Saturday, May 18, 2019

5-18-19 Viewing Orcas from Above vs Viewing from the Side

On May 6th, J Pod was encountered in Rosario Strait as they came south.
They then headed west and then a short distance up the west side of San Juan Island before turning to the west and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

There have been no, known to me, sightings of them since. 

On May 6th NOAA researchers were able to get drone images of J Pod whales, and especially Princess Angeline J-17.

Here is a link - copy and paste it...

https://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/stories/2019/15_05152019-srkw-j17.html 

I learned that getting information from an above view and getting information from a side view can give different information. 



Friday, May 3, 2019

5-3-19 Whale Warning Flag and more

over the last several days...
     ...and a bit of personal venting here...

...I am sad to not see J Pod as we used to, along the west side of San Juan Island, in the Spring...

...I am glad to get to see them once in a while and to see that Princess Angeline J-17 appears to have put on more weight...and that she, Kiki J-53, and Moby J-44 (when I saw them from the Western Prince recently) were with all the other members and were not the trailers...




...it concerns me that there are some people out there who want to 'poke and prod' her to get samples of this or that...
..."hey, Princess Angeline J-17 - 'run - run' the other way as fast as you can!!!"


Stress is NOT good for you or me,
Why should it be okay to stress out the 'people of the sea'?

Princess Angeline's daughter, Tahlequah J-35, brought the world's attention to their plight...Tahlequah J-35 showed us their sadness, grief, and their strength of spirit and their caring for one another.

Now Princess Angeline has been showing us their determination to continue on in spite of all the negative things humans have done to the environment.

Most important is for us to 'get it'...to be able to translate that to others who come to see the orcas:
-their depth of family
-their determination
-the orcas' needs:



...food...in order to have that, those salmon need food too. 
...quiet seas...vessels of all sizes--shh---...quiet please 
...clean water...you should already know the drill on that...

