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Friday, May 29, 2015

5-29-15 Obama asked to issue EO to breach the lower Snake River Dams

Obama asked to issue Executive Order to breach the lower Snake River Dams

Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative
May 29, 2015 — We have some excellent and hopeful news, but need your help NOW to continue the momentum!

This week a powerful ally had the opportunity to ask President Obama to issue an Executive Order to breach the four lower Snake River dams. The President was presented with a packet of information (including Southern Resident orca adoptions for his daughters–of the whales J35, Tahlequah and J37, Hy'shqa) on the issues surrounding Snake River dam breaching. In the discussion, President Obama replied that, "This looks like something we might be able to do. I will get back to you after my staff and I review the issue."

This is a tremendous opportunity—one we may not have again for many years.

Please write or call the President at the White House. Let him know (in your own words) that you support his effort to start breaching these dams within his term using an Executive Order. Encourage President Obama to rise above the politics and bureaucratic lethargy that has stalled this action for the last 20 years.

Click here and write today! http://srkwcsi.org/letters-to-politicians/

Stay tuned to facebook.com/srkwcsi to order our new t-shirt featuring the beloved Southern Resident orca Rhapsody breaching the dams...

Thanks to all for your support!
Letters to Politicians
Letters to Politicians
Supporters of Southern Resident Killer Whales-we are asking you to take action to keep the whales from being dammed to extinction. We need to convince President Obama and our Washington State...
http://srkwcsi.org

Thursday, May 28, 2015

5-28-15 'Catchup' Was Catching Up Again!

Thursday, May 28th  and early May 29...
...Wednesday May 27th...there was word that many whales were seen near Nanimo late in the day on the 27th...could it be?...J pod?...or another large group of transients?...and the question always is: What does 'many' mean?  To some many might be 5, to others there would have to be 12 or 15 or 20...to mean 'many.'
...well, J pod showed up today, Thursday May 28th...it was most likely them late yesterday the 27th, (but there was no proof of presence that I know of) and today they were coming down Haro Strait from the north!
...the whales were getting close enough to be able to see from the shore, but there was fog...I could see that Lime Kiln was completely socked in...County Park wasn't - just yet...and by the time the whales were in view the fog was clearing...
...at Lime Kiln, Slick J-16 was in the lead...
...behind her was J-50 (my nickname for her is CatchUp)...and once again 'CatchUp' was catching up!...she is so fast, it took me three tries to get this!

...behind them was Princess Angeline J-17 and Moby J-44...

...one of them made a huge lunge...
...it might have been Moby because he seemed to be doing some foraging...
...behind them came Mike J-26...
...and back quite a ways behind him were Alki J-36, Echo J-42 and baby J-52...they moved in toward the cove up just up from the lighthouse...they too seemed like they might be doing a bit of foraging...
...soon they came past...Alki J-36 gave about 100+ school kids a thrill by surfacing pretty close to shore...you should have heard the kids screaming with delight!...her baby J-52 was near her...

Shachi J-19 came by and offshore from her were her offspring Eclipse J-41 and her baby J-51...there were also whales miles offshore...
...in closer was DoubleStuf J-34 doing some foraging...
...all during the pass by today there was lots of echolocating over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
...J-34, J-19 looked like they were foraging together...
...the J19 family group, with that ship exiting the fog...
...then some of the J14s and some of the J11s came by...
Se-Yi-Chn J-45 was with Blackberry J-27...
...they went down island and soon headed offshore...it looked like they were leaving...but late in the day they turned back toward the east...
Added:  Friday, May 29th...it was shortly before 1:00 a.m. when J pod calls were heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...and about 1 1/2 hours later over the Orca Sound hydrophones...it convinced me they were going up and not out...their calls were distant the entire time, indicating they were far from shore...
...they were seen north of Active Pass heading toward the Fraser River by the afternoon...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5/26-27/15 Did J Pod Go Really Far North?

Tuesday/Wednesday, May 26-27th
...update on J pod
...J pod was last seen late in the day on May 23rd all grouped up in Swanson Channel...they had been heading north...they were not heard over the Lime Kiln or the Orca Sound hydrophones...I had mentioned before that I believed they had gone way north, there's some big water up there where they might have gone undetected, especially since they have been splitting up and spreading out...so we wait...

