Have You Seen Any of These?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Southern Resident Orca, Dolphins and Porpoises

The morning started with white caps in the Strait, so spotting anything was difficult. The tours out of Campbell River headed up inlets and into Johnstone Strait in search of the unidentified Orca from late yesterday or the reported Eastbound Orca from 3 am or so this morning. The big surprise was that they found Southern Resident (fish eating) Orca from "L" pod....confirmation of IDs to follow.
I apologize for lack of photos at present, I had a computer die on me and am trying to work with images on a different, very slow, system...not going great. I will post them by tomorrow's update for sure.
Susan MacKay Whales and Dolphins BC

May 28:
1:30 pm 12 Orca including 2 very new looking calves were slowly working their way South by Elk Bay just around Seymour Narrows. Although they were quiet, with open saddle patches they were identified as Southern Resident Orca possibly from L Pod - but who? Photos to follow. They stayed nicely grouped, with a lovely spy hop or two as they very slowly got down by Painters Lodge around 5 pm.
from both
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching and
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys

May 28:
Around 1 pm 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were bow and wake riding with Jack's tour by Howe Island. This just before finding the Orca.

May 28:
6 Dalls Porpoises were foraging in Bute Inlet this morning.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching

May 28
We wanted to let you know we had L-pod pass through here late last night! They went South in Blackney Pass around 0130 and vocalized as they headed into Johnstone Strait. They vocalized for a few hours in Robson Bight before they headed east in Johnstone Strait around 0345. Their vocals were very interesting to listen to! We sent a few clips to John Ford and he confirmed that it was L-pod. So they might be heading down your way!! (you can listen in to OrcaLab's hydrophones at Orca Live).
Then at 5:13 pm: They were amazing to listen to this morning...what a wonderful way to wake-up!!! Sounds like they might be going past Campbell River right about now.Have a wonderful day!
Marie and Leah and the Orcalab Crew, Hanson Island, B.C.
Submitted by Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network

May 28
Awesome day along the Galiano shoreline today! 5 Transients rolling and playing for the whole hour we were there. I wasn't able to ID them yet, I don't think I have seen that group before so if anyone knows who they are, let me know. Here are a few pics (see photo below). The large female in the first picture has an interesting saddle patch for a T, seems to have a faint black stripe in it.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
Submitted by Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network

May 28 
After an hour of solid travel, several sea birds, numerous islands and a swimming harbor seal, we edged up to East point off Saturna Island.  And there they were: a pod of transient orcas!
As we approached the area, we heard through the vessel radio grapevine that the pod may have made a recent Steller sea lion kill. When we got to the scene, the whales were zig-zagging and milling about; no obvious foraging activity was seen. While observing the pod, we noticed a very large adult male dorsal fin that had significant lean to the left and was very curved for a male. The other individuals in the pod appeared to be females and juveniles. Later, another vessel identified one of the orcas as T18.
After ten minutes or so, the pod started traveling faster towards the south, moving more erratically and then thrashing about. The hunt was on!  And it looked like another Steller sea lion was the target.  We saw the pod of four orcas thrashing about, throwing their bloody red tasty morsel in the air.  At one point, it looked like the sea lion had gotten away and it made some headway with about forty feet of distance from the whales.  But then the transients caught up to their meal and continued thrashing and tossing it around.  Eventually, the male and a second orca split off from the other two, leaving the latter to contend with the sea lion.  Time was running out for our whale watch and we began making our way back to Friday Harbor. All in all, quite an exciting day.  Seeing transient orca whales feed is never a boring event, especially with the thrashing, breaching and tossing of a bleeding sea lion in the air!
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
 Submitted by Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network

May 28
A dead grey whale was reported in Becher Bay (Metchosin side) this morning. Cara Lachmuth from Straitwatch has located it at 48 19.427N, 123 36.132W. It is very much tucked into the Bay near Village Islands and the IR, although still afloat.
The carcass is belly up, skin sloughing and "falling apart". Cara is fairly certain it is a grey whale but says it's hard to tell due to level of decomposition. She will provide photos later today hopefully. I have asked Cara to collect a skin sample while she's on scene.
Based on condition, it is possible this is the same whale reported in Juan De Fuca on the US side further east last weekend and again earlier this week.
Lisa Spaven, Marine Mammal Response Biologist,Fisheries and Oceans Canada
forwarded to us by Jessie Huggins, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
Submitted by Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network