Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10-29-13 Was That an HB? / KW? / Or...

Tuesday, October 29th
...out on Maya's Westside Charters to see what we might see...there have been humpbacks in the area lately...today one was spotted in Haro Strait near Turn Pt...it was moving in a very large circle...
...as we arrived on scene the whale surfaced and dove again, showing the tail flukes...it was BCY0409!...I had learned from Ivan of the Western Prince, he and some crew had seen this same humpback near Nanimo last Friday!
...a Mt. Baker moment...BUT BCY0409 didn't show flukes!! 

...lots of bald eagles are back...it seems early for so many to be here...but then maybe they are increasing in numbers...speaking of increasing in numbers...maybe now we know why there have been juvenile Steller sea lions showing up in these waters during the last few years...
...their numbers have jumped up so much they have been taken off the Endangered Species List.  
Wish that could happen
for the 
Southern Resident killer whales
some day.
...more Steller sea lions means more salmon getting chomped on...I wonder if they are calculated into whatever formula it is the powers that be use for determining just how many fish can get caught...
...and if so, I'd be really curious as to the calculated number of salmon being eaten by the ever growing number of Harbor seals...
...this 'salmon eater' looks like he/she knows how to save some for later...
...no word on orca...but about an hour after getting home I learn there are whales on the west side...who?...how many?...direction?...the sun was going down quickly...I didn't have much time to spot whales...
...it didn't take long...I saw three whales, close to two miles off shore...but that's all I saw...
...it got dark...at about 6:30 I began hearing Southern Resident Calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...I cropped to get the calls closer together, so you'll hear short pauses when I did that...

...some of those sounds made me think 'humpback?'
...was a killer whale mimicking a humpback whale?
...either that or maybe someone was having a baby!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10-29-13 Making Something Out of Nothing

I was going through images from Saturday...I had some images with lots of splashes...for a moment or two it looked like the Transients were going after something, but then they moved on...
...as I was deleting images I was also looking for signs of a harbor seal or porpoise...what caught my eye were two little dots near the surface...
...with Halloween near...well...here's the 'something out of nothing' creation!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

10-26-13 In Ones and In Twos

Saturday, October 26th
...Transients?  Yeah?  Some I haven't ever seen before - sure!
Out with friends to see some Transients, the T46Bs and T46Cs...after many, many days of fog, fog and more fog, it was wonderful to cross Haro Strait and into the sunshine off Victoria and some Transient killer whales...
...two with notches...
...two with obvious scratch marks...
...one little and one large with hardly any scratches at all...
...there should have been 7 whales present in these two groups, but there were only 6...T46B was not there...we'll see where she shows up next time...meanwhile her two year old was being chaperoned by aunt T46C - oops! - correction:  that's T46C3 who was with mom T46C - I learned from Dave at the Center for Whale Research...thanks for the correction! - we weren't going to stay with them long, because we heard there were humpbacks 'all over the place'...and the Residents were out to the west too!  WOW!...
..as we were heading toward the Sooke area, we could see humpbacks in the distance...most of them much closer to shore...we saw one...a bit farther on there were two together...too far at that point for images...
...Nigel was one of the first Residents we saw...
...off in another direction we saw Mako J-39 and Surprise! L-86...


...here's an example of the HBs in the distance...


...then two humpbacks appeared 'out of nowhere'... one looked like he/she was heading straight for J-27...

...a pause to watch some birds get in on the treats...






...and then there were humpbacks and killer whales passing each other where we were and we heard that there were Transients and humpbacks crossing paths several miles to the east of us...
...DoubleStuf J-34 was giving a pec wave off our port side...
...a humpback doing the same thing on the starboard side!
...one of the humpbacks breached a few times...(missed them both)...then one of the killer whale kids breached...[they were not related but fun to think this one had taken a clue from one of the HBs :) ]


...we saw the Residents...representatives of all three pods, but it wasn't a type of encounter where they could all be accounted for...they were like the humpbacks - one here, two over there...some off in the distance...
..as the sun was getting lower - oh, that fall/winter lighting can be fabulous...
...and home we headed...

