Have You Seen Any of These?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Killer Whales / Orca Sightings and Dolphin Update

Dec 4 - Exciting day! Around 10:30am Orca were spotted around Black Point, just south of Powell River. By 12pm they were rounding Grief Point and in front of Powell River. By 2:30 they picked up the pace and headed West, out towards Vancouver Island. Campbell River people should keep their eyes open.

The weather had smartened up and not only did we have calm seas and sunshine, there was a large number of Orca / Killer Whales to get out with. I made it out there, joined by a neighbour to get some identification photos. They were very spread out from Texada to Harwood Islands as well as closer to the Powell River shore so a definitive count was impossible. We did manage to determine that there were definitely over 20 animals, so more than one pod. We spotted at least 4 large males and 1 pretty young calf with it's mother. I don't think I have every seen so many Orca breaches (at least 12 full out of water leaps) during one short sighting.

I will post a comment to this update once I've figured out which pods these were from, but from the water it certainly looked like the A12s were in the mix. There's a fair bit of underwater noise with the construction of the North Harbour, mill, tug boats and ferries, so could not pick up any good vocals to help with pod confirmation. What I did hear though, was not the typical A clan calls.

There were also some either dolphins or porpoises with them, but no-one could confirm which species since there were no large leaps which would usually indicate Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Seeing Dolphins or Porpoises traveling with Orca in itself would confirm that these were Resident (fish eating) Orca, since Transients are meat eaters. Out on the water, I only spotted some smaller splashes which seemed to disappear.

Dec 1 to 3: There were no sightings that I'm aware of, but the weather was not conducive to easily spot anything.

I also received a late report that there were Pacific White Sided Dolphins that were spotted from the ferry around 3:30 pm between Comox and Rebecca Rocks on Nov 30th. These were probably some of the Nov 28th group I had spotted off the top of Texada.

The ferry Queen of Chilliwack is still on the Comox-Powell River run and the dolphins are not as fond of bow riding with this ferry as they are with the Queen of Burnaby, so they don't travel with it for longer periods of time.

Thanks for the calls reporting the sightings - rest assured they get logged and reported.

PS I'm back to having at least 3 different Hummingbirds at the feeder - guess they didn't leave the area when it was so cold. Still no idea where the Humpback whales got to.