Have You Seen Any of These?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sightings, Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises

It never rains, but it pours. For a while it was difficult to know which way to look from all the Whale and Dolphin activity. In a period of ten minutes on the water in Blackfish Sound, as we headed to check out some Northern Resident Orca, we had seen a Minke Whale, a Humpback Whale, a couple of Dall's Porpoises and the Orca. Then later, still with Orca, some Pacific White Sided Dolphins which had been harassing a Humpback Whale spotted the Orca and immediately rushed over to play with them. The Humpback Whale got out of the way as fast as possible. For times and details of who they were, read on below the summaries.

The Northern Resident Orca including the A23's and A24's, A12 and the two remaining A36 brothers, the A30's and B7's (Note: these are Orca Matriline Pod numbers. Each Pod has varying numbers of Orca within them. For example: In the A30's pod, A50 has a new calf.) were all at or above the top end of Johnstone Strait after a brief foray by the A23's and A24's to the bottom end of the Strait closer to Campbell River where the Transient Orca made it up to briefly.

The Transient Orca seem to be in and out of various inlets and channels from the bottom of Johnstone Strait down below Powell River.

Humpback Whales and Minke Whales are being seen more frequently, meaning some more of the small feed they eat are also be appearing, at and above the top of Johnstone Strait. And Dolphins and Porpoises are popping up all over the place.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

Transient (Meat Eating) Orca:

July 25:

11 am T002C's in Sunderland Channel heading East. By 11:30 am they headed towards Wellbore Channel then turned back to Sunderland.

11 am Call came in about Orca in front of Powell River. A few calls later, and reports of breaching, spy hopping and looking like they were on a kill, they proved to be Transients, but unidentified. They were slowly heading towards Atrevida Reef and Lund. Thanks to Elizabeth and her neighbour, and Steve & Susan G. for keeping vigil.

11:30 am Hi Susan the orca are still here in front of the Mill between Powell River and Harwood. There are about 4 animals (both male and female) and they appear to be fishing/feeding. They just keep going back and forth not heading in any particular direction.
Elizabeth T., Powell River

Around 12:30 pm The 5+ Transient Orca turned and headed down Malaspina Strait, below Powell River and were last seen in lumpy seas around Myrtle Rocks.

July 24:

9;20 am Good morning Susan Looks like we have the T2c’s west bound at Camp Point

9:30 am T002C's Westing up Johstone Strait by Vansittart Point.
11 am Slowly moving West to Helmken Island, by Race and Current Pass.
12:45 pm Still continuing West slowly by Yorke Island, Sunderland Channel across from Kelsey Bay.

Northern Resident (fish eating) Orca:

July 25:

6 pm the A23's were headed East down Johnstone Strait by Telegraph Cove.
4 pm A12 and the A36 brothers were headed East by Bold Head, Blackfish Sound.
Sounds like the A30's may also be with them.
11:30 am A23's and A24's were headed East towards Cracroft Point at the bottom of Blackfish Sound. (No, the time is not a typo. They have been meandering back and forth throughout the past couple of days. I missed the report of when they turned back. - SM) These reports are from radio chatter.

B13's (B7 Matriline) Dorsal now Completely bent over. July 24, 2011
Photo: Susan MacKay, SG Images

July 24:

Sometime overnight the A30's and B7's went out West into Queen Charlotte Strait. But by 9 am they had come back in and were around Kaikash Creek, Johnstone Strait slowly Eastbound towards Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.

3:30 pm A12 and the A36 brothers were heading East down Blackfish Sound to join up with the others; A30's and B7's by Cracroft Point, Johnstone Strait.
2 pm A30's and B7's just entered Blackfish Sound through Weynton Pass and were immediately accosted by 5-6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins.
11:35 am to 2 pm the Orca were in Weynton Pass resting occasionally then foraging back and forth and from one end of the Pass to the other.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

B10's Wavy Dorsal (B7 Matriline) July 24, 2011
Photo: Susan MacKay, SG Images

2:30 pm A23's and A24's were headed East, by Kelsey Bay, down closer to the bottom of Johnstone Strait. (see also Dolphin and Transients Report from same time)

3:10 pm They turned to the West at Vansittart Point below Helmken Island.
Nick, Eagle Eye Tours

Humpback Whales:

July 25:

I heard radio chatter a few times during the day about Humpback Whales around Alert Bay, Blackfish Sound, and around Pulteney Point Lightstation. Unfortunately, I was too busy to note the times other than it seemed the last radio transmissions I caught, all in these same areas, were around 4 pm.
Susan MacKay Whales and Dolphins BC

Humpback BCX097 “Butterfly” 
stopped to rest on the surface in front of the skiff. July 24, 2011
Photo: Susan MacKay, SG Images

July 24:

11:30 am till around 2 pm Humpback Whale circling the “Golden Triangle”, as we call it up here, between Donagal Head on Malcolm Island, Bold Head on Swanson Island, and the Plumper Islands. This area is all at the top West end of Blackfish Sound. This HB is a new one to the area and is numbered BCX0097 now named “Butterfly” due to a mark on it's tail flukes. He/she spent time resting on the surface, doing 10 minute dives, trumpeting when being bothered by the dolphins, and quickly doing a deep, long dive to get out of the way of the Resident Orca and Pacific White Sided Dolphins.

Pacific White Sided Dolphins

July 25:
Didn't catch any reports of them. - SM

July 24:
9 am 20+ Dolphins harassing Resident Orca by Hanson Island to Kaikash Creek, Johnstone Strait.

2 pm 5 – 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins harassing the Humpback Whale till the Resident Orca came into view. They made a bee line straight for the Orca to play / harass them.

2:30 pm 75 to 80 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were all over the Resident Orca by Kelsey Bay Eastbound.

3:10 pm The Dolphins had made the turn West up Johnstone Strait with the Orca.
Nick, Eagle Eye Tours

Minke Whale

July 24:

11:25 am En route to check out the Orca we spotted a Minke Whale by Bold Head, Blackfish Sound. Waited to see it a third time, but lost it. - SM

Dall's Porpoises:

July 24:

2 pm 2 Dall's Porpoises surfaced just before the Humpback Whale and disappeared. Mind you, we were busy watching the HB, Orca and Dolphins.....Where to look??
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC