Do Not Copy

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Monday, December 4, 2017

12-4-17 A Busy Whale Day for December

Tuesday, December 4th
Southern Residents and two different humpbacks, of two different sizes, and at two different times, is about the easiest way to explain the day.

...the day began for a go, look, see what might be out there.
It wasn't long before an adult humpback showed up along the west side, close to shore, going down island.  But it took a while to get an image, because it was so close to shore that trees and houses were blocking my view!
I was able to get one image that gave me dorsal fin shape, but that was it.
...it was off to town and home again...walking up to the porch out in the distance I see a huge splash! ...it was a humpback and it was slowly going down island...off to the park...
...this humpback was more active and appeared to be feeding...
...this was a little humpback...didn't know if it would come this way or not...
well, here's the answer...
...that fluke let me know this little one was likely going to be down for a few minutes...now where would it appear next?....off from the front of the lighthouse, having made a big loop and heading back up island...
...I knew that J and K Pod whales were headed in but didn't know how far they had gotten...little did I know their faint calls began over the Lime Kiln hydrophones while I was watching the little humpback!...

...waiting, listening, waiting, listening...their calls were very faint and they would not likely be able to be seen before dark...but I knew they were out there...
...getting home I had both the Lime Kiln and the Orca Sound hydrophones going...I could hear faint calls of the SRKWs, J and K, and likely Onyx L-87...

...their calls did not get much louder, and then, all of a sudden I heard a humpback sound...at first I thought it was on the Lime Kiln hydrophones, but I was wrong it was over the Orca Sound hydrophones - glad I was recording so I could verify which location...and then this humpback - I am guessing it's the little one 'carried on' for close to an hour...and from the sound of it he/she was in the same area the whole time...

...what an interesting day it was!



12-4-17 Oh, The Holiday Rush - video

I post this each year.  Enjoy.
 

Friday, December 1, 2017

12-1-17 Another Busy Hydrophone Day

Friday, December 1st
1:00 in the morning
6:15 in the evening

SRKWs in the morning
Humpback in the evening

Definitely a great way to begin December!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

11-23-17 A Good Day to Check In On the Foxes

Thursday, November 23rd
...with the sun shining (finally), light wind, and the unlikeliness of the SRKWs being in the area...it was off to South Beach to see what the foxes were doing for Thanksgiving...perhaps looking for some rabbit to feast on...
...the rabbits were in abundance and this one popped up from his/her rabbit hole...
...







...the fox set up at another rabbit hole and I went home to a vegetarian dinner!
 

 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

11-18-17 Lime Kiln Hydrophones From Overload to Complete Silence!

Friday and Saturday, November 17th and 18th

Friday:
...when I was awakened at about 3:00 a.m. to a humpback making sounds over the Lime Kiln hydrophones, the sounds were intermittent, and it didn't sound like practicing a song...but the humpback just kept on, every so often, I was awake now...
...good thing...because all of a sudden there were J Pod calls...though very faint...I didn't hear any K or L Pod calls at this point.
...I was awake now...


...by about 5 a.m. the calls had ended...
...there had been J Pod calls, some K and some L Pod calls...
...direction?...no way of knowing...

...later in the day I reviewed the recording from last night(11/16)...and I was so surprised to find that there were calls at (general time):
- 10pm - a few 
- 11pm - midnight - several over the hour
- midnight to 1 a.m. - almost the entire hour!

...then no calls until about 2:50 a.m.
...that's when the humpback came on the scene.
...and somewhere in it all, what sounded like a barking California sea lion.

It was a very busy night!

Saturday
...8:00 a.m. I hear one high-speed burst of what may have been echolocation clicks, lasting no more that a second...
...once again - hit the record button and bolt out the door, this time remembering to take my cell phone with me...
...I get to Lime Kiln lighthouse and for some reason, instead of my usual of looking south first, I looked north - Oh, my!  I see blows! 
...then I see three killer whales miles and miles away...
...listening to the hydrophones I hear nothing...
...the next three hours I watch as these totally silent whales make their way down Haro Strait...I couldn't tell how many but way more than the three I had originally seen...
...no vocals, no echolocation clicks...they didn't look to be in a resting pattern as they were spread out, traveling in small groups...


...I know better than to try to ID off of 'killer whale dot' images on my camera...but I looked and at one point one looked like T2C2 because of the shape of his dorsal fin from his scoliosis of the spine...but when I got the image on the computer at home it wasn't even close...looked more like another was surfacing at the same time was all..

