Have You Seen Any of These?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Humpback Whales, Resident and Transient Orca, Dolphins, Minke and Dall's

Leaping Humpback Whales in Blackfish Sound; Northern Resident, Transient Orca and Pacific White Sided Dolphins in the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve at the same time....interesting mix! A Minke Whale and some Dall's Porpoises. Another busy, wonderful day on the water.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

Northern Resident Orca

August 8:

8:30 am The SV Island Odyssey reported Orca by the Sophia Islands, Cracroft Island heading West. Later it was determined that it was the A23's and A24's who had travelled back and forth between the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve to the East and Telegraph Cove to the West last night, and were apparently on the same route this morning.

11:43 am The tours from Campbell River found A12 and the two A36 brothers farther down Johnstone Strait by the Broken Islands, Chatham Channel area. They were foraging first East then West, but not moving very far. The last report was from Garry, Aboriginal Journeys at around 3 pm.

6:15 pm A23's and A24's were tightly grouped up and huddled close to the shore by Izumi Rock at the West end of the Reserve ....read more under the Transient Orca heading.

Transient Orca

August 8:

9 am The group of Orca by Lizard Point yesterday were first thought to be Resident Orca, but turned out to be Transient Orca that made their way into Blackfish Sound and over by the Whytcliffe Islets.

11 am to 1:30 pm These unidentified 8 to 12 Transient Orca including at least one calf were milling about Cracroft Point and the Sophia Islands, Johnstone Strait.
Bill MacKay, MacKay Whale Watching

4 pm 9 Transient Orca were out in front of Telegraph Cove heading East down the Strait. I picked them up close by (see photo below) and ID'd this second group of Transients as the T20's.

T20's August 8, 2011
Photo: Susan MacKay, SG Images

6:15 pm The two groups of Transients were heading towards each other down by the Reserve with some Dolphins that had unknowingly been bow riding a vessel (the Columbia III) right into the path of their predators. There was an explosion of activity when the Transients made their attack near Izumi Rock at the Western end of the Reserve. (I can only imagine from having heard the tone on the radio and having seen how quickly both Orca and Dolphins can move – SM) It's unclear how many Dolphins they managed to take, if any. In the meantime, the Resident Orca were huddled close to shore looking for a way past all the goings on. The Residents headed West, the Transients East into the Bight, and the Dolphins scattered.

Humpback Whales

August 8:

9 am a Humpback was spotted by Bold Head as the Transients were entering the area. (from a local fisherman)

11:45 am till 12:45 pm Humpback Whales 'Chunky' was in Blackfish Sound by the Plumper Islands while 'Freckles' was with me going against the tide from Weynton Reef to Stubbs Island.

2 pm till 4 pm I headed back out into Blackfish Sound to find some Humpbacks and wasn't disappointed. One whale started breaching (see photos below) and must have breached over 20 times with only a short break for a breath or two. Then there were the tail lobs, high in the air with the sound echoing off the islands. There were three Humpback Whales in this area close to the Plumper Islands and a mom and calf over by Bold Head, just across the channel. With all the spectacular leaps and splashes, by the time I made it over to look at the mom and calf, they had headed down Blackfish Sound somewhere. After all this activity, 'Chunky' who had been crusing around mid channel headed out into Queen Charlotte Strait, 'Freckles' headed down Weynton Pass towards the Stephenson Islets, and the third one, who may have been 'Stripe' made a quiet exit somewhere, probably quite tired.

Humpback Breach August 8, 2011