Tuesday, May 31, 2022

5-24-2022 Whale Warning Flag Hoisted !

The first day of hoisting the Whale Warning Flag this year!  With no wind to help display the flag he waved the flag until the boater stopped!  Yes!  Thank you!

This was just too funny to me, so I had to post this.

And finally - here's an image of new calf, J-59.  Notice that peachy coloration of the eye patch.

So wonderful to see J Pod again.  They had gone out to sea in mid-April and returned to the waters along the west side of San Juan Island on the 24th.  They were spread out near and far & leaders to trailers. Catching up after a week of just about non-stop J Pod.  Will post more images after catching up!

How wonderful it is to see them all again and all the under four-year-old kids of J Pod - Tofino J-56, Phoenix J-57, Crescent J-58 and newest calf J-59.  J-59 will receive her (yes!! her! The Center for Whale Research confirmed with an image that she is a female! Tofino, Crescent & now J-59 - hope for their future.


Monday, May 30, 2022

5-27-2022 Wild Start to the Season


This image with the ship.  Find the whale.

The days were becoming a blurr...so I had to change-up my note writing skills, which need to improve.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

5-26-22 J Pod

The last half of May began with J Pod returning from the open ocean.  It has been pretty much non-stop since then!  I'll do a blog for each of the days I have seen them since they came in.  As of May 28, they have stayed and have been traveling between the Strait of Georgia and Haro Strait, passing Lime Kiln often. I am attempting to get caught up but the whales are keeping me, and many others, very busy!

These are images only from May 26th. 

                    Just like it used to be!

A little while later they all began to come north.

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.