Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12-28-16 Noise Disturbance Comes from Above the Surface Too

Wednesday, December 28th

J Pod showed up in San Juan Channel and spent a good portion of the afternoon spread out throughout the top end of the channel...then they began to get back together and had picked a direction...
...I was watching from shore...the whales were far away...some had gone behind Spieden Island out of my view, and at least one was in Spieden Channel and had moved far enough west that he was to the west of the boat house (not sure that is the correct term - but it's toward the eastern end on the south side) on Spieden Island.

...The Center for Whale Research was out as were a few whale watching boats...

...then came this...
...later someone said it was a navy plane and commented on the noise level...maybe once upon a time it was a navy plane, but I wonder about now.
It buzzed the whales.
Maybe whoever was in the plane didn't know orcas were there and wanted to see what those whale watching boats were looking at.

It appeared to be flying quite low, lower than what one normally sees, and way lower than what is permitted when whales are present.


...just the day before there was a candlelight vigil to honor the Southern Residents and for the struggles they have had and continue to experience.
...some folks wrote messages on rocks...I saw this and thought 'how fitting'...
...it isn't just the noise from under the surface.
 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12-27-16 A Friend to the Orcas

Tuesday, December 27th

...with so many losses in the Southern Resident Community and two very shocking ones - the death of Samish J-14 in the middle of summer and now the death of DoubleStuf J-34 this month, a friend was very distraught.

Thinking of all the things she has done and continues to do and her not realizing how much she actually does, I tried to convey to her some of the things she has told me she has done and continues to do.


I decided to share it with others here on my blog.  Have you a friend who needs a bit of encouragement?  Poetry or drawings or just a phone call or two...

 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

12-25-16 Orca Vocal Encore on Christmas Morning

Sunday, early, early morning Christmas morning
so early it was only 1:25 a.m when they woke me up!

How very fortunate we are to be able to hear the whales even when we can't see them. 


So enjoy the sounds of some of J and K pods and Onyx L-87 too, in the wee hours of Christmas morning. 
They might not be loud as they sometimes are, but that's okay.  They give us the gift of their presence no matter what the volume might be.
video
You'll hear them again and each time will be special because it never occurs exactly the same. 
May those sounds carry you throughout the year.

Merry Christmas. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

12-24-16 Merry Christmas Eve From the Whales

Saturday, December 24th
...transient orcas were seen not too far distant and then they decided to come up the west side of San Juan Island...
...it was the T19s...I only saw T19, T19B and T19C...
...their blows were stunning to see...
...they were slowly moving up island...and just down from the park they dove and didn't surface until a good distance north of the lighthouse...and it looked like, from their behavior, they appeared to be after a harbor seal which gave the opportunity to get a couple different angles

...then up to County Park as they continued up island...
...home to listen to the Orca Sound hydrophones...and soon I heard them vocalizing as they continued north...those calls began at about 2:25pm and continued intermittently for about 20 minutes.
...then I heard them over the Lime Kiln hydrophones - very faint and brief...I figured they were on the far side of Haro Strait...there are a couple areas there that the Orca Sound hydrophones don't picks up calls but Lime Kiln will...
...then it was quiet of calls...

...now for the Merry Christmas Eve From the Whales...
...looking at the images of the Ts...with the hydrophones streaming in the background...didn't figure I would hear the Ts again...
...and then...and then..."Oh, my, it's Residents!"
...I don't know who else but I know I needed that today...I don't think they had been seen by anyone today, but here they were and they were on the Lime Kiln hydrophones for close to 2 hours...faint K Pod calls had started at 4:10 pm and then J pod calls soon started...they got a bit louder...so off I went in search of them, but there wasn't much daylight left...never did see them but when I got back home they were still vocalizing over the hydrophones.
video


Yes, Merry Christmas from the whales it was.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12-21-16 From Smiles to Shock To Waiting

Wednesday, December 21st
...it began with a couple strange, non-mechanical, sounds over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...instead of waiting to hear more it was off to Lime Kiln to see!
...running down the hill I heard a blow!...next question? which direction?...something I would not know until I got beyond the trees...
...I was too late...standing there seeing a group of what I thought were 5 to 6 I watched as they were heading down and quickly...then I grabbed the camera to at least get proof of whales passing...thinking I might not know who...


