Friday, July 14
In late June, stepping out the front door, of where I live, I heard some noise and then realized those were the sounds of gulls. That might not sound very unusual but I realized at that moment that I hadn't been seeing or hearing them prior to then.
That noise came from at least 50 gulls that were on Low Island, the small island just off San Juan County Park. The next day I counted about 70 gulls about 4 miles down island from County Park.
It was at about the same time that J Pod, Onyx L-87, and the K14s showed up.
The whales left the inland waters in the early hours on July 1.
Early each day I would go looking for the whales.
What I found was that I also began looking for gulls.
There weren't any! (Note: there are lots of gulls in other areas. I used a certain area: Haro Strait - the north end of Andrews Bay and to the south off Pile Pt. )
Each day, same time, I would count how many I saw in that area and I didn't care how far offshore they might be. I would spend at least 30 minutes in each area looking and then watched throughout the day for any changes.
It was quite strange - most days I saw none. One day, one gull was flying down and the next day one gull was flying up.
In the last week there have been several days in a row that lots of small fish, some really tiny, going up and some, a bit larger (3 or 4" - maybe), going down. You'd think there would be gulls after them. No gulls.
On July 13 there was one - just one - group of gulls that were acting as if they were dive bombing small fish. Also saw about another 15 gulls. But that's all.
Questions I have that may take time to answer:
Will the gull activity in this area increase when the Residents begin to come in?
Why is Haro Strait, in this area, so void of sea life? (void in comparison to what we usually see)
Though the Transients do not commonly use the west side of San Juan Island on any regular basis, why are they using San Juan Channel and Rosario Strait on a regular basis this year?
(The likely answer is because there is an abundance of seals and porpoises. And why are there hardly any seals and porpoises between Andrews Bay to Pile Pt.?)
Of course the likely answer is food or lack there of.
Then why is the food 'there' and not 'here'?
It seems now I am looking for any sort of ocean life indicator.
The Southern Residents have been gone for 14 days now.
It is hoped they are finding plenty of food.
One can guess that because they are not here, then they likely are finding food, but we don't know for sure.
So we wait.
One day we will hear their calls over the hydrophones again.
Their Silence is Deafening.