Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Monday, March 31, 2014

3-31-14 Here's How The Transient Orcas Get Their Food

Monday, March 31st
...we went for it...on Maya's Westside Charters...to a large group of Trainsients (Bigg's) killer whales...up to the north...it was chancy...however...
Simon of Ocean Ecoventures had stayed with them and then had to leave (oh, he'd be back), so it might be up to us...
...we headed up to Trincomali Channel...Capt. David spotted the whales at the top end of Thetis Island...and there they stayed for the next very long while...



...it is best seen on the YouTube video clip...the clip is from the first part of their encounter...it looked like it was a training session for the kids which would end up with a reward...
...then they ate and played...




...T86A and T124, both matriarchs of their families were moving about together...

...T87 would surfaced all around, from being on the outskirts to passing through the middle of some of the groups...

...he has no immediate living family members so he will show up traveling with different groups...we did see him earlier in the month with a new wound... link to that post...a better image of his wound...

...notches from this wound appear visible from his other side...

...there was another 'new to me' baby!...based on its size I imagine this calf is maybe 6 months old and may have been seen sometime during the late fall or winter months...and a juvenile who I didn't think belonged to any of these family groups, but he/she does...mystery solved...will post about those kids in my next post...
...the gulls began to get active and all of a sudden they were around our boat, the whales weren't - just the birds...as if we were a fishing boat...then we saw them picking up bits and pieces off the surface...
...the whales were getting into travel mode and began moving off to the north...and with one last image of a most beautiful day with magnificent whales...those are snow covered Canadian mountains in the distance!

Thank you whales!

Friday, March 28, 2014

3-28-14 Amazing Pacific White Sided Dolphin Video!

Friday, March 28th
...here's another video clip of the Pacific white sided dolphins from yesterday...
'Dive in'...you might feel like you are right in the water with them!
It was filmed from the Western Prince by Chris Teren...look at the inset image to see the pole raised up high...some of the above was filmed from the bow and some by those two 'crazy people' (friends of mine) way up on the top! Now watch the video for what the camera saw - it's absolutely amazing to watch as the Lags just 'get in place' and let the boat 'do the work'!


...and now hear what the Pacific white sides sounded like when they passed by Lime Kiln lighthouse earlier on Thursday...
video
...then at 10:37 pm (Friday night) I heard some transient calls...intermittent and faint, but present...
video
...and the season is just getting started...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

3-27-14 Pacific White Sides and Baby Killer Whales Too!

Thursday, March 27th
...sun shining and the water 'standing still'...I just had to go down to the park and do a bit of scanning...if there was something out there surely I would see it on a morning like this...it was about 10:30...offshore and off in the distance to the south of where I was I saw what I thought were Dall's porpoise...they were all over the place and zipping this way and that...
...I kept scanning for what else I might find...
...several minutes later I could see that those 'Dall's' were no longer visible...and then I looked close in...they were moving fast and heading toward the west side of the island...and then I saw some leaping - those weren't Dall's those were Pacific white sided dolphins!
...they went out of my view, so I drove down island...and when I spotted them next, they were heading, at speed, up island...I followed them...they kept up a steady pace...
...they came past the lighthouse, all less than a 1/4 mile from shore...

...I never thought I would see about 100 Pacific white sides (aka Lags) this close to shore...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters for an afternoon trip, hoping the Lags would still be in the area...they were!
...I have only seen a large group three other times and each encounter has been different...today the slow motion was amazing...we were moving extremely slowly and some of them were too, allowing for some of the best images I've ever gotten...
...Western Prince was out there and they had a GoPro camera under the surface and lifted up and then back down...really interesting...check out this YouTube video...
...and here's another viewing perspective of the Lags...a video clip from the Peregrine...
video

...we left the Lags and went to East Pt to see the Steller sea lions...today there was a California sea lion hauled out with them...
...we got word that some Transients had come down through one of the passes and were in Trincomali Channel coming down...
...as we arrived on scene we could see three groups...
...these two boys traveling together...last year T65A2 had us all wondering...
...then a mom and baby and two others...here's three of them...the fourth was T65A3...
...and then there was another group and there was a baby in that group too!
...this is T65A's fifth offspring...and might have already been seen by the researchers up north...it's the first time I've seen this baby in these waters...
...there was evidently another group not too far from us, but they had taken a different route...no telling where they may all be tomorrow...

