Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

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...

video

...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?

 

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