...then when Mark Malleson saw the killer whales he let me know there were a lot more than I thought...so I looked at my camera images again...and there - an open saddle patch!
...the Residents had come down island for over three hours completely silent over the Lime Kiln hydrophones!  I had recorded the entire time and was listening as well during those hours, and nothing.  This evening I went back and listened to the three hours and nothing!  Silence!

You may need some really strong glasses to even see the whales in these images!  I know I needed some really strong binos just to see them. 










...hope you enjoyed your journey down Haro Strait with the whales today :)


...I went along the road and pulled off...a few minutes later Capt. Jim pulls up and we chat...as he is leaving he said he had room on the boat if I wanted.  "I'll be there!"
...gee, maybe I'd get to see who really was out there today! 

Adding a footnote:  While watching the whales coming down Haro, there was a person standing nearby who received a text message that said:  whales were seen between Cattle Pass and Eagle Cove and they were seen from a float plane.
That might have been the K Pod whales who were way south the day before.  
There were plenty of whales that came down Haro but not enough to equate to J Pod, the L54s, and K Pod - which would have been over 45 whales. 
 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

11-16-17 J Pod Was Here Today !

Thursday, November 16th

...I had been thinking about when the whales showed up the day before and the day of Thanksgiving in 2013...and then I thought about how I almost had a scheduled today to dig into some archives with someone...

...well, glad it's not Thanksgiving yet...and glad the archive-digging didn't happen...
...I am now about convinced that J Pod reads my emails!

...at just before 8 a.m. I heard a call that made me think that J Pod was here...I bolt out the door and go to Lime Kiln where I have a good scanning view...the calls were not in close but they were clearly in Haro Strait and not terribly far away...
Oh, and the Park Rangers put up the Christmas wreaths on the lighthouse yesterday...so I took the opportunity...
...I continued down island and then up island and scanned for the next hour and a half...nothing...
...I get back home and play back the recording and there I find 3 calls, spread apart by several minutes: 8:35, 8:50, and 8:58 a.m. and that was it.  

...I continued listening and nothing...
...1:00pm Capt. Jim calls me to tell me that J Pod whales are coming down Haro Strait but are north of Sidney Island, some on the east side of Haro...and later I find that some are on the west side of Haro...
...that might explain who I heard in the morning and why the calls were so brief and spread...I certainly don't know the answer for sure...however, it might explain why the calls were so few and far between...the Lime Kiln hydrophones will pick up calls between some of the Canadian Gulf Islands...example...the first time documented is when I was at Lime Kiln and Simon was with Transients. They were behind some of those islands and when they crossed one of the passes, I think it's Hughes Pass, the Lime Kiln hydrophones would pick up their calls when they were in that opening, which was only for a few moments...
...so maybe J Pod was 'wandering' around in and among some of those places earlier in the day...
...I went to County Park to watch and wait...the whales stalled out at Kellett Bluff and looked to be spread across for three or more miles...they were foraging and not going anywhere...glad I was dressed warmly :)
...after about 1 1/2 hours a few began moving down island...they were not in close, but they were here and appeared to be eating...
...soon I went to Lime Kiln to watch them...still spread out all across the strait..
...I only saw a few, Slick J-16, Scarlet J-50 'catching up' again, Echo J-42 who was with Scarlet for a while, then she moved offshore...I also saw Shachi J-19...several males in the distance...could only make out Mike J-26...



...here's a sample of what they sounded like this afternoon...

...and the end of the day...well it was nice to see the whales...know they are under that beautiful sky...


...who knows where they will be tomorrow...
...we don't know for sure, unless someone up north has seen J Pod at least 8 days ago...I say 8 days because they can circumnavigate Vancouver Island in 10 days...and it has been 14 days since we last heard from J Pod...That was on the Lime Kiln hydrophones and it was thought they had gone north...
...maybe they were feasting on that strong chum salmon run, that was really good in many locations or maybe they had heard about the huge Chinook salmon that had made it to the Wonnack River, Canada...
...glad the mystery of 'where had J Pod gone' is solved enough to know they were here today!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

11-2-17 Busy Days for the Lime Kiln Hydrophones

Thursday, November 2nd

...October 30th...in my last post J Pod calls had been on the Lime Kiln hydrophones very, very briefly...that was it...
...October 31st...they were evidently not seen anywhere...
...November 1st...they were heard over the Port Townsend hydrophones late in the afternoon...and nothing after that...
...November 2nd...today...stormy day...nothing on the Port Townsend or the Lime Kiln hydrophones...AND THEN...4:32pm, J Pod calls 'burst' over the Lime Kiln hydrophones! Wow! What?! They were in Haro Strait...but where...
...off at a run to Lime Kiln to see if I could find them...
...as I was listening to their calls, I heard some K Pod 'kitten' sounding call...I also heard a few of the L Pod 'up-tick' call (S19)...and of course J Pod calls...
...The L54 group makes the 'kitten' call too, but these calls continued on for so long, that it seemed that some K Pod whales were present...
...difficult to know which part of the 2 1/2 hours of recording to share, but here's a bit of what went on...


