Have You Seen Any of These?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Humpback Porpoises and Sea Lions

April 30:
A few blows and a back of what appeared to be a Humpback Whale slowly moving in a Northerly / North-West direction in mid strait between Sliammon (just north of Powell River) and Harwood. I watched between 10 and 10:30 am then spotted it again, a short distance North, close to Atrevida Reef around 11 am still continuing towards Lund / Savary.

While in my back yard around 4:30 pm I could hear Sea Lions barking - probably from the Powell River Mill. It's odd to hear them from that distance.  After getting binoculars, I couldn't tell what disturbed them, but certainly did not see any big Orca dorsals. Being the weekend, they may have been disturbed by a boat fishing that got a bit too close.

 At around 5:30 pm out in front of Powell River heading Northward, I also spotted around 5 to 6 animals porpoising with the distinctive splashes of Dalls Porpoises. While watching, I did see a couple of small dorsals and then they disappeared to re-appear at quite a distance off. Lost sight of them close by Harwood Island.

No other local reports of sightings today. Maybe they are all watching hockey too!!
Susan MacKay Whales and Dolphins BC

And from farther South:  

Transient orcas, Orcas off Newport, OR, a Minke whale, Gray whales and Risso's Dolphins, Porpoise and sea lions.
Below submitted by: Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network
Note: Risso's Dolphins do, occasionally make an appearance in Canadian waters, but the sightings are few and far between. It would be great to see them up in our area of the Sunshine Coast. Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC  
April 30
What a fantastic Saturday, huh? We were blessed with Transients (I think the T137's, T65A's, and T37's if I remember correctly...) in the Strait of Georgia heading toward the coal docks near Vancouver at approx. 13:00. They were moving quickly north (with a couple occasional abrupt, milling halts) and were in two fairly tight groups when we saw them. Great day to be on the water - lots of that sunny stuff that has become so rare around here ;)  Thanks, Katie Jones, Western Prince Naturalist
April 30
So, we finish the month as we started, with transient orcas cruising the waters usually patrolled by the residents. Today, a group of 10-12 transients was located in Georgia Strait at approximately 12:30, about 3 nm north of Tumbo Island. They were traveling northwest, at a fairly fast rate of speed, sometimes porpoising. The group consisted of females, juveniles, calves and 1 sprouting male. We were able to identify some of them as the T65A group and the T137's, T137A being the sprouter. The orcas were traveling in two groups, with T137A and some juveniles lagging about 200 m/yards behind the moms, and engaging in a fair amount of social activity. At one point, the group stopped and was milling in one area for about 5 minutes, then continued on their speedy way. We left the whales still heading north to northwest, west of the Tsawassen ferry terminal.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
April 30
Had hoped to kayak on Whidbey today and hope for whale encounters, but I stayed home in Port Townsend Bay, lucky me. At 13:45 paddling from Rat Island toward town we encountered a gray whale heading northeast, it fluked and resurfaced West of us. Continued to see it until about 14:30, it was swimming all around the bay, South to Kala Point, then popped up just a few feet off the NW Maritime Center Pier very near shore as we loaded our boats. Last sighting was headed East around Pt Hudson.
Sue Long, Port Townsend, WA
April 30
I got really lucky and witnessed 4 or 5 pairs of mother / calf Gray whale combos making their way north very close to shore from above (a pullout on Highway 1 about 400 feet above the ocean just south of Grimes Point - where there's a sea lion colony on the rocky beach at the base of the cliffs). The whales were in close enough to be able to see them underwater,10:30am through 11:30am or so.
One interesting aspect to this is that at one stage, a Risso's dolphin (there was a small pod of them further offshore) came and swam between two whales (that looked to be about the same size - so not sure they were mother /calf), and both whales rolled on to their backs, then rolled back on to their fronts again and carried on.
Most (if not all) of the combos turned around a couple of times and seemed to hang out in the kelp - rather than just constantly head north - I wondered if that meant they were hiding from predators or something, but I only saw the Risso's in the area, nothing more sinister. Is that normal behavior for the grays? Thanks, Tim Huntington