...it's Chum salmon time of year...and it looks like the whales are finding plenty of it...going to their usual fall places...
...too bad the Fraser River Spring/Summer Chinook runs continue to decline...will there be any attempt to correct this decline or will the people wait until those runs just collapse completely...
What a sad state of affairs.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10-26-13 Just How Far Can You Hear Their Sounds?

After the nighttime recording a humpback whale in Haro Strait 10-13-13
and
after I found out the next day 10-14-13 that my friends had heard some of those same sounds while out walking their dog,
Scott of Beam Reach sent me a question.

Here's what he said:
re: the humpback
"In AK humpback feeding sounds have broadband source levels of 162 dB (low freq grunts) through 175 (moan) and 180 (blow hole shrieks and trumpet-like blasts) to 192 dB (surface impacts). Did your friends hear all of those (and/or other) types of sounds?"
My friends replied with:
"They heard grunts and moans, and a trumpet-like (elephant-like they said). They did not hear any high pitched sounds. On the audio clip they did not hear the loud trumpet-like sound toward the end of the recording.

re: the SRKWs
That's about the intensity of SRKW calls (155 dB) and NRKW clicks (205 dB) which are often heard in air. At what range would you say one can typically hear SRKW sounds in air, Jeanne?

Well...
I haven't ever watched the whales with that question in mind, so I went back to an early morning video I took of Ks and Ls.

The video clip:
-summer of 2011
-early morning
-flat calm seas
-quiet environment
-from 15 feet above sea level
-from Lime Kiln Pt. State Park
-whales' distance: 3/4 to 1 mile



Sorry it's so shaky...
Little did I know the zooming might come in handy some day.

Sometimes their percussive sounds can be heard for over a mile, and I imagine their blows too.
I now have something else added to my questions whenever I am watching the whales.  Thanks Scott!  It will be interesting to explore this!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10-20-13 It Began With Silence and...

Sunday, October 20th
...the sound of silence woke me up at about 5a.m....nothing broadcasting over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...thought it might be my computer, but not...it appeared they were down...at 7:20 I tried again and they were working - good!...20 minutes later I hear calls!! Resident calls!
...on and off the Lime Kiln hydrophones for quite a while - K pod calls...then quiet again for about 45 minutes...and then J pod calls!
...well, this time there must be some Chum salmon coming in because we had whales and lots of them!
...Granny J-2 was one of the first whales we spotted...and surprisingly Kasatka L-82 and Finn L-116 were right behind her!...that was unusual...but I could see the rest of L82's family in shore, way in the distance...Granny was at least a 1/2 mile off shore if not more...
...the more we looked the more whales we saw - in shore off shore - slowly moving up and down island, foraging, socializing, and all mixed up!
...Sonata and his mom sharing that fish or strategizing?...

...Scoter K-25 was way out there...
...and with that piece of metal still sticking out of him...
...lots of other males...Lobo K-26, Solstice L-89, Tika K-33, Mako J-39, Cappuccino K-21, Onyx L-87 - of course he was by far the farthest offshore...some of the older males appeared to be foraging individually, while some of the younger ones were in some interesting groups mixing social time with eating time!...Mega L-41, Blackberry J-27 and others were mixed in with females and kids... ...Rhapsody J-32 popped up with a group...and then she burst through the surface with a salmon just in front of her...(of course I wasn't quick enough)...a few moments later...I did get her with the salmon's tail!
...I wondered about the brown color, so I looked up Chum salmon and it seemed to match...
...the whales spent all day long making their way up island...passing Lime Kiln Lighthouse...
...but that wasn't to be the only time they passed by the lighthouse on this day......passing outside of Andrews Bay...this image is a great example of distance distortion...from those chairs to that boat it's at least a 1/4 mile!
...Granny was in the lead and it looked like they were continuing up...

...but it wasn't long before they began to go this way and that and soon they were heading over to Canada and down island...
...however a few came back toward the west side...

