distance was J-44 and mom...look at the lower front of his eye patch, it does resemble the mouth of a sperm whale...

J-44 didn't get the fan-fare that J-45, J-46 or even J-47 did...yet he too carries distinctions with him...

here are some... 
Whale Trivia Relating to J-44
J-44 is 11 years younger than his closest sibling Tahlequah J-35. As far as I can tell by looking at the Center for Whale Research Official Orca Survey, since the studies began there is only one other sibling pair in the SRKW community who surpasses that time frame. That would be Nugget L-55 and her younger sister Surprise! L-86. They were born 14 years apart. Lobo K-26 and Yoda K-36 are close at 10 years apart and Racer L-72 and Nigel L-95 are also 10 years apart.

J-44 became an uncle at the age of 9 months (J-46 was born to his sister Polaris J-28 in November 2009) and again at the age of about 11 months (J-47 was born to his sister Tahlequah J-35 at the beginning of January 2010).

J-44 is only the 2nd 'uncle' born in J Pod since the studies began in 1976. And the distinction goes to a whale that wasn't even a year old!
The other uncle was Everett J-18 who was born in 1977 and who died in 2000. He was uncle to Rhapsody J-32 who was born in 1996. There is a 32 year span between the two uncles (Everett - born 1977 and Moby J-44 - born 2009). 

How many years until the next J Pod 'uncle' possibility?
When I wrote this in 2010 - Riptide J-30, Mike J-26 and Keet J-33 were possibilities.  Keet died in the summer of 2010 and Riptide in the winter 2011.
And now in 2013 only Mike is the next possible uncle.
If Riptide J-30 had lived, he would have been uncle to baby J-49, Hy'Shqa's first offspring who was born in August 2012.
The word UNCLE really does carry a very big distinction. 

Now expanding it beyond J-44's family group:
With the birth of J-46 and J-47 this subgroup of the J17s are now comprised of three living generations - the ONLY subgroup in J Pod with that distinction. - Not any longer - Since Hy'Shqa J-37 had her first offspring J-49 in summer 2012, Samish's family, the J14s, now has three living generations.

How many years until the next possible 3 generation family in J Pod? 
The following are the only females currently in J Pod who could make that happen (and mom would still need to be living):
-as of April 2013:
Alki J-36 is 13 years old.
Suttles J-40 is currently 8 years old.
Eclipse J-41 is almost 7 1/2 years old.
Echo J-42 is almost 6 years old.
With an average age for first time birth being 14 years...Alki may be next to join the 3 generation distinction list.

...note:  there are a couple uncles in K pod and in L pod, and K pod and L pod each have two living, three-generation families.  The chances for additional three generation families in K pod and/or L pod are less than J pod's because _________....you can fill in the blank.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

4-11-13 People and Whales

From some previous encounters with the whales while out with Capt. Jim on Maya's Westside Charters...Smiles - Expressions of Joy...

 "There's one!" said the little boy on the boat...he was so excited and so cute!
~~~~
...her arms are folded...
...she's getting ready...
...up come her arms...

...higher...
 
...higher...
...ta-da!
~~~~
...I wondered if she was about to jump into the water with the whales!
...he was about as close to the water as one can get...on his paddle board!
...sometimes it's almost as exciting watching the people as it is the whales :)