Have You Seen Any of These?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stranded Pacific White Sided Dolphins and Transient Orca

Top NEWS story today was the stranding of 4 Pacific White Sided Dolphins in Oyster Bay just South of Campbell River. Was it the two groups of Transient (meat eating) Killer Whales that were in the area that chased them ashore? Short discussion follows the end of the usual sightings reports. Timely reminder that if you see an injured, distressed or dead marine mammal, please call the Marine Mammal Response Network Hotline at 1-800-465-4336.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

Pacific White Sided Dolphin Reports:

June 28:
3:15 pm 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins by Willow Point close to Campbell River.
report overheard on radio from Eagle 30

June 28:
10:30 am 2 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were Southbound by Brown's Bay, Discovery Passage.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys

June 28:
8 am report of 4 Pacific White Sided Dolphins stranded on the muddy shores of Oyster Bay, South of Campbell River. See below for bit more information.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys

June 28:
7:15 am Approximately 20 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were Northbound by How Island, Sutil Channel.
Also while on his run, at around 8:15 am Jack saw a large, light coloured Wolf on the shore of Sonora Island, just behind Cinque Islands, Discovery Passage.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching

Transient Orca Sightings Today:

June 28:
3 pm It took the whale watching tours quite a while to find them, but they did. Around 15 Transient Orca that looked like they were in two distinct groups, one group of around 7 whales joined together by Sentry Shoal, mid Georgia Strait below Savary Island. They were on a kill when spotted. There were at least a couple of calves in the mix.
Captian Kurt
Kurt is our back up driver. The orca apparently didn’t move much and were milling about with no direction – he left them in between S. End of Hernando and Mitlenatch.
Also, did you hear about the dolphins that were found stranded on the mud flats in Oyster Bay – also rumour has it that there were Orca South Bound in front of CR at about 6am?? Interesting.

No report of time or photos for IDs. Direction from Jen's report appears to be Northward - SM

Stranded Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Oyster Bay, BC

Early this morning four Pacific White Sided Dolphins were very close in to shore by Oyster Bay, South of Campbell River, feeding on some small fish. When the tide went out, they became stranded on the muddy beaches. This is very unusual for these highly intelligent mammals to find themselves in this sort of predicament without good reason. Once the call went out, there were around 50 people that responded to help get these Dolphins back to deeper water. Putting them on tarps, one by one, they were carried across the mud flats and released into deeper water. They swam away apparently OK.

There is talk that the possible reason for this Dolphin stranding is due to their being chased by Transient Orca. Over the past number of weeks, there have been marauding groups of Transient Orca in this area. These Killer Whales eat meat. Their preference is usually the easier meal of Harbour Seals or Sea Lions, but they do take Porpoises and Dolphins as well as larger Whales such as Grays or Humpbacks. I do not know for certain if they have managed to take any Resident (fish eating) Orca, but they are certainly capable of doing so. The last report of them taking a porpoise was just the other day. I did not post the photo I received from on of the guests of Garry, Aboriginal Journeys in the blog due to it being quite graphic and I did not want to upset anyone.

The other day, there was a small group of 4 to 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins that seemed to stay apart from the rest of the actively foraging 60 or so of them in front of Powell River. There is also a possibility that one of them is sick or injured and with the Transients this morning right in the area, they may have tried to hide out in the shallows. These highly intelligent animals do not misjudge the shore on purpose, so there are quite a number of unanswered questions regarding this unique stranding. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Drop me an email: susan@whalesanddolphinsbc.com

Please keep your eyes open for any injured, distressed or dead marine mammal and call it in right away to the Marine Mammal Response Network Hotline at 1-800-465-4336. I would also appreciate knowing about it, even if it's not in my immediate response area.

J and K Pod  Southern Resident Orca Report:
submitted by: Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA

June 27
In search of orcas rumored to be nearly out of reach, we headed north out of the harbor, eventually crossing the border into Canada at Boundary Pass. Up around Saturna Island, we went into the Strait of Georgia where we finally found whales. We spent much of our time going back and forth across the border as we observed J-pod and L87, a large male named "Onyx" with a solid white saddle patch on his right side and a black-indented saddle patch on his left side. The pod was fairly spread out, with a pair (female and calf?) towards the north and another pair southwest of us. At one point, we shut the Kittiwake down just to listen and enjoy the quiet of the water and the sounds of the whales breathing before we had to make the long journey back. While we were powered down, a pair of females/juveniles/both came by our stern within one hundred and fifty yards and passed under us, popping back up off our port bow!  We only knew they had surfaced by the sound of their blows.With that awesome finale, we powered up and returned to the harbor, but not until we had seen two Bald Eagles fish-seeking from pines on San Juan Island.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA