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Saturday, April 30, 2016

4-30-16 Breaching Baby Humpback

Saturday, April 30th
...the last several days in April...
...the T65As and T65Bs (2 sisters and their offspring) were in Rosario Strait almost to the Annacortes Ferry Terminal on the 27th...

...the next day not seen and the next day, April 29th seen north near Sucia Island...and on the 30th they were on the west side of San Juan Island heading away...they do get around...that is just what the T65As (the T65Bs are not always with them) do at this time of year!

...on April 28th, the third day after J Pod had gone north they came back down...but they came down traveling through some very unusual places for them...Samsun Narrows then past the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal...and down through a very narrow pass (wish I could have seen that!), and on down the west side of Haro Strait...it was thought that all of J Pod was there...but they weren't!  
...someone 'picked up' the J16s as they were at the top end of Boundary Pass...and since the water was getting really nasty in Haro Strait...on Peregrine with Andy at the helm we headed to calmer water and the J16s...we met them just north of Java Rocks...Mike J-26 was by himself...and mom and the rest of the family in shore...

...we left them south of Blunden Island close to shore on the west side of Boundary Pass...we learned later that David and Barbara of All Aboard Sailing met them and last saw them on the east side of Boundary Pass near Ripple Island...
...so when on April 30th we hear of Residents way north off Texada Island...were those the J16s? (or could it have been some Northern Residents that far down?)
...because if not then it would be some Ks or Ls - Whoo-Hoo!  ...after all it is just about May and soon L Pod usually shows up in May...hoping! 

...also on April 28th another humpback returned to these waters, the first sighting of her this year...Big Mama - BCY0324...and she brought her new calf with her...Mark Malleson, who has tracked these humpbacks, said this is her 6th calf...
...so far she and the calf have been along the west side of San Juan Island for the last three days...
...day one with mom and new calf on Imagine with Spencer...Jeff and Debbie from Oregon were on the boat and since we stayed with the two humpbacks until another boat arrived, I told them they were now official humpback babysitters!


...day two...I watched from shore...
...day three - from the Peregrine - doing what baby humpbacks do!...and Jeff and Debbie came out on this trip too and boy did they get to really see that baby :)

...it may have been slow to begin and now all of a sudden...just like Big Mama and her calf and their energetic actions...spring has arrived !

Now we need to see salmon coming in here.  One thing I have noticed over the last three days is more birds congregating and loud = food is in here...according to the areas I have seen...not enough yet ...hope it's a start...
 

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

4-25-16 It Began With A Roll Call Morning

Monday, April 25th
... (April 20th)-they were gone, it wasn't clear where, did they go back north?...down San Juan Channel or Rosario Strait and out toward the west?...did they go over near the Elwha?...we'll probably never know for sure...
...it had been four days and no sightings of J Pod...
...on the morning of the 5th day (April 25th) they showed back up!...6:15 a.m. I began hearing faint J Pod calls over the Lime Kiln hydrophones (link on the left column)...the calls lasted just a few seconds...

...out the door, down the road, to scan...it took almost an hour to locate the whales...
...I first saw them coming across Haro Strait from Discovery Island...and eventually they went up island...
...by 8:15 a.m. they were passing Lime Kiln lighthouse...
...in the lead was Shachi J-19 and then Eclipse J-41 and her offspring, Nova J-51, who is just over a year old now...


...several days ago it was a 'procession across Boundary Pass'...this morning it was a procession across Haro Strait...

...it was almost like 'roll call' as they passed by, they were spread across Haro Strait in family groupings and with the morning light and the calm seas it made it easier to see who was present...


...Notch J-47 passed the lighthouse behind his mom...
...first off, all the family groups were represented...however, I didn't see Granny J-2 and Onyx L-87 from the park...
...after they passed the park I headed north to the next location where I might see them...

