Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5-31-17 It Was a 'AND THEN' J Pod Sort of Day

Wednesday, May 31st

...back up a couple days to May 28th when J Pod came in, disappeared in the fog while in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and showed up off Lime Kiln lighthouse about 6 hours later...they were going north with the current and the current was going unbelievably fast!...zoom-on-by they did!!

...they went up north - somewhere - yet only seen once on the 29th and not seen on the 30th...hummm...so where might they be...
...didn't know, but decided it was time to start going to the park early and just wait...so...nice leisurely drive to the park at 6 a.m....nice leisurely walk along the long path that leads to 'the wall' at the south end of the park...
...a few minutes just taking it all in...flat calm water, chilly but the sun would be over the hill in a bit, looking across at the sun on the clouds and hillside of some of the Candian islands that dot the west side of Haro Strait...AND THEN - a whale surfaces...

...as the whale got closer I could see it was Shachi J-19!
...what luck! Once again Shachi was in the lead of J Pod...the trend is continuing...not far behind her were Slick J-16, Scarlet J-50, and Echo J-42...and the procession continued...I saw some members of each of the J Pod family groups...but no adult males...then maybe about 3 miles from shore I could see Mike J-26......AND THEN I saw Onyx L-87 and another with him...it looked like Cookie J-38...there were others offshore as well...maybe about 6 to 8 but I couldn't tell exactly who...just too far away...

...they continued down island...still in the distance...and after some time the inshore group of moms and kids headed offshore...and then I saw some of those who had been offshore, meet up...nothing fancy just that they met back together and then I watched to see what they would do next...and it looked like they were going west...
...this bald eagle interrupted my watching, however...

...then the whales adjusted their direction a bit and began heading up island...they were still miles from shore...

AND THEN...

AND THEN - they began angling toward the lighthouse!...


...that is until the last two to pass by...Oreo J-22 and Cookie J-38...here's one of them...
...I dashed up to County Park only to be totally surprised to see how close to shore some of the whales had come...
...that is kelp draping off Mike J-26...

...it's not common for the whales to come on the inside of Low Island at County Park...

...off to just one more place where I could peek through the trees...glad I did...




...and while there I noticed a whale way behind everyone else, maybe by a mile or more and way far offshore...had it not been so flat calm it would have been difficult to see him...it was Onyx...AND THEN...there was another male about a 1/2 mile behind Onyx!...and that was Blackberry J-27...

...while watching the whales way in the distance I notice a little dark looking boat far away...AND THEN I noticed they were doing something but I couldn't tell what...it appeared there was some activity going on but what I don't know...it was unusual to see something like this - things being placed in the water with whales approaching...


...AND THEN I saw Soundwatch, on the water boater education program of The Whale Museum, approaching that little black boat...
...AND THEN I saw that little black boat retrieving those things they had put in the water...Thanks Soundwatch!
...later as I was working on images from the day and I noticed what might have been the same kind of thing and it was right off Low Island at County Park...way farther south from where I was seeing that dark-looking boat...


...AND THEN...an eagle approached...

...a short while later an eagle flew in and was being 'yelled' at by Oyster Catchers...these two had some words...
...the whales continued north...which means they'll be back down...



Saturday, May 27, 2017

5-27-17 More On the Swiftsure Sailboat Race Today


5-27-17 Ts Last Monday and Swiftsure Race Today

Ts encounter from May 22nd.

Ts (aka Bigg's) killer whales were seen coming up from the open water area of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into Haro Strait...they kept on coming up...and they even passed by the lighthouse relatively close to shore and at one point even closer than anyone knew about!
...two of the first group of five - some of the T124As...
...evidently the rest of the T124As - T124A2 (T124As' second offspring), T124A2-A, and T124A2-B had been traveling behind by about a mile as they came up the west side...
...with the T124A2s was T87...T87 was closer to shore and as they were approaching the lighthouse the T124A2s began to move in toward T87...yes, everyone on shore was waiting...waiting for them to surface close...but they had a different idea...
...their down time was about 5 minutes and when they surfaced again they were inside of the cove just up island from the lighthouse...yep, from the angle of where they dove and where they surfaced they had been close to shore, but little did we know :)
...notice T87's dorsal fin tip...how it bends...back in 2010 it stood straight by the following year it began to lean.  Now it hooks even more.
..there have been some Ts in the area, minke whales, and humpbacks too...but no Southern Residents seen since they departed on May 13th...
...they'll be back...when is always the question...