...and ended with the sounds of their blows...
...but not really because I continued to hear their vocalizing for a few more hours...
I'm glad to know that at least for now they are 
spending time in their waters,
at the time of year they normally do, 
eating the food that they normally eat at this time of year,
 in places they have historically done.

That's how is should be during the spring and summer.
BUT,
No fish - No Residents.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10-16-13 They Were Here, But Were the Salmon?

Wednesday, October 16th
...J pod and Onyx L-87 were on their way inbound in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...
...for several days prior, the purse seiners have been out...I've watched them as often as possible and from what I saw it didn't look like they were having a lot of success - translation:  not much Chum salmon out there (but that's only based on the boats that I saw)...

...out on Maya's Westside Charters, we went out to meet the whales...they were heading toward Trial Island, and it looked like they were heading for the waters of Haro Strait...

...a plane saw the whales and took a quick look...
...a happy passenger!
...on their way...
...Rhasody J-32 has a wound...five teeth scrapes and then, contact!

...they were coming across, still several miles from Lime Kiln Lighthouse!
...they didn't make it to the lighthouse...
...but instead they stayed south and offshore...as I was watching J pod from shore I saw a humpback whale...the humpback was going in circles...in this image the humpback was circling out toward that point...and then back in...
...the killer whales were way off shore...spread out...one male was south and east, by himself, and another way off in another area...there was one group all lined up going against the current...they seemed to be heading south when I last saw them...
...then about four hours later I heard a few calls, quite faint, over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...I figured they were heading back out...but that's just a guess on my part...
 
...a little snippet of the whales from today...
...it's not the time of year to 'expect' to see them, so it's extra special when we do...





Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10-15-13 Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

link to pdf: 

We know that focusing on band-aids has not worked.
The Real Issue has been ignored:
Declining Fraser River Chinook salmon.


Anecdotal evidence hasn't been enough for some.
This document goes beyond that - to the facts.

Thanks to the author for the extensive data gathering 
that resulted in a document that
will show the downward trend,
over an extended period of years,
of the Fraser River Chinook salmon 
and 
the presence of the Southern Resident Community orca.
 

Is it too late to do something about it?

It's never too late!


note:  
I was a contributor to this document 
in the form of my detailed sightings.

Monday, October 14, 2013

10-14-13 More About The Humpback

Monday, October 14th
...let me set the stage for what occurred this afternoon (Monday)...
-friends who live on the west side.
-about 10pm they took dog out one last time on Sunday evening.
-they were walking near the water somewhere between Lime Kiln and Andrews Bay.

...this afternoon (Monday) I saw these friends.
...I told them I had something for them to listen to.
...Without telling them what it was, I began playing the recording clip of the humpback whale from Sunday night (see prior post).

...one of them began to literally freak out, "what is that?!" "what is that?!"...
...the other one chimed in with "that's what we heard!"
...and they both said they were ready to run back inside and lock the doors because the sound was nothing like they have ever heard before and it was spooky sounding. They didn't know what it was! No joke!
 
...Then I told them it was a humpback whale they had heard.


I had been listening to the under surface sounds and they were hearing what was occurring above or possibly near the surface...

It would be so awesome to be able to have both!
Maybe...if there's a next time...
They're now figuring out how to record on their cell phones so if it happens again they'll be ready to record and not run!

This is an amazing place!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

10-13-13 WHAT a Sound in the Night!

Sunday, October 13th
... around 10 pm...something strange coming over the Orca Sound hyrdophones...
...faint...
...not a ship...
...what is it?...


..then several minutes into the listening I hear what sounds like a humpback whale when it blows...what??? (on this clip it's at about 1 minute 25 seconds)
that's strange, but quite exciting!  
...could it be a humpback?  That would be a first time hearing one under the surface - for me - ever!


I recorded the sounds on Orca Sound hydrophones for about 22 minutes. I could hear some of the sounds off Lime Kiln a little while later, but they were very faint.

  ...I sent out the recording to the Center for Whale Research and to Beam Reach...

...will let you know what the verdict is!

Got confirmation from two sources - A Humpback - first time recorded in Haro Strait!!  Too Cool!!! 

