Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Friday, March 31, 2017

3-31-17 Eating On the Fly!

Friday, March 31st
...after returning from the trip on the Western Prince to see the J17s and Onyx L-87 - see prior post - I came along the west side thinking Big Mama, BCY0324, might be near by...

...well, that was lucky...
...then the 'eagle adventure' began...










...and speaking of eagles...
need a printable calendar for April...


3-31-17 The J17s and L-87 Where Will They Show Up Next?

Tuesday through Friday - March 28 - 31


...late on 3/28 Tuesday the J17s (total of 6) and Onyx, ONLY, were seen coming down San Juan Channel...there were a couple boats who saw them and said that only these 7 whales were seen...
...on 3/29 Wednesday whales were seen going up President Channel...the whales seen were the rest of J Pod and NOT the J17s or Onyx...the plot thickens...at this point the whales were near the north west end of Orcas Island...
...they rounded the top and came down Rosario Strait, on the east side of Orcas Island...out on the Western Prince at noon...just in time for the seas to calm and no rain (which would come later)...we met the whales as they were coming down...





...they were spread far and it was difficult to tell if possibly the J17s and Onyx had met them during the time when no one was with them or not...so we were glad to hear later that the J17s and Onyx were seen near Pt. Wilson (Puget Sound) late on this day...
...remaining question from Wednesday - which way did the rest of J Pod come from?  They had supposedly been north but when seen they were going north...
...and were they in the area the day before when the J17s and Onyx split off?
I love the questions and we'll likely not ever have answers to them...

...on 3/30 Thursday the J17s and Onyx showed up in Puget Sound!...and the J16s showed up in Boundary Pass near Turn Pt..no other J Pod whales were sighted...the plot just got thicker...
...out on the Western Prince we met up with Mike J-26, Alki J-36 and her little one, Sonic J-52...but where were the other three?...we figured they would be ahead of the three we were with...and sure enough...quite far ahead...




...on 3/31 Friday word came that the J17s and Onyx were coming up out of Puget Sound...there was no word on any other orcas...
...out on the Western Prince Capt. Ivan said we would head in that direction...because of the tides, the sea state, and the direction of travel of the whales, just maybe it would all line up...




Thank you Capt. Ivan and Capt. Michael of the Western Prince !

...book-ending both Thursday and Friday was a humpback whale off Lime Kiln lighthouse...both in the morning and in the late afternoon!
...then about 5 pm brief transient calls were heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones and over some private hydrophones located a few miles north of Lime Kiln...since both HPs heard them at about the same time there was the possibility that the Transients were on the east side of Discovery Island or they had just come through Baynes Channel.  Why? - because there are only a couple places that both of these hydrophone locations will pick up the whales' vocalizations at the same time.
...it wasn't long before the Transients could be seen...they were far from shore...but they were there...there didn't appear to be any adult males...they were too far to ID...the boat, Imagine, was out there, so they probably have IDs on who...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3-28-17 Ship Noise

'A Key to Quieter Seas: half the ship noise comes from 15% of the fleet (deep sea vessels).

For someone who listens to the hydrophones just about 24/7 and 365, this document is awesome.

It's a must read about ships and the noise they are creating and impacts it is having on sea life.

Now that it's documented maybe it will get to the forefront and something will be done about it.  

Here's hoping...


Saturday, March 25, 2017

3-25-17 The Island Was Surrounded By Orcas Today

Saturday, March 25th
...it began with a sighting of orcas nearing the northeast side of San Juan Island...
...I headed over to Ruben Tarte Park to see if I could see them...way in the distance I could see a couple blows...and right in front of me, all over the place, were harbor porpoise...

...and oh, what a trip...wow! about sums it up...


...just about every behavior you could think of, by the whales, and so many various lighting ops - quite the trip!...




...and the beautiful, peaceful, calm images of them...

...we left the whales and headed up to Spieden Island...

...back at the dock I headed for my car hoping to make it to the southern end of San Juan Channel...

