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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9-30-14 More Food More Energy

Tuesday, September 30th
...off the water for me on Monday...
Monday evening


...Tuesday...of course I was in town and got to the west side asap a bit north of Lime Kiln...in time to see Mike J-26 and Slick J-16 going up island...and then they started to go back down island...so off to Lime Kiln I went...
...that began my confusion of the day...some of the J16s had been seen going up island in the stormy weather yesterday...but they must have split off from the rest of Group A and come back down island in the rain and stormy seas...
...DoubleStuf J-34 foraged for quite a while, along with the rest of his family...they were in no hurry to go anywhere...

...then in the afternoon out on Maya's Westside Charters...we come upon some very playful whales...
...when you have enough food to eat you have more energy...
...and you might just feel like playing a bit more...
 ...Notch J-47 and Star J-46 were goofing around in the kelp at one point...
...the energy level of the whales seemed to be greater today...maybe we were just seeing them at a time of play...maybe it is because they are getting more salmon...whatever it was, they were having a blast!...the J17s and Tsuchi J-31 and Mako J-39 and even Alki J-36 was in on whatever 'game' it looked like they were playing...and all the humans were smiling as we watched these 'people of the sea' having a playful afternoon...
...and just to give you an idea of some of those swells...so difficult to show in a flat image...


...as I was writing this post I began to hear calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones at about 8:00 pm...J pod whales but which ones?
...Granny's Group A Minus (minus the J16s) had gone north yesterday and as far as I know they were not seen today...
...and we were with Group B Plus (plus the J16s) and the K Klik (K-21, K-16 and K35)...
...so who was it?...have to wait until tomorrow to find out...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

9/27-28/14 Fish On the Head and In the Mouth!

Saturday/Sunday, September 27/28th
...two mornings of fog that broke into beautiful sunny days with calm seas, awesome whales who were getting some food!
...one morning the whales woke me up at about 5:15a.m. over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...the other morning it was about 7:00 a.m....it was socked in with fog here so I took off to see if it was foggy at the park - it wasn't!...saw the last of the whales going up island and watched as they came back down into the fog that was now coming up island...out on Maya's Westside Charters at different times each day we either began with fog or ended with it...but in the middle there was lots going on...
BCY0409 in Spieden Channel - that's been a busy place lately...an inverted tail lob by a humpback!...never seen that before...evidently this humpback spent most of the day in that same area..must have been lots of food...


...during the last couple days the whales we saw were going after salmon in a 'big way'...

...this is slow-mo, nothing fancy...it's from images not video...
video
...and then there was notch J-47 and that salmon on his head...
...along side of him...just how big is that salmon????
...about a week ago I posted this...

...Never thought I would see that!...Yes, it looks much better in the mouth of a killer whale!  Look at his eye!!...and his teeth!  
...that's a first for me!
...it was fascinating to watch him...he had just caught the salmon but we weren't aware of that...then we watched as he put it on his head...he left it there for several seconds before moving it off to his side...where you could see his eye - huge I might add - as if he was eyeing his 'prize'...or maybe just savoring it before he opened wide and bit into that salmon!...he ate it at the surface, or at least some of it and then dove...he was down for a couple minutes and when he surfaced he was traveling...on his way...
...over the last several days many people have been witnessing the whales with salmon at the surface - batting them up into the air, or salmon in their mouths...not only are the whales 'glad' we humans are too...
...but it's short lived...but we gotta be glad for what they are getting and for what salmon are making it to their spawning grounds to lay eggs to replenish the future...
...now to get the humans to think about the future for the salmon and and act to replenishment the wild salmon...

Friday, September 26, 2014

9-26-14 They've Been Here and There and Still Around

Catching up on the Rezzies...
...J Pod - all of them were up in the Strait of Georgia...a late in the day trip with Capt. Jim and passengers...at this time of year sometimes the lighting can be quite nice...



...and while we were way up there we learned that some whales were on the west side near Lime Kiln...listening to the Lime Kiln hydrophone recording that night it knew it was K Pod whales...and the report was three or four whales...but who?...I had my ideas but I needed proof of presence...
...early the next morning I saw Opus K-16 and Sonata K-35...I figured Cappuccino K-21 was somewhere nearby but I didn't see him...so after we left the Pacific white sided dolphins (see previous post)...we headed over to where those three whales were...out in the middle somewhere...

...thank you very much K-21!...this time Opus and Sonata were off in the distance...and we had to head for the harbor...these are most likely the whales who were on the west side the day before...

