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Thursday, February 2, 2017

2-2-17 Transient Orcas Today!

Thursday, February 2nd
...early afternoon and one strange sound...look out and "is that a blow in the distance?"

...way in the distance at first there was one...then another...and in a few minutes there were at least 4 or 5...and they were spread out...looked more like Resident spread than a Transient group spread...
...but the sounds over the hydrophones were not giving clear evidence of Ts or Rs...hum...
...I had called Dave of CWR and let him know...he was on his way...
...but those whales hadn't continued up island, so off I went to see if they had changed direction...
...south of Lime Kiln and from the road I could see several 1/2+ mile from shore ...more than just 4 or 5...
...I need to have a conversation with both the Ts and the Rs now..just because I got a long lens does not mean for them to be farther away!

...I went up to Lime Kiln...I pushed the button at the listening station and heard them vocalizing...it was definitely Transients...
...the whales were in no hurry to go anywhere...there were several little kids and they looked to be goofing around...

...the T101s were a bit ahead in their own group...
...at one point I noticed one male up ahead of everyone else and he just kept on going...the others didn't follow but kept on at a snail's pace in an up island direction...
...I snapped a couple pics of that male...little did I know I would be quite surprised when I looked at my pictures later...it was T77A and those few pics that I took were the only ones I got of him the entire 3+hours I followed these whales from shore...
...I kept thinking he would be coming back but that's because I thought he was someone else!...
...it took the others several hours to go about 3 miles...pretty sweet, even if they were quite a distance from shore...they were vocal just about the entire time both over Lime Kiln hydrophones and later over Orca Sound hydrophones...
...the challenging lighting actually helped today, and with the calm water any nicks or notches stood out nicely...




...there were several kids and there was a lot of tail fluke action and head stands like this...

...when they began to move slowly up island I went to County Park to wait for them...there was some interesting bird interaction with the young whales...they were in the distance as you can tell...




...it was now getting later in the day and facing more to the west...made for some interesting lighting...

...10 minutes later off to the southeast...no whales just a beautiful sky...
...so these 18 orcas were going up and likely toward Vancouver, Nanaimo or somewhere up there in the Strait of Georgia...or even farther north...and since these waters are part of where they roam, they'll be here again...just don't know when...
...and up there too, as far as I think we assume, is J Pod...will they show up tomorrow or maybe not for a while...or maybe they were coming down Rosario Strait today and no one saw them - it is still winter...
...February has already been a very busy killer whale sightings month and it's only the 2nd day...
...food for our thought...let's just hope that the Transients eat a lot of harbor seals because the harbor seals eat salmon...and we'd really like there to be more salmon for the orcas.
 

 

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