...today there is a sailboat race - it's called the Swiftsure Race and it starts off Victoria, BC, out to Swiftsure Bank and back in tomorrow.
The race just started and there are over 200 boats, I was told.  oops!  there goes another cannon shot...another race group is on their way! (will post more on this)
There isn't a lick of wind out there...smooth sailing and with no wind, calm seas, and plenty of sunshine I hope they all have the binos out and are looking for an influx of wild Chinook salmon (I can hope) and for the Southern Residents!  I know a few of the folks who are racing today...good luck, have fun, and find the salmon and the Rezzies please!!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

5-13-17 It's the Whales' Story Not Ours

Saturday, May 13th
...in town giving a talk on IDing whales caused me to miss seeing them as they came down from the north...I know what they look like so I could live with that...however...I didn't want to miss pieces of their story...
...thanks to some others who posted that Shachi J-19 was in the lead as some of J Pod passed by close along the west side...I understand that others were spread across Haro Strait...
...getting to the west side as fast as I could...here's my take on what that might look like... :)
...the whales had gotten into what appeared to be a resting group...that resting line wasn't going in any direction, so I waited...and waited...the whales were near the bottom of Discovery Island and still in Haro Strait and were probably 4 miles or more from shore - difficult to tell from where I was except that they were the tiniest of killer whale dots...
...most people wouldn't stay and watch - too far - but there was a fella there watching and he was intent on watching...I liked him right away!
...I remember I had seen him and his wife the day before when the Transients went by...the are from Italy and had come to the U.S. on a trip and part of that trip to was come here to see what 'it was all about'...
...the day before they got a nice close look at the T101s...and today they got a different look and a much longer one...yesterday about 20 minutes and today about 5 hours (no joke!)
...after a good long while some whales ...looked to be heading north, up Haro Strait, but the majority of them appeared to still be grouped up...it was more that I could see so many blows at that distance, and of course the whales in basically the same location...
...that smaller group...they went up...no, now they were heading back toward the group...no, now they were heading up...and that continued on...I would guess they were foraging but I really don't know...
...so we watched and watched...a few of this 'moving about group' got up close to Baynes Channel entrance...
...glad to have my binos on monopod cause I could not have held them up for that long otherwise :)
...so he and his wife were scanning where one whale was, I was scanning where the other was farther north...crazy and totally fun...what else is better to do on a sunny, but cold, day!
..."WOW!" came out of my mouth as a male (it was either Onyx L-87 or Mike J-26 - couldn't tell from that far away)...surfaced 'in my binocs' clearly!! and he wasn't even a tiny killer whale dot!...but that was looking through the 'big eyes'...
...eventually I went home (about 5:30) and heard the whales on the Lime Kiln hydrophones - in the distance - and then when one call got louder (someone was likely just facing in the direction of the HPs) I couldn't stand it and went back down, just to make sure I wasn't going to miss them because I had gotten cold...
...I didn't and they went west...



A piece of their story...they know we don't... ...There is a TREND occurring, but will it continue?...we won't know for a while...
...the Trend (only in relationship to them passing along at/near the lighthouse) is Shachi J-19 is in the lead...today would count as the fourth or fifth time now.
...we'll just keep watching this unfold...

...now it's time for a big shout-out (if that's what it's called) to all the researchers who were involved in the 'before all this technology' studies of these whales.
...they didn't have cell phones, digital cameras, text messaging, a huge network of whale watching people, streaming hydrophones, etc....and they too watched the whales reveal themselves as to who they are and what they are all about...

...as I have mentioned before we are in the beginning of a new era and it is exciting (to me) to be able to watch as the whales reveal their adjustments after so much loss in recent years...
...let's just hope that a piece of that is seeing the whales getting fat and healthy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

5-7-17 Audio of J Pod from Saturday Encounter at the Lighthouse

The previous post is about the pass by at the lighthouse last Saturday afternoon...