...stopped to fuel the car before returning home...walk in the house, turn on the speaker to the hydrophones that had been recording, and almost immediately I hear J Pod calls! yikes! J Pod had come back in...
...then I remembered that Andy told me that there was an opening for salmon fishing...and one more thing I remembered - I had heard those fish sounds or burps on the hydrophones last night!  duh...no wonder J Pod came back in...they got the announcements too.
...last year the hydrophones had been relocated a bit farther out and deeper, so now when you hear the whales on the hydrophones you might think they are closer than they actually are.  It used to be that you could NOT hear their echolocation clicks from much distance and now you can...
...this time instead of heading for Lime Kiln I went to County Park hoping to have not missed the leaders...
...here's who I saw...
...and here are the others that I saw...instead of IDing them I thought you might like to practice...


...they were very spread out, and I only got IDs on 7, and saw a few more...
...then things got quiet and a while later more calls began...were these the ones coming back down or were they the rest of J Pod and presumably Onyx L-87 going up?  Another mystery we'll have to wait to resolve
And here's about how I felt at the end of this day
...there certainly was, and still is, a smile on my face...

an add: a wondering...

 
 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

3/18-19/17 Orcas - Where? Who?

Saturday/Sunday, March 18/19th

...so J Pod and Onyx L-87 had gone west...a day to work on firewood...
...just got finished at about 4:30...walking into the house...phone rings..."are you hearing Transient calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones?"...
...I hit the record button...listened...waiting, waiting...then one call that sounded more like an S4, faint, but it would be J Pod if it was...bolted out the door and to Land Bank, thinking that if it was Ts then they wouldn't be close in and I might be able to see them better with the choppy seas...
...I went to Land Bank and with no hydrophone access, hearing ability was nil so where the heck do I look first - it's all white caps out there!
...I got lucky, I spotted blows just off the park, "oh, gee, the one time I don't go to the lighthouse and they are right in front of it!"...but I would later find out something that caused me to do some detective work the next day...

...David and Barbara arrived and David commented that there were a lot of echolocation clicks on the hydrophones - more likely Residents because Ts are not known to echolocate in that manner...David knows...
(note:  the hydrophones were moved last year causing changes in how close the whales might be when echolocating)
...the wind was blowing up island, so the blows were going that way too...but it took several minutes before they surfaced again...

...I saw the blows again (see the xx's on the above images) and this time a male's dorsal fin...David and Barbara went to Lime Kiln, I was right behind them and then decided to head to County Park to see if there were any other whales up ahead...
...Val and Leslie, who I had seen at Land Bank had moved on to County Park, not necessarily looking for the orcas but lucky for me Val spotted a blow far offshore...
...David and Barbara didn't show up at County Park so I wondered if they were seeing whales at Lime Kiln...(I learned later that no one had seen the whales. - correction on that - I learned even later than that, that they were seen by a few people as they passed by the park!)
...I watched these blows until they got closer, they were taking long dives...a small group coming up island, quite far off, a female with a juvenile and then an adult male...and since I had on my 'transients!' mind set, I was running through who it might be...
...I just took as many images as possible hoping I might get 'something' to ID later...
...okay, off to the next spot, a different view...

...back home listening to the hydrophones, this time Lime Kiln and Orca Sound there were clear J Pod calls a few times, distant calls that were difficult to even hear...and they sounded as if they were continuing up island...the last of the calls were heard off Lime Kiln hydrophones but only a couple and there is a location to the north where Lime Kiln will pick them up when Orca Sound doesn't...so the 'assumption brain' was still at work that they were going up...
...three pieces to this short clip from different times throughout the day...


...I had missed the first few minutes of people hearing calls and from what I did record I re-listened to the recording and found up two 'suspect' vocals that could have been Transients...on this recording is one from early on and then there was one, a bit different, from later in the day...but that was it...

...on to March 19th...'assumption brains' still going...a large group of whales spotted far offshore off the southern end of the island in the morning, well they just had to be Ts...right?
...going part way down island I was spotting to see if I could see them, when a small group - one adult male, a female and possibly one or two others, surfaced much closer than where Ivan of the Western Prince was watching that large group...these were others!
...I saw them in two surfacing sequences but too far off for any images and I didn't see them again.  An hour or so later one of the boats located whales even farther south and west - a small group of 3 and then they saw a large group about 2 miles to the south of the small group!  
...Wow! It was J Pod!...now I am wondering who was in that small group of 3...was it Slick, Mike, and Scarlet again?

...fun stuff...
...more importantly: did they come back in so quickly because they were following salmon in - assumption is yes...and did they then leave so quickly because there wasn't that much salmon that had come in?