..dilemma - rough seas and whales miles from shore!

...many want to know who was there...well, with that situation it is impossible to tell who was present, but we do know that some J Pod whales were present, think some K Pod whales were present and know that some L Pod whales were present...from the calls, the K Pod 'kitten call' (S16) was quite dominant, J Pod was as well...and there were many times throughout with echolocation clicks...L Pod signature call (Up-tick) was not as dominant, but I did hear some L Pod calls that we don't hear all the time. Those echolocation clicks - foraging!  

...fast forward to November 4, (because I am actually writing this on 11/4) the L54s showed up today coming down Waldron Island (thank you San Juan Safaris for that!)...which adds another piece to the puzzle...were they here on the 2nd or were they somewhere else on that day?!  If they were here and they were part of the participants in that spectacular audio encounter, did the others go north as well?  If they did it seems they were very quiet when they did...


So it's a mystery and might just remain that way...doesn't matter, we need to focus on the salmon for these whales and repairing this ecosystem too, so these whales will be able to survive.

...why are the whales here now?...well, it seems that chum salmon are still coming in...on November 1st there was a fishing seiner on the west side. I only saw the one and it was setting its net. There could have been more down island out of my view, but I don't know. I also learned from Simon of Ocean Ecoventures that there were fishing seiners up near Samsun Narrows, where evidently chum salmon are as well, why else might seiners be there...that might explain why J Pod went up Trincomali Channel on Oct 24th...it's has not been a 'normal' route for them...

...in addition, in the last few days the birds, bait fish, and seals have been quite active, and next in line should be salmon coming through, though they are not easy to spot...
...HOWEVER...the whales seemed to be doing lots of foraging...lots of echolocation clicks over the Lime Kiln hydrophones over that long, spectacular listening session...

...interested in banning open net pens in Washington State?...upper left column on this blog is a link to a petition...it's not my petition...but I signed and think it would be a good thing to allow the Salish Sea to be free of open net pens of farmed Atlantic salmon...just trying to help the author of the petition get those signatures to take to the State.

...

Monday, October 30, 2017

10-30-17 Lime Kiln Hydrophone Happenings

Tuesday, October 30th


...ever since the first ever recording of a singing male humpback back in October 2013, there is at least one that is heard over either the Lime Kiln or the Orca Sound hydrophones in October and/or November...




October 29...2:08a.m. what sounded like a male singing humpback...first one of this season to be heard over the hydrophones...
 ...at about 5:45 a.m. it was singing again, but you could tell it was farther away...when it got to be daylight there were reports of five or so humpbacks south of the lighthouse...two of them came up island...and then not long after two came up island, in a bit closer, but we couldn't figure out if it was the same two, who had made a wide circle, or two others...
...J Pod was still up north and starting to come back down...
October 30...
...J Pod was reported to be out by Race Rocks...it appears they had come down from the north quietly in the night - one person did hear some faint whistles the night of the 29th...it likely was them coming down...and by mid-afternoon I learned the were facing east (inbound) but not going anywhere...
...so when at 10:20pm I heard one single J Pod call over the Lime Kiln hydrophones - wow! - maybe they are coming back in...

...that call was clear but faint...then over the next hour there were a few more, only two of which were clear...but that was it...too much ship noise...I figured the whales might be at the east end of Constance Bank, but that is just a guess...8 seconds of 3 faint calls - that's all!






...it's a wait and watch/listen for the whales...
AND
...it's a time for action to recover the wild stocks of salmon...

It is urgent that there be enough salmon for the SRKWs.  It is their ocean and their waters and the humans have done more destruction than stewardship of these waters. And it is now time for that to change by way of actions of restoration.   


 



Saturday, October 28, 2017

10-28-17 Going Off Island Guarantees Whales!