Monday, March 24, 2014

3-24-14 Just About Everything Including Elusive Whales

Over the last few days...
...a brief sighting of the T30s on March 22nd by Capt. David on the Peregrine...
...two groups of Ts were spotted late in the day on the 23rd...
...some Dall's porpoise encounters - which are always great...
...seals, seals, and more seals...
...and some not so common things...
Coming in for a landing.
Not sure I really want to eat this.

Half mile off shore and a good time for a snooze.

Is this a bungee cord?

...No, it's octopus!
...Brant geese...they pass through here in the spring...in the last couple days we have seen lots...
...a large flock of low flying birds...
...the white necklace is one clue...
...here's one link about the Brant life cycle...provided by the Brant Wildlife Festival website...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

3-20-14 Could I Believe My Eyes, Or Not?

Thursday, March 20th
...today was about our journey to find a whale...
...ahhh, the first day of spring...the sun shining, the seas flat calm...I better scan...stepping out onto the porch...scan to the south across Haro...then back again...one more time-wait! what was that?! A blow...and then more! I could hardly believe my eyes!  I had seen 4 or 5 blows at the same time - like wow!
...over the next 1 1/2 hours I scanned and scanned, drove down island and scanned again, but nothing...oh, no! maybe I couldn't believe my eye...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters for a mid afternoon trip...out of the harbor with Spencer at the helm, he spotted some Dall's porpoise riding the bow of a deep sea that was heading south...earlier in the day I had seen many groups of Dall's off from Lime Kiln lighthouse...so we headed toward the deep sea and figured we'd find some Dall's on our way...
...we stopped at Kelp Reef for some Steller sea lions...
...and a bald eagle...
...and then we got word that one of the Prince of Whales boats out of Victoria had see one adult male killer whale heading our way!...so we headed that way - down island -...Spencer spotted the whale and then I saw two more blows off to the west...and then nothing...
...we all scanned we went west, south, back to along the west side of the island and up past the lighthouse...nothing...the other boat...nothing...

...we headed up island to Spieden Channel to see the animals on Spieden Island...one new lamb, an eagle sitting on the rocks at the shore line having just finished a meal...lots of Steller sea lions hauled out at Green Pt. ..branded sea lion, 16Y, was hauled out there again...

...on our way back to the harbor Spencer decided to take the outside down Henry Island...I think we were hoping that those whales would show up, but really doubted they would...
...and lucky for us Prince of Whales (thank you very much!) had a second trip in the afternoon and they picked up that male killer whale!  And we got to see him!
...T87...we saw him up ahead briefly twice...then he was gone again...for several minutes and when he surfaced he was past us...
...we could see why he had been so difficult to locate...he kept changing directions...
...he showed up with a fresh wound on his dorsal fin...which I didn't even notice until I was looking at my images...
...hardly noticeable from a distance...

...upon closer view...
...it's look like a fresh wound...
...hang in there ole' T87!
...maybe tomorrow we'll find the other blows that I saw this morning!

...and now I can believe my eyes!


 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3-18-14 Interspecies Interaction Today!

Tuesday, March 18th
...I'm sure this is not uncommon in many places, but it is highly unusual for this time of year in these waters - an adult male Steller sea lion in the middle of the Pacific white sided dolphins...


...after hearing the Pacific white sided dolphins until 2 a.m. this morning I wondered where they might be when it was time to go out on Maya's Westside Charters...
...but I never thought they would be in just about the same place as they were yesterday afternoon...if you didn't know they were there you might drive right by them...

...they moved about in very large circles - sometimes up to a couple miles and other times a few hundred yards...
...we noticed at different times what looked to be dorsal fin slaps, which seemed like it was playful...
...then another time what looked like a dorsal fin slap actually seemed to be a strong tail slap (toward the end of the video)...they were in a large group, moving quickly and one dolphin repeatedly did this...we wondered if it was some kind of signal or had to do with herding fish...
...some came to the boat and rode the bow and looked up at us...and several times there were 8 to 10 dolphins at the bow...amazing stuff...they were watching us!
...the larger group was off in the distance with lots of moms and kids...sometimes there were pairs, some looking young, who rode along side the boat, but they didn't appear to ride the bow as some did...the younger ones are most likely 'in training'...
...a deep sea ship was coming down Haro Strait...the dolphins began to leave us and head for the ship...even the large group picked up their pace and headed for that fast moving deep sea...some leaping in the bow wave off that deep sea (also on the video clip)...

