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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7-19-17 L Pod Whales Yesterday

this post is about Tuesday, July 18th
...here's more about the day full of L Pod whales along the west side of San Juan Island...
...they had been coming in through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, all day long...not sure if they would make it all the way in and across...had last seen them at almost dark on July 17th...
...so early in the morning on the 18th they were down island off False Bay area, spread out and foraging...after a while a few began slowly coming up island...
...Racer L-72, Fluke L-105, Kasatka L-82, Finn L-116, plus Nugget L-55 and one other were slowly going up island...but it was several hours before a small group made it almost up to the lighthouse...

...then turned and went back down island with the 'pooch in hot pursuit' (joking!)

...throughout the rest of the afternoon the whales were spread out...a few were up island along the Hannah Heights section...most were down off False Bay or South Beach...and at least one was way off shore...
...similar to the pooch...another unusual sighting...
...the mother and calf were Muncher L-91 and Magic L-122...they had gone up and were going back down island at that time...
...now it's three hours later - 7pm...and Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110

...behind Muncher L-47 and Mystic L-115 were Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110...they stopped to forage and spent about 10 minutes chasing salmon...
watching them as they worked together was fascinating...
...these two moved on north and it was apparent that others were coming north...this time it looked like all of them - The L26s, L72s, L55s, L86s, and L47s for a total of 19.  
...they were really vocal when they passed the lighthouse and loud too and appeared to be in a very social mood...

...yes, the waters of the west side had come alive...even Rhinoceros auklets had lots to eat...
...the whales didn't go very far and turned and came back down island giving those on shore the opportunity for some wonderful sunset images while watching some very active orcas...
...after dark I heard them over the Lime Kiln hydrophones from about 9:50pm, for about 20 minutes...their calls were very faint...
...by this morning, July 19, it appeared they had headed back out to sea...

...we wait again and we watch the bird activity, the fish activity and the life changes in the waters along the west side...for they may give a clue as to when the next group of Southern Residents comes in...

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