Saturday, March 28, 2020

3-28-2020 A Southern Resident Oca Hug

...current times... 
...looking back several years... 






Sunday, March 22, 2020

3-22-2020 How Many Critters...

Today, while keeping myself away from others and doing my part to stay put...
I had a bit of a creativity distraction...
Nothing fancy but gave me a brain-break from all the concerns...




I hope that each of you are doing okay, that you are staying home, keeping away from others, etc.

Be well and stay safe.


Monday, March 9, 2020

3-9-2020 J Pod Had Their Own Fishing Derby Today

Monday, March 9th

...when J Pod went north on Feb 29...I had written this about them...
...it seemed fitting, as this is the time of year they go to where the salmon up in Canada are going after the herring run...(the whales are after the salmon and the salmon are after the herring)...
...they were seen way up that way and a couple days ago were seen coming back this way...
...so today when they were seen coming down it wasn't surprising...
...but then they did what they have done many times in past years - at this time of year - and that is go over to the east side of San Juan Island where every year there is a salmon derby...well, the whales have their own salmon derby which it appears they made have had today...
...who knows maybe it will continue tomorrow too or back up north...

...I saw the whales from a great distance but glad to, so as to not interfere with 'their derby'...and with a couple friends we had a great time watching what was going on and were surprised when the whales did what they did...







...not sure who 'won' their derby, but we hope each one did with plenty of salmon for each and everyone one of them!


Saturday, February 29, 2020

2-29-2020 J Pod Can Only Do This Once Every 4 Years

Saturday, February 29

...it was about 8a.m. when I decided to take a walk...luckily it was along the road on the westside of the island...
...and luckily I didn't get very far when I happened to see a blow in the distance - just one blow...hmmm...trees and the angle of the shoreline didn't give me much opportunity to see another, to figure out direction of travel...
...so at a 'quick-step' (ha-ha) I made it back to the lighthouse and Oh, My...here came a whale!
...once again just one whale...oh, but that one whale was important to me - It was Shachi J-19... 
...in the lead...why important?...because she became the replacement for Granny J-2 when Granny died in late 2016.  It still is not known if her leadership role is temporary or permanent and what if any changes may occur because of this...and what does temporary mean to the whales, anyway?

...I soon saw another and another coming up about 1/4 mile behind her and a bit more offshore...Eclipse J-41 and Nova J-51...
...then a few others...the whales were spread out...it was J Pod, of course...
...here came two males...Blackberry J-27 and who?
...it's Cookie J-38!
Behind them was Se-Yi-chn J-45...I remember when I first saw him - he was a brand new baby - the first newborn I had ever seen and that was back in 2009 and it was from shore at the park...

It took a while to locate others...there was a group offshore by more than a mile...
...the whales were moving at a steady pace, going up island...and then Blackberry and Cookie stopped and were actively foraging...

...they were farther to the north when the following echolocation clicks began...very loud...and then Alki J-36 surfaced...!
...can't be sure but it might have been her...



...the seas were choppy at first and eventually settled...the whales continued north...
So what is it they can only do once every four years?
The answer is:  travel in the Salish Sea on February 29.






Wednesday, February 26, 2020

2-26-2020 J Pod and a Harbor Porpoise Encounter

Wednesday, 2-26-2020

J Pod came back in this morning...that wasn't expected...and what my pictures showed that I took from really far away wasn't what I had expected either!

J Pod calls began over the hydrophones.
As soon as I got to the shoreline I saw three harbor porpoise moving north past the lighthouse.  Moments later another group.
Not long after a couple sea lions appeared traveling the same path as the harbor porpoise - in close to shore, moving north.

That reminded me of 2005, April, before hydrophones were on-line.
It was late in the day and I was sitting on the rocks just enjoying the late afternoon, when along came a group of porpoise and soon behind them a few sea lions...and little did I know behind them was J Pod!

It didn't happen quite that way today, but there may have been a reason the harbor porpoise and the sea lions were moving away from the orcas.  It wasn't until later when I was looking at the few images I took today of the whales, when I noticed something was different about that group I was watching.  I was down island a mile or so, and this one group appeared to be resting, no maybe foraging, or just goofing around.

I had no idea until I looked at my images several hours later.  So here they are. I was really far away from the whales but you can clearly seen a harbor porpoise.  Looks like Tofi J-56 was in the mix too...maybe getting an education about harbor porpoise!  ha!