...after the ship passed on by the dolphins came back...
...that's when a Steller sea lion surfaced...he was was probably just out for an afternoon meal and on his way back to his Spieden Island 'hang out' he got bombarded by these dolphins!...he kept surfacing in the middle of them and ...at first he seemed irritated at the dolphins, he looked like he was trying to get around them but then he didn't move on and instead seemed to be partaking of their prey as well, because he kept surfacing in the middle of them or right next to them, changing direction with them!
...enjoy this clip of a truly amazing encounter...
video
...for two days these Pacific white sided dolphins have been in the same place...lots of food...



3-17-14 Pacific White Sided Dolphins Are Here!

Monday, March 17th

...I got word that Pacific white sided dolphins were in the area...it wasn't until later in the afternoon that they came closer to where I might be able to hear them on the Orca Sound or the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
...and it wasn't until about 7:50 on OS Hps pm (NOT 9:15 like it says on the clip- oops) it was 9:15 that I started hearing them on LK Hps...and then back on the OS Hps...
...here's a short clip of what I heard.. 
video


...it's not common for them to be in this area at this time of year...must be some food they like!
...Pacific white sided dolphins were seen to the north in the last few days...article from CBCNews.ca
Dolphins, orcas delight watchers in Vancouver, Squamish.  Interesting read...
...since I last heard them on the OS HPs at 2 a.m....just maybe they are still in the area and maybe whales will show up too...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

3-13-14 That's No Dall's Porpoise That's a Killer Whale!

Thursday, March 13th
...before leaving for a trip on Maya's Westside Charters I did some scanning...I picked up some Dall's porpoise down island from me, basically in the same location as yesterday...
...so we headed in that direction...but NO porpoise did we see when we stopped to scan...down island a bit more, scan again...as we were moving along we saw a harbor seal...nothing too unusual...we continued on...and then all of a sudden surfacing in front of us......wow! what a surprise!
...they were taking 6 minute dives...
...it appeared they may have made a kill...after a bit they began to move up island...
...it was the T49As...

...the 5th member of this family is T49A2, a juvenile, has been spending most of his/her time with auntie T49B and her kids...we saw T49A2 in December with all the T49As and Bs...but now once again that one is not present...so I'm assuming he/she is with the T49Bs...
...here's an up close of the crinkly fin of the baby...



...they continued up island at a leisurely pace...making another kill or maybe eating something they had taken along with them...
...pay attention harbor seals
and sea lions
...the Ts appear to be back in the area!

...maybe that's why the Dall's porpoise disappeared...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3-12-14 Signs of Spring and Then Some

Tuesday/Wednesday, March 11th and 12th
...from a visual standpoint the last few days have seemed a lot like spring...
...our first lamb of the season on Spieden Island...
...a bald eagle in the nest...

...when the Steller sea lions leave the area, well that's a sign of summer... often we see 183R but this time it was 16Y hauled out at Green Pt...
...and Dall's porpoise...they aren't a sign of spring, but it's a great treat to see them as we did...
video
...no killer whales today...that is until word came in late in the day...the T60s and a few others - from what I heard - were north of of here...I wonder if they or the Dall's will be around tomorrow...

Friday, March 7, 2014

3-7-14 Snack and Travel

Friday, March 7th
...talking on the phone...looking out the window and down Haro..."wait, hold on"...drop the phone, grab the binos..."I've got blows! gotta go!"
...it is always exciting, I can't help it!...I figured it was transients because the hydrophones at Lime Kiln had been completely quiet...and then when I saw that big dorsal fin with a very big lean to the left, I knew who was here...
...it was the T18s (they are called) - T18, T19, T19B and T19C...
...a little while later out on Maya's Westside Charters...
...T19B and his mom T19 along Henry Island...

 ...they moved out into Haro Strait...the other day I was hoping for snow and whales...well, here it was today...
..the two short fins belong to T18 and T19...the fin on the right belongs to T19B's little brother, T19C...
...when I first spotted them from shore in the morning they were making a kill and since it was quick it was probably a harbor seal...they made a few more kills as they moved up island slowly...then nothing for a while...
...at Turn Pt. they zigged and zagged...first heading up Boundary Pass...then the other direction...


...they ended up in the middle...
...it was snack time again...
...
...and the next stop?...probably somewhere not far from Java Rocks...

...here's a glimpse of the T18s, and especially T19B - his presence is HUGE!
video
...the T18s make frequent appearances in these waters...until next time...thanks whales!