...now that I've vented...thanks...and often it seems that the whales read my blog and show up just when I say they won't :)  
- here's hoping for salmon and lots of it wherever it is the whales can get it...



~~~

Over the last several days I have been out on the Western Prince...some days there have been whales, Transients - the marine mammal eating orcas, other days no whales but fascinating eagles, lots of Steller sea lions (that usually are gone from here by late May and return in late summer)...
...these 2 images (above and below) - taken from shore...
 ...he was lying there like a lump...
 ...some Steller sea lions have brands on them...always interesting to get images and then send them off to the sea lion researchers who will often send back a list giving information as to where the sea lion was branded, it's age and where he has traveled...
...one California sea lion and lots of Steller sea lions...no brands...
 ...a challenge to get the 3 numbers and 1 letter of the brand!

...May 3, the T123s, 65Bs, 49As, 75Bs and 75Cs...we learned who was there from those who were first on scene, so we knew who to look for...two adult males, T123A and T49A1...then moms and kids...and oh, my, so many little kids...(will post those later - they were in close groups and goofy kids...will be a challenge to figure them all out...and fun too...

 ...it was so fabulous to see so many Whale Warning Flags...it's a great tool for everyone and especially those who are out on the water and don't realize there are whales present.
The Whale Warning Flag means - whales present - slow down - pay attention and stay out of their way!
...later I discovered I had missed one of the flags - my apologies to Five Star...

...kudos to everyone who is helping to educate others...not just others on your boat - they too ask what the flag is for, but those who might just run over whales if those flags weren't flying...

...hoping to see more boats, private, commercial, local gov't too learning about what those flags mean...
...then they will begin looking for the flags!  And that's a good thing! 

...and hoping to hoist the Whale Warning Flag at Lime Kiln lighthouse one of these days soon! 
...last year, first day it was hoisted at the park!

 
...we're learning...

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

4-30-19 SRKWs and Transients Comparison Practice

Tuesday, April 30

this is a re-post from August of 2017...
...having no whales in the area of Lime Kiln recently (that's true for April of 2019 too) has given opportunity to have more conversations with people who come into the lighthouse...
...many people have asked, "how do you tell the difference between an SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whale) and a Transient?"
...one of the people was a man who lives on a nearby island and has recently had, on many occasions, killer whales pass by...as he was taking some notes on what to look for he mentioned that he uses 'post-its'...so I called him Mr. Post-Its - (I'm terrible at remembering names, that is unless it's an orca's name.)
...well, Mr. Post-Its told me that when he was younger he wanted to be a marine biologist but his life took a different turn and added that it has been all good...so, I suggested that now was his time to use some of his training from years ago and be that 'marine biologist' right from his front window...
...so for Mr. Post-Its and anyone wanting to see some of the differences, here's a general comparison sheet (printable) to help you get started...
...and now here are some practice whales for you...
...these are only a sampling...but will maybe give you an idea of some of the general differences you might see...











...the answers...you'll figure them out...sometimes you have to look for those 'tiny things' that will reveal - Transient or Resident?

Added April 2019 - I hope Mr. Post-Its is still watching because he has had many killer whales passing by his way this spring.


Some have asked for the answers:
#  1 R
#  2 T
#  3 R
#  4 T
#  5 T
#  6 R
#  7 T
#  8 R
#  9 R
#10 R
#11 T
...fun stuff!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

4-21-19 Orcas in Friday Harbor Today


Sunday, April 21st 
...interesting and busy time in the harbor late this afternoon...








...no telling where the T65As will show up (or not) tomorrow...

Monday, April 8, 2019

4-8-19 J Pod on the West Side Today!

Monday, April 8th
...J Pod showed up in Puget Sound yesterday, and were seen throughout the day...late in the day they were coming up...no, going back down...etc...so there was no clear potential direction leading into the night hours...
...not thinking they would show up along the west side, I took a different lens to 'play' around with - BIG MISTAKE!  :)
...they did show up...just after the downpour ended...much needed rain and much needed seeing J Pod whales...

I evidently messed up the some settings because most images were really out of focus...so I decided to get artsy with a few of them...

...Echo tail slapped her way through the park!
..most of the whales were far offshore, but not all...there the last group to come by were Princess Angeline J-17, Moby J-44, and Kiki J-53.
...pretty neat too, Alex, an adopter of Moby J-44, was there when Moby surfaced near the lighthouse...needless to say, he was quite happy he was there! 
...pretty wonderful to see the looks on people's faces - their big smiles - at seeing orcas in the wild for the first time in their life...I know it makes me smile as I sure it does others who know just how special it is to see them.
...audio clip of some of their sounds from today...
...and my most favorite picture of today was taken by a friend and researcher...he said, "I presume that's you in the red jacket."   

me: big smile when I saw that!  Thank you, Mark!!
 



Friday, March 29, 2019

3-29-19 Transients for Three Days

March 27 - 29

Thank you Western Prince for taking me along!  

 March 27...Rosario Strait

March 28...Dungeness Spit
March 29...Samsun Narrows

...like WOW!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

3-26-19 J Pod Spending Time Among the Islands

March 26th

...in the early morning I heard faint transient calls over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...not like the unusual ones from the prior day.
That was at about 8:30 a.m. but no transients were seen until the next day and they were in Puget Sound - could have been them...
...then today, at about, noon someone came upon J Pod!

J Pod was spread out in Boundary Pass...they made their way toward San Juan Channel and headed toward Friday Harbor...before reaching FH, they turned around and headed back north and this time it looked as if they were going to continue up President Channel...

...as spread as they were, added to a challenging day for images...


 ...three of the four belonging to the J16 family...


...to see who was with who was interesting...
Mako J-39 and Shachi J-19 were loosely traveling together...
Eclipse J-41, Nova J-51, and Alki J-36 were traveling close together...
...we could see Mike J-26 in the distance traveling by himself...then later with his family...
...and others were too far across to even see them...
...the whales were very surface active today...

...we all just hope they are finding salmon...not sure how much there is around but every salmon they can eat will help them survive...