Tuesday, May 26th
...in the meantime out with Capt. Jim we had another encounter with T77A and T124C...two males traveling together...
...then way off in one direction...
...then back the other direction...
...and then they made the fastest kill I've ever seen...
...both whales were together when they stopped right in front of us...

...it seemed as if they were splitting up the food, mainly because one of them was thrashing his tail as if he was using it to hold his place, while they were pulling apart the animal...I would guess it was a harbor seal, but never saw exactly what is was...when they continued on each one had a good size hunk of a meal...
...the other thing that was interesting is that there were no birds...usually birds will be there immediately to get the scraps...and there was no smell...but there was a lot of blood...

Wednesday, May 27th
...out looking for the two male orcas from yesterday...we heard there were two killer whales spotted way too far away, but within range someone had located three humpbacks...

...BCY0324 - aka Big Mama was a few miles west of the other two, all up in the Strait of Georgia...
...these are humpback whales who come back each year...

...and by the end of the day...still no word on J pod...

Monday, May 25, 2015

5-25-15 Transient KWs - Way West and Close to Home

Monday, May 25th
...early in the morning I heard transient calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...then on the Orca Sound hydrophones to the north...then on both at the same time...by the end of about 30 minutes the last calls I heard were fading off the Orca Sound hydrophones...a short while later whales were seen to the south...confusing...were there two groups going different directions?...
...not out in the morning but I heard that the T36As and T75Bs were some of the whales seen as well as the T18s...we had a long way to go...zooming past Race Rocks lighthouse...still not there yet...

...not much longer...T51 was surfacing up ahead and he was with a group, but it wasn't the group he was with yesterday...
...I noticed something white way up high and then saw some folks watching...
...a better look at the group T51 was with...no little kids, no babies...

...then Mr. Floppy Fin T19B and his brother, T19C surfaced...T18 and T19 were present and just under the surface...
...it's the T124As who T51 was with...
...there was one whale who was not one of the T124As...It's T86A1!
...now I wonder where T86A and T86A3 were?...maybe up ahead with the other group...but we didn't get to them today...
...the whales were heading west and we were almost to Sooke...those are condominiums under construction in the distance...
...we headed back and stopped at Race Rocks...there is a sea otter, who seems to show up each year and hang out there...it's a rare thing to see a sea otter in this area...
...I like getting Lime Kiln lighthouse in images when the opportunity arises...
...we had heard of a couple transients coming down toward us... and Capt Jim found them!...it was T77A and T124C, two males...we had only a few minutes to get IDs and then head in...maybe they would be around tomorrow...


Sunday, May 24, 2015

5-24-15 Transient Orcas in Haro Strait

5-24-15
...out on the Peregrine in the afternoon to go see some transient killer whales who had been spotted in the late morning...they were coming our way...
...one male, with a small notch near the top...Dan of Orcas Island Eclipse Charters called to ask me who it was and told me that some were saying it was T51..."okay"...I didn't know T51 so that sounded good to me...well now I know who he is and I'll not likely forget him either!
...I looked at my files later and saw that I had seen him, briefly in 2012, but no images, that would show who he was, to put in The Book, so I didn't...

...he was traveling with the T36As and the T75Bs they have the newest baby of the group...we first saw this calf on April 13th...this baby would surface at about the 1/2 way mark of the adults down time...that was great, it gave us a marker as to where they were!

...they would get active for a few minutes and then it was back to resting...
here are some of their more active moments of the day...
 

 
...on the way back to the harbor Capt. Jim stopped to show the folks an eagle's nest...one of the passengers spotted not only the mom but a chick!
...back out again, the whales, who had gone in pretty close to shore, coming up island, veered offshore into some pretty choppy seas...oh, but Capt. David and his sailing ship...fun attempts for me to try to get in focus pictures!

...the whales were in a resting mode a good part of the time and with the choppy seas it wasn't easy to see the two babies...the one popping his/her head up is T75B2...
...the seas had settled somewhat and then the wakes of a couple really loaded down ships came our way and they got active for a few moments...relationships to the wake of the ships??...don't know...
...we left them heading west and we headed east...