...while I was watching the J16s, I could hear lots of breaths off to the left but out of my view...and then...thank you very much Granny J-2...there she was!  I learned later that Onyx L-87 was present, I just didn't see him...
...the other breaths I was hearing belonged to the J17s, the J14s, and the J22s...
...by this time I had seen all members of J Pod...it was definitely 'A Roll Call Morning'

...for about the next four hours the whales, still spread out across the strait, could be heard over the Orca Sound hydrophones (a different link on the left hand column)...
...when the tide changed they began to move north...

The afternoon: ...out on Peregrine with Jeff at the helm we headed north toward the whales...they were in several groups...Se-Yi-Chn J-45 and Cookie J-38 were seen together...the rest of J-45's family was up ahead but not by far...
...with Cookie and Se-Yi-Chn were DoubleStuf J-34 and Oreo J-22, and with them were the J17s - 3 moms, 3 juveniles, two babies...



...as we moved on up toward Active Pass we passed by the J16s, who also have two whales who are both now a bit over a year old - Scarlet J-50 and Sonic J-52...up ahead of them were Blackberry J-27 and his sister and brother...
...it's not always possible to see them as they go through Active...Active Pass is a beautiful, short pass where the water can be amazingly calm (probably only at slack tide) or it can be like a river and sometimes a raging river...luckily it was rather calm today as we watched them enter the pass...

...they came into the pass in groups...crossed over and traveled up the west side...watching this gives one a glimpse of their navigational skills and how they proceed through this specific place...once in the pass they will often get quite surface active...


(Of course they are excellent navigators or they wouldn't have survived in the oceans for the thousands of years that they have...it's when we get a glimpse into their lives that, to me, is fascinating.)
...
...once they exited the pass their direction was toward the coal docks...
...someone on the boat asked me where they would show up next...that's a good question!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4-20-16 A Procession Across Boundary Pass

Wednesday April 20th
...it started out as another day of no word on J Pod's whereabouts since they went north three days ago...
...jokingly I had said that if Oreo J-22 had any say in it they would disappear for two days and show up on the third day at Active Pass...and they did!
...it began with whales being seen at the north end of Galiano Island...then whales coming down Trincomali Channel...and then J Pod on the north side of Active Pass coming east...were the first two sightings actually J Pod or were they the Transients who later showed up in Saanich Inlet...curious...
...wow - now that is totally intriguing...

...out on Peregrine with Capt. Jim for a late afternoon trip we head up to East Pt. to meet the whales as they came down...that is if they did...
...there was a lot of activity at Boiling Reef...
...we are watching this amazing flock of Surf Scoters with the Stellers, Mt. Baker, Patos light, etc...when one of the passengers yells out "there's a whale, and I know what that looks like!"...and she did and it was!...it was Mike J-26 and a few others...they had passed on the inside of the reef and were quickly moving down Saturna Island, close to shore and about out of our view within a minute or two...others were approaching...Blackberry J-27 and his sister, Tsuchi J-31...
...the Blackberry surfaced with Suttles J-40...
 ...the J14s family and the J11s family members were mixed up between the two family groups and then some...they know what they are doing...we don't!
...the whales were spread out...along came Granny J-2 and Onyx L-87...

...Tuschi J-31 and Blackberry J-27 stopped and appeared to be foraging...
...at the same time the Steller sea lions were at alert and didn't like these black and whites in their 'territory'...
...after several minutes Tsuchi and her brother moved on...

...others were way in the distance...the J17s and Oreo J-22 and DoubleStuf J-34...

...as we moved out to see them, Shachi J-19 with her grandson, Nova J-51 passed by us, along with Mako J-39...not sure where Eclipse J-41 was in the mix but whales were spread and surfacing/diving quickly...

...the whales in the distance were mainly the J17s...
...and soon we saw whales moving from Saturna Island, crossing Boundary Pass heading for the J17s and the J22s..they passed by us one by one...it was a  procession and it continued until all appeared to be present except the J16s and the J19s...
As this procession was in progress...
The majority of J Pod whales selected a direction and headed down President Channel...but there was no sign of the J16s and J19s...


