Have You Seen Any of These?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Transient Orca, Resident Orca, Humpbacks, Minkes

Transient Orca continued to be around the Northern parts of Georgia Strait and Lower Johnstone Strait while more Northern Resident Orca entered the Upper Johnstone Strait. Humpbacks, Dall's Porpoise and Minke Whales round out today's sightings. Plus a couple more photos of Transient dorsals.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

Northern Resident Orca:

August 11:

In total, today there were close to 50 Northern Resident Orca in the upper Johnstone Strait area with more milling around by Scarlett Point Lightstation – Pine Island area. If and when these other pods come in, we will have a superpod meeting of the Clans.

7 am Although not 'officially' a sighting, I had the hydrophone down and could hear A-Clan calls. To me it sounded like A12 a female Resident Orca, who called to her lost son for over a month around Hanson Island a couple of years ago. I could tell the calls were coming closer, but didn't see the blows. Later in the day, she and her two nephews, the A36's did pop up.

8:30 am Report came in that there were, and the numbers varied greatly over the next hour or so, somewhere between 10 to 30 Orca Eastbound towards Blackfish Sound from the top of Malcolm Island.

9 am A23's, A24's, A30's and A11's, including 'Springer' A73 all made their way up Johnstone Strait to Blinkhorn, and just around Telegraph Cove foraging and socializing. They later turned back down the Strait around 1 pm heading back towards Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. At some point, A12 and the A36 brothers popped up by Cracroft Point, joining the rest.

1:45 pm The I15 Matriline of Orca made their way along Malcolm Island to Donagal Head then down through Weynton Pass into Johnstone Strait to join the rest of the A-Clans already down by the Bight.

5:30 pm The A30's took a little jaunt away from the group and made their way to Beaver Cove, just above Telegraph Cove and foraged right across Johnstone Strait till close to 8 pm.

Transient Orca

August 11:

7:45 am Around 3 Transient Orca were Southbound by Seymour Narrows, Campbell River area. At 9 am the count was corrected to 4.

Transient Orca possibly T070
August 9, 2011
Photo: Nick Templeman, Eagle Eye Adventures

Transient Orca still unidentified
Nicknamed 'Can Opener'
August 9, 2011
Photo: Nick Templeman, Eagle Eye Adventures

Humpback Whales

August 11:

8:40 am Humpback (blow only seen) between Pearse Islands and Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait.

Throughout the day, my total count of confirmed individual Humpbacks was 4. They worked the tides and currents feeding on the krill which formed tight balls turning the colour of the water pink where they swarmed.
Sightings locations ranged throughout Weynton Pass, around Stubbs Island, the 'golden triangle', and Whytcliffe Islets, over by the entrance to Knight Inlet. They have not yet started their joint lunge feeds, but there were at least three of them working in one area.

Minke Whales

August 11:

2 pm While watching Humpback Whales, I spotted a Minke Whale transiting up Weynton Pass towards Blackfish Sound.

5 pm 2 Minke Whales were feeding by Whytcliffe Islets, Knight Inlet.

Dall's Porpoises

August 11:

Various smaller groups of Dall's Porpoise were scattered about throughout the day. Some would briefly bow and wake ride, while others just foraged in the tide lines and rips.

Southern Resident Orca:
submitted: Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA

August 10
It's been quite some time since I posted a report to Orca Network--mainly because I want to send reports of exceptional days, and today definitely qualified! We had two trips today and the first trip we had all three pods meandering up and down the west side of San Juan. Fortunately for us, when we got out on the west side (after finding a very young minke whale), the whales had decided to move offshore, making our approach easier (not having to navigate around all the tribal fishing boats and the big gill netters). We watched one group of approximately 30 whales surfacing in close proximity to each other. They would surface heading one direction, and then gracefully turn in one large group and head another direction. It was like water ballet--I've not witnessed such large group direction changes simultaneously before.
For our evening trip, the whales were still meandering off of False Bay, but in "smaller" groups of about 15 whales. We had 25 middle school kids onboard, and they were thrilled to see whales. As they sang to the whales (everything from the theme to "The Muppet Show" to Bohemian Rhapsody), the whales became fairly active and began tailslapping, pec slapping, spyhopping. This of course made the kids so excited they sang more, and the whales responded by more spyhops and breaches (about 300 yards away). The whales were pushing each other around, and at one point we had K44 being pushed on mom's head, with that orange belly reflecting in the sunshine. We dropped the hyrdrophone in and the kids were treated to the whales singing to them--they were amazed at how we could differentiate calls between pods.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince