Saturday, November 18, 2023

SRKWs - Comparing 11/18/2021 to 11/18/2023

 TODAY - November 18, 2023

It's nice to be back on-line... have had to stay off since Sept 5th due to a concussion and a shattered left arm. Computer light and outdoor light too bright, and they still are. And confusion - yikes, that was awful. My arm will take the longest to heal. day at a time ..still a long way to go.

So I...

LOOKED BACK TO November 18, 2021, 2 years ago. It was interesting to see that J, K, & L Pods came into the inland waters on that day and went north, which is what they did today.

2021 post: right hand column, year -2021, month November, 11/18 SRKWs returned again. click on that & it will take you to that post.

FAST FORWARD to - November 18, 2023 - I did not see or hear them and I'd like to thank others for the visual and audio they posted today. - though I cannot confirm exactly who, there were calls from each pod. Whether the 3 different groups of L were present I don't know.

importance / circumstance / just plain interesting ?!

Thanks to the SRKWs I had something interesting to post today!!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

One Day Joy the Next Day Shock & Sadness

August - one day joy and the next shock & sadness.

J Pod & the L12s were last seen in the inland waters on July 4th and last seen heading west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on July 5th. K Pod & the rest of L Pod had not come all the way in to Haro Strait yet this season. Now, 8/17, members of J, K & L pods were incoming!

It was mid-afternoon when they were seen coming up island toward Lime Kiln lighthouse. They didn't just pass by.  Instead for the next few hours there were very many energetic whales. It had been a long time since seeing such a large grouping with lots of behaviors during an extened time, going up-island & a few minutes later the same group going back, wait!...they changed direction again...and again.  At times it was challenging to keep up with all the social and energetic SRKWs. They seemed to be celebrating their return.  They know the Lime Kiln lighthouse area and often come in close to shore, passing through kelp, where salmon will often be. It appeared that a large amount of salmon had come in and most of them eventually followed the salmon north. A few images to show some of what occurred:

While so many people were glad to see the SRKWs back in the inland waters, it wasn't known that Lolita, aka Tokitae, was dying. There was great anticipation that she was coming 'home' to the Pacific Northwest after 53 years in captivity, but for some reason it wasn't to be. It came as a shock to all. There has been anger, sadness, shock, lots of questions as to why? - Why was she doing so well and all of a sudden gone? So many have written many wonderful words honoring Tokitae. 

If each of us are willing to look back... look at what she taught you over many years. There's a saying 'each one teach one'.  Yep, that's what she had done all these years but did we notice?  She is free now and her spirit will carry on and perhaps cause positive changes for those who care to think deeply about what she 'gave each of us' even if you have never been to see her. She will live on in our hearts and perhaps 'ah-ha' moments will cause you to smile because you just realized what she was teaching you. 

Sunday, August 6, 2023

J Pod & L12s and Whale Comics

 August 6, 2023

J Pod and the L12s came inland to Haro Strait at the end of June, as most are already aware.  The L12s have two calves, estimated to be a two to three months old. It was great to see all of J Pod too!  The L12s, as they have historically done, spent their time along the west side of the island and most often off the lower section of it, making it not easy to see them.  But they did come up to Lime Kiln lighthouse a time or two.  When they came in, J Pod continued north and spent time in the Strait of Georgia, as they usually do. On July 4th J Pod came back down, and the L12s were still doing their version of the 'westside shuffle'.  That evening, after dark, calls were heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. The next day J Pod and the L12s were seen in the Strait of Juan de Fuca heading west.

From July 5th through July 31st and continuing to August 6th, 6:55pm, (as of this writing) NO Southern Resident Endangered Kille Whales have been seen in these waters.   That is NOT GOOD.

They come here for the salmon and what the whales are telling us is that there are little to no salmon coming in, i.e. enough for them to follow them in. BUT that is only the tip of the iceberg...if you aren't aware of the importance of salmon to this ecosystem - yes, all of it...then you might want to look up -  137 Species Rely On Salmon - you might begin to think a bit differently.

Okay, enough of my rant.

Looking back through some old posts to my blog I realized I had forgotten about the 'Whale Comics' I had created, for a while, of course when all was abundant and appeared to be thriving.  So here are some of the silly text on images from years gone by. They made me smile if only for a short while. Hope they bring a smile to you.  Of course the first of these images is from years ago, but who knows maybe they will surprise us on August 7th - ha-ha!

Friday, June 30, 2023

June 30, 2023 Not 1 but 2 new calves in L Pod

The L Pod sub-group known as the L12s was seen with a new calf about a week ago off Tofino, B.C.

Yesterday, June 29, J Pod and the L12s came in to the inland waters late in the day and went north into the Strait of Georgia, B.C.  

Today, June 30, while researchers were looking for the new calf, they found that there isn't 1 BUT 2 new calves!  

Read about and see images of the Center for Whale Research encounter on FB or their website or in the news! 

