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Sunday, July 31, 2016

7-31-16 Short Stays In Search of Salmon


...J Pod and several L Pod whales (about 17 of the group of 19) had come down Rosario Strait stopping off the lower end of San Juan Island...they spent the rest of the day coming part way up island and then heading offshore, changing direction from time to time...
...in the early morning, not knowing at that time where they were, I was at Lime Kiln Pt. State Park, just in case...
...I noticed something...

...a while later...I had to laugh at myself for getting excited about 15 gulls after some bait fish...
...that too has been a sign all season long...very few birds...we used to have lots of activity and each year it has become less and less...not good... 

...late in the day Crewser L-92, Ballena L-90, and the six members of the L47 family group came up, far offshore from the lighthouse and then slowly made their way back down, going against a strong in coming current...




...and while I was putting this together I noticed the tiny nick on the leading edge!

...it looked like they would be gone back out toward the open ocean tomorrow...
...seems to be the pattern this month...in for a couple days and then back out again...
 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

7-21-16 Picnic Table Lady from New York and the Whales


Thursday, July 21st
...early morning - 6:30 a.m.  Shachi J-19, the leader, as the whales move north past the lighthouse...
...behind Shachi is Eclipse J-41 and Nova J-51...
...two whales were approaching...



...all of that lasted about 30 minutes...those whales continued north...
...10 minutes later...Tahlequah J-35 and Notch J-47 were making their way up island foraging as they went...
...this lasted for the next 4 hours...during that time is when I met the Picnic Table Lady from New York...
...I don't usually sit when watching the whales but the whales were not going anywhere and so we shared a picnic table for watching...




...Princess Angeline J-17, baby J-53, brother Moby J-44, and Notch's mom, Tahlequah J-35, were slowly making their way up island...but with two family members not with them it didn't seem likely they would continue...they didn't...
...the Picnic Table Lady asked me, "When do they breach?" 
...no more than a minute or two later one of them did!...and multiple times too...that happens sometimes - amazing... 
...eventually these four of the J17 family group went back down island where there were others...the J11s, J22s and the other two members of the J17s...also down island were the J16s and the J14s...
...at 11 a.m. later the J16s came north and continued up island...
...at 1:30 the J14s came north and continued up island too...
...it was a very confusing day!...and the Picnic Table Lady from New York was totally thrilled to see her first ever orcas...

...the day continued with Group B coming up from the south end and passing the lighthouse multiple times...eventually going back down island...
...some of of the L12s made it up part of the way only to turn and go back down again...
 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7-19-16 Now That Was A Fast Pass

Tuesday, JUly 19th
...on the 19th J Pod, the L4s and the L47s came back down from the north zooming past the lighthouse...by the end of the day they were seen heading west...
...here are a few pics I captured from shore...the whales surprised me and I missed most of them...




...present on the 19th were all of J Pod, the L4s and the L47s...usually the L26s and the L72s are with them, but it appears they were not today...

...the L12s were in and stayed off the lower part of San Juan Island...something they often do in the summer... 




Monday, July 18, 2016

7-18-16 Orca Action on the West Side Again!

Monday, July 18th
...bald eagles at American Camp...this was from July 17th...had come down here looking for the L12s who had been spending many days along the lower end of the island...this bald eagle nest is in a great location (easy viewing) right from the parking lot and a closer nest than the previous one that, I think, was demolished (nest and branches) in a wind storm a couple winters ago.

...23 hours later, sitting at Lime Kiln lighthouse, some orcas were coming up island...

...but who were they???...
...and behind her...
...next came Kasatka L-82 and Finn L-116...that's interesting!
...then Cookie J-38...he was a bit farther offshore...also out there was Nugget L-55...DoubleStuf J-34 and Oreo J-22 were in closer to shore and so was Takoda L-109...they were surfacing individually as they moved north...
...a few minutes later Cookie was way farther off in the distance chasing salmon!

...up ahead of him was Lapis L-103 and her offspring L-123...interesting to note is that Takoda L-109, Lapis L013 and calf, and their mom Nugget L-55 were traveling about parallel with one another though spread across for close to a mile...
...a half hour later...
...a few minutes later...


...from first seeing them (four images up) it was a span of about 10 minutes...
...under the surface, at the surface, heading in toward the kelp...they appeared to be in a social mood...

...folks on the rocks up island, from where I was, were pretty intent...


...in this group was Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, the J14 family and the J16 family...and just behind them was fog moving in fast...off to County Park hoping the fog would not reach the shore up there...


...it was only noon when the whales passed by going north, hopefully to find enough salmon along the way and at the Fraser River...

...interesting to note:  the J11 group - Blackberry J-27, Tsuchi J-31, and Mako J-39 appear to be making some changes...will have to continue to watch this family group and see how this chapter in their lives unfolds...