Sunday, February 21, 2021

2-21-2021 SRKWs in the Salish Sea Feb 17 and 20

 Encounters with SRKWs Feb 17 and Feb 20

(Apologies for me being so wordy...but it's been too quiet for too long!)

Early morning on Feb 17, J, K, and L pod calls were detected over the Lime Kiln hydrophones.  Based on the call volume or lack there of and the length of time, it sounded like they had come into Haro Strait from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It wasn't yet daylight...tick-tock-tick-tock...waiting for some daylight...

I spotted some whales far across in Canadian waters and did get one image...luckily of Mike J-26.  That sort of goes along with the J Pod calls that were heard early on.  There were a few K Pod calls but not many.  And then began L Pod calls.  Some of the calls are made by all three pods, so it's not necessarily easy to identify which unless you hear their (what I call) signature calls - the calls that are ONLY made by a certain pod...then you will know. But when you see them and have a visual that helps a great deal too! 

As those J Pod whales were miles from shore all of a sudden here came some whales much closer to the west side.  Lapis L-103 and Lazuli L-123.  This was just one surfacing.  I needed a closer look at the eye patches to verify because they were not that close to shore.

...they were spread out and and the seas were rough which made IDs more challenging...challenges are good!

...kept on watching and 'all of a sudden'...a female with a calf.

Knowing that Tahlequah and Eclipse had just had new offspring a few months ago...hmm...but wouldn't they be with J Pod who was miles off shore and up ahead...  I guess so...after a closer look later and matching the saddle was Surprise! L86 with a new calf!!!

This image isn't the greatest but it shows mom and calf.

The Center for Whale Research designated the calf as L-125.  This is Surprises!' third offspring.  Only Pooka L-106 and now L-125 are her living offspring.

On that afternoon the whales, or at least some of them went through Active Pass.  Some shared some beautiful video of many J Pod whales together.  Active Pass in the Strait of Georgia is a very special place when the timing just happens that you and the whales are there at the same time. However there are some very special places to see the whales off San Juan which occurred on Feb 20th.

February 20th
L Pod calls were heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones early...once again before daylight.  The calls were faint indicating distant, but they didn't really get much louder and they were not seen in the morning...hmmm...likely they were in Canadian waters miles across and coming down from the north...and only L Pod calls were heard...
So where were J and those K Pod whales?
Answer:  They were spotted coming down San Juan Channel...the traffic driving to the south end of the island was amazing - like amazingly busy!  YAY! the word was out...the whales were coming down...
 is said that the amount of snow this year will help the salmon.  Let's hope so. 

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