...it was pretty special since the whales had been here a lot in March, a couple days into April and then gone until May 7th...


...Hope you enjoy this...it was because of how the whales passed by that made it work so well and with what the last two did, well, that was just perfect - thank you very much whales!




5-7-17 J Pod Returns After Being Gone Five Weeks

Sunday, May 7th
...it was a flat calm seas morning, blue sky, no wind...I was going out-and-about early - no matter what - it had been too long a wet and dreary time and with no word on any J Pod whales since April 4th...well that only added to the dreariness...
...that is until the word came - J Pod inbound!...but would they make it or turn and leave before they got here?...was there enough food to bring them in?...or was there not enough food to keep them on the outer coast?...it's a stressful time for all who love this community of orcas...those who don't know them may not understand...
...so here is how I felt inside, as I think many others did, today when J Pod came past the lighthouse...
...this little one wasn't the first to go by...
~~~~~
...back to the beginning...I saw her leading as they were coming up from about a mile south of the park and I quickly got to the park so I could see who came by in what order...
...it was Shachi J-19 !   This is the 3rd or 4th time she has been in the lead since last fall...
...behind Shachi by about 7 minutes was the rest of her family...
...in the same line as Eclipse and Nova but a bit offshore were Mako J-39 and Se-Yi-Chn J-45...now that is interesting...Mako and Se-Yi-Chn, both young males...hanging out together today...

...next, spread out, and a few minutes behind, were the J17s...Princess Angeline J-17 is the matriarch of this family (the J17 family group of 6 whales)...
...and her 'wildly breaching' little one (see image at top of post) were in the lead...
...Tahlequah J-35, Princess Angeline's oldest living offspring was closer in to shore and her offspring, Notch J-47 and her niece, Star J-46 were behind Tahlequah...Notch was really far offshore and Star was a bit closer in...

...next came...remember Mako J-39 from early on???...well here was his brother and sister...Blackberry J-27 and Tsuchi J-31...
...if the studies of the whales only began now one might think she was his mother and not his sister...but because the studies have gone on for 40 years we know...
...then it was 'intermission' time...it appeared that about 1/2 of J Pod had gone by...so the other half was still to come...we hadn't seen the rest of the J14s, any of the J16s or the J22s, nor had we seen Onyx L-87...
...patience...patience...it usually pays off...
..



...the rest of Slick's family was present too...and some of the J14s...
...I remember when Suttles J-40, one of the J14's was the 'person on the playground' (as I called it) making sure that three month old baby J-50 was keeping up with the rest of the family while mom/grandma tended to new baby J-52 - that was back in 2015...link here to that post.

...some folks asked it that was all...I said I didn't think so, that there might be a few others...

...they were glad they waited! Onyx and Cookie were very close to shore when they passed by along the park and the lighthouse...

...normally I might not do a 'blow by blow' as to who/which/when...but after 33 days of no J Pod, this was definitely much needed...for me...and hopefully for you too!

I understand that all the whales of J Pod were seen today...I did see all but one or two...Dave from the Center for Whale Research was out there all day long and his encounter post will state who all were ID'd...

...the biggest worry for these whales is them getting enough salmon to sustain them...that is what they eat and that is what they need...breaching the 4 lower Snake River Dams, cleaning up the waters, the shoreline habitats, cleaning out gutters and culverts so salmon are not crossing roadways on stormy days (yep - that really happens in Seattle)...and more...
...more and more people are getting involved right in their own neighborhoods - stream restoration, education, whatever it takes to get people aware and take action...
...be part of the solution to help these whales and their and our eco-systems to get healthy again...
...Is it possible? 
  Only if you think it is.
  So think it!



Monday, May 1, 2017

5-1-17 Printable Calendar for May 2017

Monday, May 1st
...sorting through some images today...
...while out with Capt. Jim...

 
 
 
...from the dock in Friday Harbor...

...while on research boat (used with permission)...

...while on the Western Prince...



...calendar for May?  feel free to print it out - full sheet jpg.
...I just looked up...

...been down with a nasty cold...glad it happened now since the Southern Residents haven't come back in just yet...hoping they give me another day or two - to heal up and for the rain to stop for at least a few days in a row!  Cheers!