...J pod came down early the next morning and met up with the K Klik somewhere down there...later in the day they all were heading north...I was at the park..there was that humpback - again! - going up and down island...and I tried to get an image of the humpback with a killer whale in the image...no such luck...
...the whales went north...the humpback stayed on the west side...and then late last night the whales came back down from the Fraser River...
...but today, even though the humpback eluded my eyes all day long and the same whales took forever to get up island...I might have gotten the sounds of those two within a few seconds of each other...
...from the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
video

...I don't know about what I heard from the other night's recording...and this is another...was it a humpback?...I think so, but can't be sure...


...lots of excitement of humpbacks, Pacific white sided dolphins, lots of harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, young harbor seals being funny...
...AND with all that excitement please don't forget that the Southern Resident killer whales of J, K and L pods are STRUGGLING to find FOOD - Chinook salmon mainly...
...what will the humans do to help these whales have enough food to eat?
...anything?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9/22-24/14 Going In Circles

Monday, September 22nd
...on the way to the Strait of Georgia to see J pod Capt. Jim spotted a bird zooming around, chasing gulls...what was it?...
...the bird was extraordinarily fast...and could descend and ascend making very tight turns...and the captain was going in circles fast, while I was in the back leaning from one side to the other to try to get pictures of this unknown to us bird!



...that's a first for me...had never even heard of it before...

...the next day we went in circles again, this time with a large number of Pacific white sided dolphins...what a great encounter off the Victoria waterfront...



video


...and over the last several days there have been several humpback whales in the area...
...Split Fin is easy to identify and today this humpback spent a good portion of the day traveling up and down the west side of San Juan Island, mainly in view from Lime Kiln Pt. State Park, up island or down island...
...and going down...it seemed that she too was going in circles...
...that's the longest time I've ever watched a humpback whale!

...early this morning 9-24 I recorded over the Lime Kiln hydrophones what I think was a humpback whale vocalizing in some manner...not a song, but more like grunts and groans...I've sent the recording off to the experts to let me know if I'm totally off base or not...
...here's what I heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones:
video
...next post I'll catch up on the Residents for the last few days...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

9-21-14 Getting To Know You

Sunday, September 22nd
...I went for a scan...they are still here!...not sure who, but I could see a couple whales way down island, foraging...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters...we come upon DoubleStuf J-34 and his mom, Oreo J-22...they were spread a quarter mile...just two whales...we knew there were more, but as we went down island there wasn't a whale in sight!
...then up ahead we saw a few...but where was everyone else?...Moby J-44 and Sonata K-35 were having a great time...
...one of the passengers asked some questions about a male whale's male parts, commonly referred to as a sea snake, and did it hang outside of their body?...so we had a few chuckles at the thought of all the things something that could be up to about five feet long could get hung up on...chuckle, chuckle...so I said something about what does hang out are the pec fins on an orca, not really meaning anything...but two minutes later Moby showed us!
...sometimes all you have to do is think it!

...we heard there was a humpback whale in the vicinity so we saved time to go see it...on our way to see the humpback we heard that the whales who had gone up north last night were coming back down and were coming fast!...
...and we heard that someone spotted a very large group of Pacific white sided dolphins...we'd try to fit that in on the later trip...that is if those dolphins were still in the area...things were getting wild!

...we watch the humpback for a few minutes but I doubt enough info for an idea as to who this humpback is...

...we were soon off to find the whales who were coming down...then we hear that they had already passed by Snug Harbor entrance...we caught up to the J14s...that's the family group that was in 'stealth mode' yesterday...
...so by the afternoon we thought that all the whales were now down south...we come upon a few whales figuring it would be some who had come down earlier...it was DoubleStuf J-34 who met up with Tika K-33, who was one of those who had come down from the north...
...Cookie J-38 was in shore with some of the J14s and Oreo J22 his mom...
...someone off shore breached four times... 



...then to the LAGS...they were feeding, going in huge circles...it was estimated there were a couple hundred but impossible to actually count them all!...here's one of the hookiest fins I've ever seen...
...then back to the whales...some were coming off shore and a large group was coming back in toward shore...we went out to meet them...first I see Blackberry J-27 and his sister and brother...and a few other whales...then I get a glimpse of something tiny - "there's the baby"!!!  I yelled out - of course!

...that was totally unexpected...but the baby is getting to meet more members of the Community, so no telling which group this little family will be with next time we see them...I just love watching this!