...there was a male with them...
...but run I had to!..off to the next location...and there I got lucky...
...later in the day I was comparing dorsal fin tips to verify if that was Lobo K-26...likely because his mother, sister, and brother were present...but best to be sure...

...after these whales went out of my view I went back up island by only about a mile...I saw a couple breaching way to the north...

...there were a few others closer...their long dive times and the choppy seas did not help matters in locating them...




What had been a smiling (breaching whales always bring smiles) grateful time of seeing some J Pod whales, turned to a total state of shock when I was processing images from the day. With the Victoria BC tv news on in the background is when I learned of the death of DoubleStuf J-34.

What happened? Why? I last saw him on December 10th as the whales were traveling down San Juan Channel past Friday Harbor.  
We know he was seen in Puget Sound on Dec 14th.
It is not known what killed him.  
He died somewhere north of Vancouver in Canadian waters.
The Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada conducted the necropsy and will post updates on the following site: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/species-especes/mammals-mammiferes/srkw-eprs-j34-eng.html


And now...We wait.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

12-18-16 This Time It Was Transients

Sunday, December 18th

...J Pod was on the hydrophones a few days ago...in the middle of the night...

...and this time it was Transient vocals over the Lime Kiln hydrophones at about 10:30pm.
...they lasted about 10 minutes as the Ts approached (from which direction?) and passed by and then moved on...

...here's a brief clip:

video

...they always sound eerie, to me,...much different from the Residents...

Friday, December 16, 2016

12-16-16 J Pod - Still in the Area

Friday, December 16th
...over the last week...

...J Pod has been in the area - a large area...from Puget Sound to at least the mid section of the San Juan Islands and possibly farther to the north or east and who knows where else...

...it was another one of the those surprises...on December 10th...
...Blackfish Whale and Wildlife Tours (aka Hobbes -for those who know Hobbes) happened upon orcas just as they were heading back to their harbor...the whales were approaching a location that might yield a view or two, so out the door to see if I could make it...
...got lucky...they were just approaching my view...however, far from shore and in some pretty choppy seas...
...so when Onyx L-87 and Blackberry J-27 came into view...okay - J Pod whales!
...a few pics which will show you just how far from shore they were :)...

...the whales were heading down San Juan Channel and binoculars were a must to even see them as they passed by the entrance to Friday Harbor...

...in the night...at about 3:30 a.m. J Pod whales were on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...very faint and not for a long time...a very short clip with only 2 calls...but they were there - wherever 'there' was!
video

...which way did they go? 
...I learned later some J Pod whales showed up in Puget Sound.  That's expected at this time of the year.

...here's who I got proof of presence images of:
Blackberry J-27
Eclipse J-41
Nova J-51
Shachi J-19
Onyx L-87
Notch J-47

DoubleStuf J-34

...here are a few images of some of them...




...there were others as well...

Moby J-44
Mako J-39
Cookie J-38

...it seems that J Pod whales have been using a similar 'route' - for now...
...and there was a fishing derby in the San Juans last week...they too were fishing in the same general area where J Pod whales have recently been seen up here around the San Juans.
...after all that does make sense.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12-7-16 We Now Know Which Direction They Went

Wednesday, December 7th
                                          Oh, what a surprise! 
On Dec 5th when J Pod was heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones I could not determine their final direction...now we know - it was North.
                                 Because today they came South!











...the whales were spread out except for that first rowdy group...

It looked like Cookie J-38 and DoubleStuf J-34 way offshore but could not be sure on that.  There were others even farther off than them. CWR was out there so they'll have more.
Tsuchi J-31 was in the rowdy group that came past the lighthouse, others with her were Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41, Nova J-51, Hy'Shqa J-37, T'ilem I'nges J-49 (?), Suttles J-40, maybe another one or two.
Some of the J16s - Slick J-16, Scarlet J-50, Echo J-42, Mike J-26 came along a while later.
The last seen within camera reach were J17 and calf and one other (likely Kiki J-53 and Moby J-44), but two of them veered offshore before getting an image...J17 was the only image of that group of 3. All three of us saw mom and calf surfacing as they approached...