It's great news and adds more hope for this population.  It's early and they have a lot of growing to do. We humans need to do our part for the whales and the waters in which they live. 

How To Help The Orcas | The Whale Museum

The whales, the eco-system need the humans' help to get healthy and stay healthy.  It takes everyone to do their part. If you have ever seen them, and I know some of you just saw them for your first time today and you realized that these are much more than just a bunch of whales in the water.  They are the 'people of the sea'.  Keep that thought because we all can learn a lot from these Southern Resident Endangered Orcas. Happy whale memories and happy whale watching of these magnificent beings!

Monday, June 26, 2023

6-26-2023 It looked like a Breaching Contest

 ...far behind in posting, but had to add today's encounter with J Pod.

J Pod came into the inland waters late in May and stayed for a few days. 

They went north into the Strait of Georgia for a couple days and came back south.  They were energetic and actively chasing salmon when they came in and again on the last day they were here in early June. 

(During their absence in the inland waters during most of June, several times a Humpback whale was seen. Not not sure how many actually came through or one or two who were changing direction and showing back up again! In addition, some Transient orcas were seen, some very close to shore.)

J Pod was seen going back out to sea on June 6, not returning until June 25.  They went north to the Strait of Georgia and came back south the following day, today.  They were spread out when they came into view from shore at Lime Kiln lighthouse. Here's just a brief sample from today.

Will they be here tomorrow, June 27th or will they be headed back out to sea?  Only they know the answer to that!  We'll just have to wait to find out.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May 31, 2023

Since my last posting there was a long stretch of quiet for seeing the Southern Residents.  That all changed when they returned on May 30, in the dark of night and lucky for us, with lots of chatter in range of the Lime Kiln hydrophones.

That changed quickly, when the next day after they had gone north the prior night, were already coming back down toward Haro Strait and hopefully they would come through Haro Strait and WOW!...they did! All afternoon on May 31, the whales did what is called 'the westside shuffle' spending the day going down island, up island, down island again and then late in the day up island.  Had you been listening to the Lime Kiln hydrophones you would not have heard them at all and might have thought they stayed off the lower end of the island. Oh, but they didn't! 

Glad for the web cam The Whale Museum Live Stream that streams constantly.  At about 8pm J Pod came up island clearly seen via the cam. It was around 8pm. Not a peep of a sound from them - they were going north and they were resting - their form of sleep.

That's just the beginning of the next few days, which I will post later.

Here are a few images of that first day...

sometimes going up-island...

sometimes going down...

some were having some fun...

some were going after salmon...

and we have to check on the moms and the youngest...

...and Crescent J-58 gets a close-up. Just look at her dorsal fin and how it's just like her granmother's, Shachi J-19.

...that was just the beginning of seeing J Pod multiple times over the next several days.
Thanks for reading about part of this day.  more to follow...

Thursday, May 11, 2023

5-10-23 Humpback-Transients-Eagle

Thanks to the 'heads-up' of others, it was quite a day!

Transient orcas were coming south in San Juan Channel. There are many places they can change their direction of travel. Luckily they continued down the Channel. A few images from the 900 I took. There were 19 Transient orcas, from very young to seniors. Here are a couple highlights from the passby.

below - that white is the underside of someone's right tail fluke.

As fun a day as it was...something was missing.

Though it's interesting to see so many Transients this spring, it is concerning to me that the Southern Resident orcas are not seen much.  The SRKWs should be here at this time of year, feasting on salmon that are (sould be) returning to the Fraser River, Canada. But the absence of J,K and L pods tells us a lot.

I'd rather they go where they can find enough salmon. We've seen in years past how they have come into these waters and travel, travel, travel without spending much time in any one place and then go back out to sea - an indicator of where the salmon are or are not.

So just maybe the Transients will help reduce the seal and sea lion population and they might be doing 'their part' to help restore salmon. Round about way, but every living salmon that survives is of upmost importance not only for the SRKWs, but for the other 136 species that rely on salmon.  Look it up 137 Species that Rely on Salmon.


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Early May 2023-Transient orcas

All the way through May 8, Transient orcas have been in many places among the San Juan Islands, in Puget Sound, and north in Canadian waters. I saw them a couple times, missed them a couple times too.

Here are images of two groups...actually one group was by themselves one day and then they were with the rest of their family the other day.

This family hasn't been seen traveling together, at least when seen in the U.S. waters in many years. So the second day was pretty special, seeing them all together.

While waiting, a vulture did a fly-over. 

First day of the T65As. Some had grown alot since the last time I saw them and little did I know it would come in handy the following day. Not only had T65A-3 grown alot, so had T65B-1, and they looked very similar. T65A2, adult male, has a notch near the top of his dorsal fin, which sets him apart from the other males in this family, at least for now.

A couple days later T63, T65, T65Bs and the T65As were all together. of those days a fox showed up at Cattle Pass!

He too scanned but his scanning was looking for a meal in the grass. Not sure how many people were looking, if any, at the fox because most were looking at the water...most of the time!