...off to the east of this group were Mystery L-85, Matia L-77 and Joy L-119 - I have hardly seen the L12s at all this year...

...we left them heading back in and back down island...
...until next time...


Saturday, September 20, 2014

9-20-14 The Fish That Got Away

Saturday, September 20th
...Granny J-2 in the lead - normal - close behind her was four year old Saturna K-43 - not normal!...but Saturna's mom and brother were not too far behind...
...Tika K-33 was foraging...
...Onyx L-87 was quite a ways off shore as they headed up island...
...National Geographic ship and Lime Kiln lighthouse - never thought I get an image like that!
...I tried getting a picture of that ship with whales...someone on shore most likely did...most people don't like their whale pictures with boats in them, but that would have been one really neat one...
...other people don't like boats zooming through the whales...ugh!

...the J16s, K14s were coming up island too...I could see blows further down island but those whales didn't come up...and there were a lot of them down there including - I heard but did not see - the new baby L-120...so that most likely meant, based on who I saw yesterday, that the rest of J pod was down there and at least the 20 L pod whales were too...maybe all of them but I don't know...it is September and it seems to be a time of year they all gather...

...one member of the J16s, Alki J-36, was traveling and goofing around with the five members of the L55 family group...
...they were stopping and changing direction a lot, moving slowly...I guess they had some sorting out to do because the L55s went back down island and Alki caught up to her family group at some point...
...north of the lighthouse were the other members (3) of the J16s and a salmon that was probably swimming for his life!...the whales had others to get because this salmon just kept on going and the whales kept on foraging...
video

...lately the common question is about the whales continuing north or turning back south...we saw J-16, J-26, and J-42 heading back down island...Slick J-16 and Mike J-26 (Echo J-42 not surfacing) heading toward the lighthouse...


...so when we on Maya's Westside Charters saw whales coming up along Stuart Island at 4:15 - well that was a surprise it was the J16s!

...I imagine they had to go back and pick up Alki J-36 who had been with the L55s...



...today the ones who had gone north past Kellett Bluff continued north, though the K14s were far behind and the J16s were even farther behind Granny, Onyx, the J19s - who were back 'where they belong' - the J14s who were very stealthy...but I got one image of Hy'Shqa J-37 - whew!...and the K12s...that's just over 20 whales who went north...and possibly close to 60 who stayed south - that is IF the rest of the Community was present...

Friday, September 19, 2014

9-19-14 She Was Pushing Around A Salmon!

Friday, September 19th
...they stayed...they didn't even go up to the Fraser last night...
...I could see a few from shore but soon was surprised to hear that some K pod whales were being seen too...
...this was going to be interesting...I just didn't realize how interesting the day would be...
...on Maya's Westside Charters...off the dock and to the whales...Granny and Onyx were the first two whales...they both have such interesting 'back stories' (isn't that the new term these days)...it was great for the folks on the boat to meet these two whales first and learn a bit about just how complex their social world is...
...we saw some of the J14s...Se-Yi-Chn J-45 and his sister Suttles J-40 were foraging together...and mom was several hundred yards away...a couple times tail slapping...

...we heard of other whales farther down island, so we went to investigate...there were whales spread all over...we came upon a large group...some of the K13s because we had already seen Spock K-20 and Comet K-38 a ways back...and mixed in with the rest of the K13s were Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41 and Tsuchi J-31 - now that's an unusual combination...

...Scoter K-25's tag wound area is looking nasty...I don't know what is happening here but it's getting ugly - to me - looking...I sent my pictures to the Center for Whale Research...
...the whales began to move back in to shore in the afternoon...though we heard there were more whales than we had seen in the morning we saw the same whales in the afternoon...
...these are some of the K13s and they appeared to be resting...that was before we knew that Skagit K-13 was pushing around a fish!...don't see that very often anymore...
..a short clip with lots of 'chins up'...

video
...then we saw Skagit with her prize possession - until it was eaten that is...

I wondered if they would all continue up island...or if the others would come back down...so I went to the park to wait and see...

...it wasn't long before I saw Tsuchi J-31, Shachi J-19,   Eclipse J-41, and the K13s coming back down island...what an unusual grouping...they had been together all day long...

...then, just about to leave when someone calls out they saw a whale or more...well, what do you know it was Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, and the J14s all coming back down island...they were at least a mile offshore, maybe more, but Onyx's dorsal fin is easy to spot...

...tomorrow might just be another whale day!

note:  I am so tired I just had no energy to post...the whales come first, then rest, and then everything else...