The last few times the whales have shown up there have been many 'burp' sounds prior to...I believe they are fish sounds...in other words something is moving before the whales show up and then after the whales are gone from the area those fish sounds stop.  Here is what the burp sound (fish sound) sounds like: 
video


If you are interested here is the prior post where I had tracked it all...http://whale-of-a-porpoise.blogspot.com/2015/03/3-10-15-observations-of-srkws-and-fish.html 
 

Monday, December 5, 2016

12-5-16 J Pod Must Have Found Some Incoming Salmon

Monday, December 5th

Map #1 covers many days with lots of question marks...

Map #2 - surprise! 
Happy whales for everyone, especially the whales finding salmon.
 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

12-4-16 Holiday Rush Explained Via Creatures of the Sea

The holiday rush is beginning.
video

Originally posted in 2014 and still appropriate for today.

Friday, November 25, 2016

11-25-16 A Day Full of Orcas

Friday, November 25th
...a break in the storms today, so off to the lighthouse on what was finally a non-windy, non-rainy day...
...get there, set up, turn on the hydrophones and within a few minutes there were sounds coming over the hydrophones...but they were masked by ship noise and they were also very distant...finally a clear J Pod call...a while later a louder, clear K Pod call...
...and it was time to watch and wait...they were coming down from the north...very curious...had they come in and gone up undetected?...or had they circumnavigated Vancouver Island over the last nine days?

...the whales were spread for miles across Haro Strait and from the leaders to the trailers...
...the first whale passing Lime Kiln lighthouse at about 2:15 was Cali K-34...and not far behind him were some other members of his family group, the K13s...
...a few of the K12s - Tika K-33, with his prominent dorsal fin, and his mother, Sekiu K-22 were not far behind...
...none were close but the distant landscape was phenomenal...here's Comet K-38 with the Elwha Valley in the distance...
...Comet and his mother, Spock K-20 had been traveling down island together...then he moved offshore and she continued going down island...each ended up with some pretty spectacular backdrops...
...here's Spock...
...when the J16s came down they were the last group...Mike J-26 was foraging...a bit closer was his mother, Slick J-16, and little sister, Scarlet J-50,...another sister, Echo J-42, was in the vicinity but not surfacing with her mother and sister...after watching them for a few minutes Scarlet was no longer surfacing with mom and it got a bit curious as to where she was...
...Slick continued on traveling with no one else surfacing by her...then a few minutes later Echo J-42 and Scarlet J-50 were surfacing together!
...I love it...mom handed the 'baby' (she's almost 2 years old) off to Echo J-42, who, by the way, has always seemed to 'love the little ones'...

...when Mike began moving down island, his other sister, Alki J-36 and her offspring, Sonic J-52 were traveling in close proximity...Sonic was tight to his mother's side...


...being spread out as they were is an indicator of a lack of salmon and a need to search for salmon as they travel...

...one thing I have noted the last two times prior to when the whales showed up - today and in mid November when they came in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and went down into Puget Sound:
...the Center for Whale Research was on scene today so their encounter post will have all who were seen today...
...for all who saw J and K pod whales on this November 25th day, consider yourself very fortunate...it is not common to see the whales passing by along the west side very often during this time of year...

 

11-25-16 Just Who Was That The Other Night?

11-25-16
Calls heard over the last several days had some folks confused as to which cetacean they were hearing...was it Residents, Transients, or Humpbacks...

I put together a clip of calls...see what you think...
video


...now to have a look as to who it was on that recording...






Sunday, November 6, 2016

11-6-16 A Morning of Humpback Whales

Sunday, November 6th
...after an evening (Nov 5th) of many hours of humpback whales heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...here's a clip...
video
....I then wondered if any would be around this morning...A friend was visiting and as I was putting my socks on I hear, "HUMPBACK WHALE!" (HB - #1) - yes! being yelled out!
...out the door and down island to Land Bank instead of starting Lime Kiln Pt. State Park like usual...
...get out of the car and even before getting out the binos - "humpback!"
...that was HB - # 2 ...coming up island, so off to the park we went...
...we were looking for HB- #1 (coming down from the north) and HB - #2 (coming up from Land Bank)...and instead my friend sees HB - #3 and #4 !!


...there's another out by Beaumont Shoals area!
...it was taking very long dives and so back to active #3 and # 4...

...another one - who???...surfaces off Discovery Island while HB #2 was being watched by my friend and #3 and #4 were off of Chathan Island going down...

None were close and they were difficult to keep track of...but no matter, it is always fascinating to see whales... 

I added this map to give you an idea as to actually where they were in Haro Strait.