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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12-16-15 FIVE J Pod Babies Passing the Lighthouse Today

Wednesday, December 16th  (This post is updated 5a.m. 12-17- I was waiting for the Center for Whale Research to make the announcement.)  Scroll down the page to see Polaris and NEW BABY J-54 as they passed the lighthouse the morning on 12-16!

...I had heard that K and L pod whales were heading in yesterday...I heard nothing from them over the hydrophones during the night...
...I had also heard that J pod had showed up in Puget Sound the day before and were pretty far down in there yesterday...
...so off to town to mail a Christmas package to Alaska...(the receipt says it was 9:33 -it does play a role in this)...it was calm the sun was shining, so I decided to go home via the water view way...when I got to the west side the water was flat calm...wow!...so I stopped at the corner...get out of the car...don't even get the binos, when I see a dorsal fin!
"Yikes! There's whales!" I saw a couple fins and long dives...no time to wait..."get to the park." Residents or Transients?...at that point I had no idea...
...you know the story...run, get to the lighthouse area...they weren't close to shore and if I hurried I could make it...
...and here they came..it was just about 10 a.m....I still didn't know who was there until I heard echolocation clicks over the Lime Kiln hydrophones - "Rezzies!"
...listen for the tapping sounds...I tried removing as much background noise as possible, so any sounds other than the tapping were not from the whales...
video

...okay so, who?...
...Talk about mixed up whales! They were moving around, switching places so much it seemed like there were twice as many babies as there were.
...at first Alki J-36 had her offspring, Sonic J-52 with her...
...then Sonic J-52 was traveling with Eclipse J-41...
...her calf is Nova J-51, he was behind them...Sonic's mom, Alki J-36, was on the offshore side from them...
...there was some foraging, so some 'kid looking after' may have been going on...
...I thought I saw J-50 somewhere in the group..."oh, there's 'CatchUp' catching up again"...actually it's Scarlet J-50...though I saw her I wasn't successful in getting a proof of presence image of her...

...I could see some blows miles offshore...
...not sure how many whales were offshore but there didn't seem to be a lot...I concentrated on those in close...

...Slick J-16 and Shachi J-19 came by...no babies with them...moms'/grandmas' social time perhaps...
...then came Princess Angeline J-17...I so hoped that baby J-53 would be there...not with mom - arrgh...

...ah, but there, behind Princess A. was the baby, in between the baby's brother, Moby J-44, and cousin, Notch J-47...
...Notch's mom and baby J-53's aunt, Tahlequah J-35, was nearby...
...there were some direction changes for a several minutes, a few surface behaviors, and some porpoising (too far away at that point for images)...they were catching up to Tahlequah and Princess A.
...ADDED - and when I put in this line: 'a few more whales came past the lighthouse and then no more' it was a place holder for this:
...I saw Polaris J-28...since she has always been rather independent my caution lights didn't come on...she was about 10 minutes behind the rest of the J17s...
...but then!...
...I immediately called the Center for Whale Research (link to read the rest of the story on their announcement page) - of course! 
...I could hardly contain myself, but I knew I had to keep it to myself until CWR confirmed it...look to see the awesome photos Dave Ellifrit got of the newest member of J Pod~ - WOW!

...Polaris' offspring, Star J-46 was traveling off from Polaris and new baby J-54 as they passed by the lighthouse...

...after about a 1/2 hour I thought I would scan down island, one more time, to see if there were any others coming up...
...little did I know a humpback was coming down island and surfaced about 200 yards from shore right by where I was standing...needless to say...surprised me to pieces with that blow!
...but that wasn't all...more on this day later...with what was added about the new baby - that was all - isn't that enough!!

3 comments:

James said...

As always, great blog! If thanks for the update.

Ciji Sampson said...

Is J54 the one that The Center for Whale Research is referring to as J55?

Jeanne said...

Hi Ciji,
No...J55 is a brand new baby, yes, another one! J55 was first seen January 18 in Puget Sound by NOAA Researchers.