Saturday, October 28th

...ha-ha-ha...yes, I rarely go off island and only if I absolutely must...one time I left the island only 1 time over a 7 year period!
...October 24th - this time I had to go off due to a transmission issue with my car...made the ferry reservation - 5:45a.m. which meant I needed to be there by 5:00a.m.
...I was worried about not waking up to the alarms (yes, multiple) I had set...
...BUT I didn't need to worry because the whales woke me up a little bit before 2 a.m.!  
...I heard calls for only 2 minutes...several of what sounded like K Pod calls, one Onyx call, and one L Pod up-tick call...but the absence of J Pod calls had me curious...for the next 2 & 1/2 hours I listened and not a vocalization of any kind...
...I had to leave for the ferry...
...I sent to the Center of Whale Research what I had heard and out the door I went...

...off island...waiting...
...for the 2:40 ferry to come back to the island...I learn that the L54 group - ah-ha! - those were the ones making the K calls - yep, they have a history of doing that...anyway, the L54s had been a good ways north, behind J Pod...they had flipped and were coming back down...
...oh, no!...would I make it to the west side before them!  
...on the ferry...I find out the L54s are still far north...but I went to County Park to just sit, after a stressful day...no whales just peaceful...

...that evening I looked at what I had recorded while I was off island and wouldn't you know, 20 minutes after I had left the house for the ferry, the whale began vocalizing - for the next 2 1/2 hours!...and there were the J pod calls...and at the end of them were the L54 group (based on what I was hearing)...so I figured that what I heard at 2:00 am. was them coming across from Discovery...and the 2 1/2 hours of calls they were coming up the west side.

...the next day I learn the L54s were the last to go north and they were 'outside the door' foraging - geesh!...now I know why I don't like to go off island, the whales must know HA!

...well, it was at 5:45 a.m. on the 25th that the L54 group made it to the Lime Kiln hydrophone range...but it was dark, so, so much for that!
...that afternoon a whale watch boat saw the L54 group off the southern part of the island...
...that night at about 11pm a friend heard a few blows, but couldn't be sure if it was orcas or not...hummmm.

...nothing...nothing...nothing...
...then late in the day on Oct 27th, a Canadian whale watch company, way north, somewhere near the Campbell River 'ran into' J Pod (and maybe the L54s?) on their way home.  So sweet!! 

I haven't seen any of the SRKWs in many days...one of the most fun things I saw from these days of wandering around - on island - is this...


Monday, October 23, 2017

10-23-17 A Bit of Harbor Seal - Video

Monday, October 23rd

...during this year, from time to time, I have posted about the waters on the west side of San Juan Island and how something is wrong, to me anyway.  I've noticed it all year. Changes would occur when salmon came through.  And since that was few and far between, it was pretty bleak on the west side - a stretch from about Hannah Heights to the north part of Andrews Bay.  I didn't do it all summer but most of it.  When the SRKWs came in, most of the time, ahead of them there were some changes, but not like in years past.

And with the recent Chum salmon run there was a huge difference in other marine life - because one of the missing links - salmon - a lot!! - were passing through!

So this morning when I noticed some bait fish and gulls I went and looked outside.


Here's a short video.  It's on Vimeo.  Just click on the link

Sunday, October 15, 2017

10-15-17 The Whales Came In and They Ate!

Sunday, October 15, 2017
...a sunshiny morning, no clouds for the day...by noon there were whales coming up island!
...what a surprise and it was J Pod too!...and the L54s and Nyssa L-84 and Wave Walker L-88 had come in with J Pod and Onyx L-87.  Now that is extra special...
..Nyssa was way far offshore when I was first taking pictures...I had no idea it was him until I looked at my images later!
...a while later he was foraging in one direction while Mike J-26 was going in the opposite direction...

...there were salmon and that's why the whales were here today...perhaps again tomorrow but that's 'salmon dependent'...

...it was about 12:30 when they were off Lime Kiln...spread way out - inshore and up to a couple miles offshore...they were spread from the north to the south...eventually the last of the whales passed by at about 1:30...







...whale watching boats were way north but they weren't going too far...
...



...there was a disturbance to the encounter...it was a boat that was coming down island very fast and it wasn't paying attention.  In the State of Washington, just in the last couple months they passed a law about Distracted Driving...how about making a law against Distracted Boaters.  This is about the closest I ever seen...
...it took the boater a few minutes to slow down, well, actually he stopped and watched the whales...at one point I was feeling that people, including me, on shore shouldn't have motioned the driver the slow down, but you can't just sit there and watch a potential problem happen or do you?
...when he decided to leave he started up and went 'at speed'  - sort of like peeling out of a parking lot...looks like there needs to be some education about noise pollution too...

...back to enjoying the whales as they continued down island...

...when I last saw the whales they were a good way down island and so were the purse seiners...wonder where they will be in the morning...same place?

...if you saw Southern Residents today, consider it very fortunate...the whales need salmon filled days more than just once in a while...