...the whales have a history of interactions with harbor porpoise...maybe the researchers, who soon arrived, got to see more than I did...

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

2-25-2020 J Pod Came Down in the Early Hours

Tuesday, February 25th


04:15 oh, so early and oh so extremely faint were the calls of J Pod whales.  As faint as those calls were I thought that maybe they had come down Rosario Strait and were crossing over to the Strait of Juan de Fuca...so here I was, taking my time, after all it was very dark outside...too early to go anywhere,
...but time can go by quickly when you have your eyes and ears focused on what you had recorded...
...it was now about 7 a.m. and 'all of a sudden' there were faint echolocation clicks coming over the Lime Kiln hydrophones. How about just throwing on anything I could to keep warm and getting out the door...asap!
...but when I got to the shore I saw only one whale...well, thank you very much, you're the first whale I have seen in a month!  She was about 1/3 mile offshore going down island slowly and had already passed the lighthouse...I could see no others...hmmm...
...couldn't stand it - had to go down island a short way to see if others were there..I saw her again, still going down island but no others in view...
...scanning farther offshore and everywhere I thought I saw an adult male as he dove...but he was so far across Haro Strait that I could not confirm...

...then I heard a few brief J Pod calls off Lime Kiln...I could never locate who was 'attached' to those calls. 

...so they had not come down Rosario...they had come down one of many ways that would take them to Haro Strait...I say it that way because they were north of Nanaimo a couple days prior.
...they have come down through the Canadian Gulf islands on rare occasions, but only they know for sure...
...I saw a research boat go down island...hmmm, but I didn't think the whales went that way...

...so it was now only about 8:30 and there were no more hearings of vocals of the whales...but at 11:30 some strange sounds began.  I immediately sent a short clip to the researcher and he contacted a research vessel out there...then he asked me where J Pod was...I made a call and learned that they were in the Strait of Juan de Fuca - way out of range of whatever this vessel noise was...

But then came vocals of the whales at the same time as this weird sound was happening.  Strangest thing is that it appeared they were playing a recording from that vessel of the whales...
...this went on until 2:10 pm when they ended and then moved on their way...

...I was scanning and scanning, the water was calm, so if whales had been out there I should have been able to see them...and if you looked at what came over the hydrophones did not appear on the spectrogram like 'real' vocals would have...
...what is most curious is why was that vessel broadcasting vocals of orcas into the water...I didn't think anyone was supposed to do that.

...in addition K Pod had come in with J Pod on Feb 19th but K Pod has not been seen since that day and they could be anywhere, as could L Pod...so...

...I would imagine that that vessel knew that J Pod was far away...they likely had been in contact with someone...just a guess, but I can't imagine any research group doing this...so that's why.

Crazy day...
I saw a whale...
Only the second time in 2020...
Hopefully the third time won't be too long from now!









Saturday, February 22, 2020

2-19-2020 J Pod and K Pod Vocalizaiing over Lime Kiln hydrophones

February 19, 2020

Listen and read the text on the clip.
Then...
...just use one of your senses - close your eyes - to be totally focused on what you are hearing.

Special moments these are.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

2-12-2020 The Octopus and the Sea Lion

Wednesday, February 12th

2-14 - just got it confirmed  -  that is the eye of the octopus!!! (3rd and 4th image) WOW!

A quiet day...a couple harbor seals...but then...



 This image shocked me...was I looking at the eye of the octopus?  I had to go look up images of one..yes, I think that is!
..the more I looked at it the more it looks like an arm looped up. Maybe an arm is wrapped around the eye!



At first it was difficult to tell what that sea lion had...but there were too many long pieces (arms), so it was likely an octopus...quite fascinating to watch this sea lion right near the lighthouse, take this octopus and the force used when flinging it.
I thought they were called tentacles but I learned octopus have arms, not tentacles.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Mega L-41 In the True L12s' Style

2-6-2020
THIS IS A REPOST FROM SEPTEMBER 2015 WITH VIDEO ADDED

MEGA (L-41) IN WAITING MODE...BUT WHY? 

watch the video  Mega in his true form 

then read the recap of that encounter...

thank you, Mega, for those moments...

a recap...
...the whales who had gone north two days ago stayed north...
...the whales who had come up late in the day and back down again two days ago have not been seen since...
...but the L12s have been around...and yesterday they stayed down island all day long...I got in all my exercise for the week - from one overlook to a hike out to a point...oh, just missed them there...back up and to another point...got there and they had just turned back around...
...by late afternoon when they came up I could see Windsong L-121, Calypso's young calf, traveling with his mom and sister...so I knew the L12s were present...
...the L12s appeared to be spread three to four miles...

Wednesday, September 30th
and now to today...
...as the fog was moving up...I could hear the motors of boats but I couldn't see them...then just ahead of the fog, by not much, I heard a blow and saw one whale diving...and then the fog obliterated anymore of that...
...by the afternoon I went and checked...I had no idea where they might be...how lucky is that - dorsal fins coming up island...but would they make it to the park or turn around again...
...inching my way up island in the car, they kept coming and finally it was off to the park...if they made it up - great...if they didn't - that's okay too...
...and what they did next was really 'fun'...
...Mega L-41 and Ocean Sun L-25 were traveling out in front...they were not close to one another but not very far apart either...
...if you've been to Lime Kiln Pt. State Park, then you know 'the wall'...that's where I was...Ocean Sun surfaced quite a distance offshore and I figured Mega would too...NOT!
...he surfaced already in Deadman's Bay...startling these two people who were working on a puzzle...

...it was awesome!...he made a slow, meandering pass through the bay angling back down island...


...next comes the two moms and the three kids...one which is Windsong L-121...they were not in close but they were goofing around enough to keep the people watching...and offshore too was Mystery L-85, coming up behind them...
...that's when Solstice and Spirit entered from 'stage left,' surfacing right in front of a bunch of people and very close to shore...and none of us had seen them coming!...they kept on going and out of my view past the lighthouse...

...Mega had reappeared coming back up island...

...but he didn't go any further than the wall/entrance to that bay...he was moving so slowly, so very slowly, changing direction, and not going anywhere...and it ended up that he was waiting for Ocean Sun to join him...



...she was approaching...he turned...both were now under the surface and then they surfaced together slowly going back down island!
...the moms, kids and Mystery also turned...and slowly made their way back down island...

...someone asked if they had now all gone by...today I didn't have to listen for that special sound of an inhale that Ino L-54 makes (see 9/28 post)...today I only had to count...and no they hadn't all come back down...20 minutes later Spirit and Solstice came back down island...

...a total surprise for everyone...and so sorry for those folks who had stayed at the park during most of the fog and had to leave...probably about 30 minutes before the whales showed up because they had a cruise ship to get back on to!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

1-23-2020 Rafting Sea Lions

Thursday, January 23rd

…"What is that?"  It's a barking California sea lion...running now...to the shoreline hoping to see which way he is going, etc...just cause...

...off in the distance I see him and hear him as he continues down past the south end of the park...
...and then a Steller sea lion surfaces just to the up island side of the lighthouse...
...and a friend also sees a California sea lion in front of the lighthouse!

wild!!  ...these two were going down island, but I didn't see the Steller sea lion again...and then I began to wonder if I had...

...well, the answer came a little while later, when a raft of sea lions slowly moved up, close in to the shore...I was stunned!
...how many...was the question...it looked like about 8...but not...and at a general look it looked like California sea lions...

...see how many you can count...how many flippers?...front flippers (the ones 'pointing the way')...and the back flippers (the ones that look like they have toes (well, sort of)...how many heads...  


...something I caught on the video, two sea lions doing something together...not sure why they were doing that, but I learned that might not be that uncommon...but what seems uncommon is to see a raft of sea lions (even though a small group), floating up island with the current...
It was a slow motion - wow!


...just before the raft made it to the lighthouse, one of the sea lions reacted to something on the shore...he barked one loud bark and all of them dove quickly...a few minutes later they began to surface...which was nice...to attempt to see age categories...



 ...here's the Steller sea lion who was in the mix...

...but when I went through the images it looked like there were two Stellers...

...the arrows are point to the four heads of CA sea lions at the surface at the same time...

...and then there was this adult harbor seal who watched the sea lions as they continued on by!


...I kept watching for the sea lions to return, but the weather and sea state wasn't the most cooperative...so I missed them...I found that out when a friend called to let me know they were rafted up along the mouth of Deadman's Bay, which is where they had come from in the first place!