Ken Balcomb, of the Center for Whale Research let me know that it was a humpback practicing for the winter song - Wow again!   

Jason from Beam Reach let me know he got confirmation from someone.


Friday, October 11, 2013

10-11-13 Over the Last Several Days


Sunday, October 6th...the same Ts who had been in Haro Strait yesterday showed up again this morning...off of Salmon Bank...as I was driving there I could see a fog bank moving across...would I make it?...barely!
...it was close to 2 hours before the fog lifted...when it did I finally picked up the whales farther offshore but surprisingly enough they we in about the same spot as they had been!...that's because Ivan of the Western Prince was the one who first spotted them from shore with a Steller sea lion in the middle of them...they must have been 'preparing their meal' and then eating it all that time they were in the fog!

...these were T124, T124D, T124E along with the T36As - mom and two kids...interesting thing is that they were last seen the day before way north in Haro Strait heading north...
...well today, it took hours for them to make it up island to Lime Kiln...they surfaced not very far from shore...
...then the next day October 7th, these same Ts were seen coming down San Juan Channel...I last saw them from shore heading down...haven't seen them since!

...on the same day (10/7) I picked up calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones close to 7 a.m....Transient calls only briefly over the next couple of hours...and then close to 10am I heard some quite loud calls - "okay, that's it...I've got to go find them"...the seas were not nice and I was very surprised when I spotted a tall dorsal fin out near Kelp Reef marker...I guessed it was T20 and T21...and got confirmation later when Jeff on one of the Eagle Wing boats out of Victoria confirmed it..."thanks Jeff!"

...back on September 22nd, T20 was seen off the west side with T19B and T19C...the females of these two groups were somewhere up ahead of the males...Carl Safina was at the Center for Whale Research when Ken Balcomb spotted them and called to let me know they were coming..."thanks Ken!"...Carl posted about that morning called Kitchen Killer Whales by Carl Safina...



...out on Maya's Westside Charters on October 9th...we searched for Transients and saw some different things during our searching - a Great Blue Heron sitting in a tree, and a rock formation that one of the passengers pointed out...it looks like an elephant getting a drink of water...
...then we heard someone had spotted two humpbacks...Split Fin and Split Fluke...their nicknames of course...they are regulars in the inland waters...




This morning 10/11 purse seiners were out and they are still here tonight...must be Chum salmon coming in?...
...again today we saw Split Fin and Split Fluke...but no black and whites did we find...



A few days ago J pod, K pod and L pod whales were seen coming in, only to turn around BEFORE they even got to Race Rocks and head back west.
I wonder what they will do the next time?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

10-5-13 Every Day An Adventure!

Saturday, October 5th
...early morning scanning revealed an elephant seal and a large group of porpoise - too far to tell if Dall's or Harbor porpoise...then Ivan of the Western Prince located three killer whales...it was a good start to a day that was going to get pretty wild...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters to see the three Transients, that had now become 6 to 8...it was the T124s - 3 of them and the T36As...settling for 6 whales in the group...they were heading in toward shore and up island...but transients often change direction - and they did...but it was because they were after something...




...an unpaid passenger on this boat...
...the whales didn't stay around, but continued up island...they took at least two more seals (most likely) and continued on their way...
...in the meantime we went off to see some humpbacks, then back to the harbor for passengers...
...as we came out of the harbor the 6 transients were almost upon us and soon moving up past Kellet Bluff and along the shore line (just like the Residents)...
...it was most interesting watching this great blue heron. I've seen them watch the whales go by, but not seen them fly along with them...
...we had two humpbacks in one place and a third humpback in another...

...here's a short clip, some of the transients earlier in the day and then of two humpbacks late in the day...

...what's this?
...here it is October and whale watch boats and private boats are going this way and that, passing each other going to see the groups out there...T20 and T21 showed up in another place...oh, and a nice group of Dall's porpoise. I don't know if anyone got to all the different groups around, but we could see activity in the distance here there and just about everywhere! It was another busy day in Haro Strait!