...it's the humans who watch them are now left waiting for the next sighting to see who is where...
...but the bottom line is that the whales get enough food to THRIVE...



May 4th
7 pm
Seattle Town Hall

Your support needed to save the salmon and the SRKWs.  
Political support is needed for breaching the 4 lower Snake River Dams for saving the salmon and saving the whales.  Let your politicians know you support the removal of these dams.  

Get the facts from:

Jim Waddell of Dam Sense presents
Killer Whales, Salmon, Taxes, and LSR Dams
The Last Best Chance for Salmon
 
For the details click here for the Seattle Town Hall Website
announcing this presentation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

4-19-16 More Effort Needed to Save the Salmon and the Whales


May 4th
7 pm
Seattle Town Hall

Your support needed to save the salmon and the SRKWs.  
Political support is needed for breaching the 4 lower Snake River Dams for saving the salmon and saving the whales.  Let your politicians know you support the removal of these dams.  

Get the facts from:

Jim Waddell of Dam Sense presents
Killer Whales, Salmon, Taxes, and LSR Dams
The Last Best Chance for Salmon
 
For the details click here for the Seattle Town Hall Website announcing this presentation.

4-19-16 Bits and Pieces


Tuesday, April 19th
...catching up with bits and pieces over the last week...
...the death of Nigel L-95 and of another Southern Resident baby orca (no word on which matriline or pod - all currently living J Pod babies accounted for) this past week, it just threw things 'sidewards'...
...over the past week I have seen whales while out on Peregrine and while on the Western Prince and last evening from shore by several miles was a group of about 8 to 10 orcas - transients and they were 'preparing dinner'...after all it was about 7:30pm...

...images below I haven't yet posted from some of things seen out there...not always orcas but other wildlife who are all part of this fragile ecosystem the SRKWs call 'home' - or we think of it that way...
...the day the two groups of transients were on the west side of the island...


...a few years ago this whale had a really nasty gash...here's the comparison from then until now...and now the scar barely shows (of course the image isn't the best either)...
...up near Spieden Island a Steller sea lion surfaced with a fish...okay, so not unusual...but it was a small fish...they are usually seen downing their prey and not playing with it, which is what it looked like here...
...after getting word back from the fish expert, I learned that the Steller had two fish, each a different species...a kelp greenling and a herring...

 
 
...
  
...if you've ever seen Pigeon Guillemots you will understand this...they will definitely make you smile!

...Princess Angeline's youngest, J-53, is a female - now that's a piece of good news...
...however, she has to survive and thrive over the next 10 years, at least, in order to have offspring...Eclipse J-41 had her first offspring before she was even 10 years old...hummmm...will others follow in that or is it just Eclipse?...she has always been an extra spunky whale :)

...late yesterday along the west side of the island I thought I would look for whales...perhaps, but not likely...
...an elephant seal was off the point at the south end of Land Bank...
...flat calm out there...and then miles out - something!...what?...whales!...
...I watched them until the light was getting too low...there were 8 to 10 whales...a few really big fins...and from their behavior it appeared to be Ts (transients aka Bigg's killer whales)...
...then over the Lime Kiln hydrophones (link on the upper left column) there were a few intermittent calls...
...then they woke me up at 2:00 a.m. over those same hydrophones, eventually moving over to the Orca Sound hydrophones (also a link on the left column)...between the two hydrophone locations their calls came over for about a total of 1 1/2 hours - 1st Lime Kiln and then Orca Sound...
...but where are they today?...who knows!

...and J Pod, after they all got back together...the Center for Whale Research posted their encounter with J Pod...even though I had seen most of J Pod, there were some I did not...was waiting for their encounter posting...so glad to know that they were all present...

Where is J Pod now?  
Where's the salmon?  
That's where they are.


Think salmon.  
That equates to survival or not.
The SRKWs need your help.
Call your representatives, call the White House...

Click this link to learn more:
SRKW - CSI: