Wednesday, May 11, 2022

5-11-2022 Transient Orcas Passing the Lighthouse

 





These next two are zoomed in and not very sharp in focus, but enough to be able to pick up the small notches and the 'wonky' dorsal fin, each on a different orca.


In order to learn the identifications of the whales one needs to find what pieces of information they can gather from their photos and then later go and look for that/those specific whales in the DFO catalog (for Transients/aka Biggs orcas.  When doing so with SRKWs the Center for Whale Research holds the official ID book on J, K & L pods. 
So, you got to see the whales and then you get to go and spend time (sometimes hours) figuring out who was actually present - it's just like having that encounter all over again!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

5-7-2022 SRKWs and Transients Comparison Practice

May 7, 2022 A bit of practice for the MNTP Class :)
...this is a re-post from prior years...

...many people have asked, "how do you tell the difference between an SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whale) and a Transient?"

...one of the people who asked this question and who caused me to get a bit creative is a gentleman who lives on a nearby island and has had, in the last few years, many killer whales pass by where he lives...
..he had come into the lighthouse and was asking questions and taking notes on what to look for and he was using 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 to help you get started...or as a refresher...

...and now here are some practice whales for you...
...these are only a sampling...but might 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?



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! 

Added:  Below are Southern Residents. Some individuals have a kink or twist to their dorsal fin that can sometimes help in identification or add confusion as to who one is looking at. 
How their fin tip looks from one side is the opposite of how the fin tip looks from the other side. One of the 7 images in the set is going the opposite direction as the others.
A few examples:

Some can look very different depending on the angle.
 
Each orca is an individual, not only in their dorsal fin shape, saddle patch markings, eye patch markings, nicks/notches or scratches, they are each individual in their personalities.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022

4-17-2022 Vey Chatty Transient Orcas!

 

Transients usually have a somewhat mournful sound to their calls. This time was different.  

Were there some youngsters in the group?

Had they just 'prepared a meal'?

Had they just finished a meal?

Were they a group or part of a group who aren't within hydrophone range very often?  Or some who had not been in these waters before?

I don't know, but it's fun to wonder!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

4-10-2022 What A Day Watching J Pod

 San Juan Channel and whales...hmmm...Transients maybe?

You just never know until you see...



I realize this young one with Mike looks too big to be J-59.



Now at the Lime Kiln, in 'wait mode'...and in the meantime - WOW!