...tomorrow will be another interesting day...there were transients all over the place so I imagine there might be again tomorrow...
...today no Southern Residents were seen at all...they might still be in here and if they are they are either in Trincomali Channel, which I doubt - too busy a time of year for them to be missed by eyes - or they went farther north...
...for the SR killer whales its about the salmon...where's the salmon, not just any salmon, but the kind they prefer - Chinook.  That's where the whales will be.
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5-23-15 Distance Perception on the Water

Saturday, May 23rd
...it was about 6:30 a.m and loud over the LK hydrophones came one call - what?...off and running out the door and to the park...but when I got there it took a long time to find a whale... and thanks to Kane who spotted the first whale, offshore and down island from the park...
...it was the J16s and those were the only whales I saw...by about 8:30 they were heading down island, so home I went...out on the Peregrine at about 10 a.m...we met up with the J16s...similar to yesterday, the rest of J pod was located a few miles away from the J16s...
...this morning 'CatchUp' J-50 was all caught up and was with her mom, Slick J-16...in these first few months I had seen her more often with her sister, Echo J-42...but perhaps J-50 is done having to 'catch up' all the time..no one actually knows what that was all about in the early stages..we can all guess but only the whales know for sure...
...it looks like Mike J-26 is directly behind his mother and his sister, Echo J-42, I'm trying to imagine the under the surface orientation of the rest of their bodies or if this is an example of distance perception on the water..
...a moment later 'CatchUp' surfaced just to the right of Mike's dorsal fin...

...at one point Alki J-36 was pushing her baby, J-52...he was up on mom's rostrum...J-52 was on his back...
...they were far in the distance but I kept taking pictures hoping I would actually be able to see something of what they were doing...notice this little guy's pectoral fin and its indentation...
...now they both had a pec fin up!..looks like they were lying next to each other...mom and babies...sweet stuff...
...the whales are very social beings, touching, rubbing and rolling on each other...with their tight family relationships they stay connected...

...of course there are times that when they are in 'down time' one might wonder what mom is thinking as her little one bee-boops all around her...baby J-52, was leaping over top of his mom, Alki J-36's, back...
...the J16 family soon had company...the rest of the whales began moving in toward them and they all began to head up island slowly...
...back to distance perception...
...this is an interesting image...at first glance of the picture it looks like T'ilem I'nges J-49 is landing on the side of that boat...it looks like his pectoral fin is touching the boat...
..glad I got the whole series...here's the landing...
...yes, the boat was within the 200 yards required by law, but the whales don't read the laws...notice the boat is stopped - motor not running - the splash from J-49 landing is not reaching the boat or the person taking the pictures would have been startled and at least leaned back and I would have gotten that shot (!)...the whales were moving up island...the boat was there...and they just traveled on by...you don't ever set yourself up for that - it's against the law - or everyone would so they could have their close encounter...just think of what that could create for the whales...
...watching them in their world without interfering in their lives - being respectful of the 'people of the sea' - is what it is about...this is their home and it belongs to them and not to us...
...the whales continued up island, passing American Camp...
...we headed back to the harbor...when we left the whales it looked as if they were at a steady pace coming up island, so off to the park I went...and there I sat for 3 hours before they got there!...but it's always worth the wait...Eclipse J-41's mom was in the lead, quite a ways ahead of Eclipse and her baby J-51...
...there was another group approaching, passing close along 'the wall' at the south end of the park and continuing up to 'my rock'...glad I wasn't on it today only to be able to get this image...sweet!...
... that's baby J-52 with his mom and uncle Mike J-26...
...Notch J-47 with his mother, Tahlequah J-35...off from them is Tsuchi J-31...
...T'ilem I'nges J-49 is quite the 'action guy' these days...he was doing cartwheels, tail slapping, and of course breaching from as far as I could see him before they got to the lighthouse and even after they passed by...
...all of J pod passed by quite close to shore...the only ones I didn't see were Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, and Blackberry J-27...they would have been the ones far offshore...

...hopefully they are finding enough salmon...but I remain cautious at this time because I remember 2008...it was a very lean year for the whales, yet J pod just wouldn't go out to where we knew Ks and Ls were - way out west where they were getting lots of salmon...