Have You Seen Any of These?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Multiple Pods of Orca in Upper Georgia Strait

There appear to be multiple pods of Killer Whales in the area. The differences in the reports coming in are difficult to sort out as to who is who and where. More Orca reports, both Transient (Bigg's) and Northern Resident sightings, even with some Dolphins. Spectacular photos taken in Lambert Channel, off Chrome Island Lightstation, of the New Year's Transients (Bigg's) punting a very large, heavy Steller sea lion. They weight around 2,000 pounds! Since we have a few groups of whales with calves, and sightings have varied in numbers and big male dorsals seen, the report below is blended with notations as to which are confirmed Resident vs. Transient (Bigg's).
Orca Calf Birth Notes: Northern Residents (NRKW) A8's: A42's calf was confirmed spotted on Dec. 25th off Grief Point, Powell River. On Dec. 20th the calf first spotted off Albion Point (Black Pt.) by Bill Taylor looked like it didn't have much of a dorsal fin at all. This would be typical for a newborn whose dorsal fin would be soft and bent over at birth.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

 Transient (Bigg's) Killer Whale Punts Large Steller Sea Lion
January 1, 2013 by Denman / Hornby Island
Anne Baker, Powell River

Killer Whales – Orcinius Orca

January 4:
3:30 pm Call came in that someone posted a note on Facebook (I couldn't locate it nor see the whales – SM) that 2 Orca a female and calf were just passing Emmonds Beach by Atrevida Reef heading Northward towards Lund.
via Steve Grover, Powell River

January 3:
3:40 pm Friend at Donkersly Road, just past Albion (Black) Point saw 2 male Orca. (Timing-wise, this report would continue from below and there is only one big male in the A8's. Was this another pod? No confirmation – SM)
Michael Stewart, Powell River

January 3:
3 pm The 5 Northern Residents A8's with the new calf stopped to forage and continue very slowly Southward passing Albion Point (Black Pt.)
Bill Taylor, Powell River

January 3:
2 pm 2 large Orca, 2 appear to be juveniles following behind beside Myrtle Rocks heading towards Saltrey Bay. (These would be the 5 NRKWs A8's - SM)
Michael and Diane Dunn, Powell River

January 3:
Today at 1:50 pm we had a good sighting in calm waters off Myrtle Rocks in the Malaspina Strait. One very large orca with a tall, thin, pointed dorsal fin heading south, along with one small calf and another one, presumably it’s mother. Then some short way behind , another medium sized one. All taking long leisurely dives. As always, too far out from shore for any photos. (These would be the 5 NRKWs A8's - SM)
Holly Roy, Powell River

January 3:
12:29 pm 4 – 5 Orca off Westview just passing in front of Texada ferry. Saw a small calf with orange on it. (The 5 NRKWs A8's – SM)
George Belyer, Marine Traders store, Powell River

January 3:
12:20 pm Spotted Orca just off Willingdon Beach Southbound passing viewpoint, and Grief Point then Beach Gardens Marina. Confirmed all 5 of the NRKWs known as A8's. Watched from shore till around 1:35 pm joined by a few people.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

January 3:
9:30 am 3 – 4 Orca Southbound from Atrevida Reef towards Powell River. One big male and a small calf for sure. (These would be the NRKWs A8's - SM)
Grant Rainsley, Powell River

Transient (Bigg's) Killer Whale Acrobatic Attack on Large Steller Sea Lion
January 1, 2013 by Denman / Hornby Island
Anne Baker, Powell River

January 2:
3 pm 5 Orca close to Coho Point, NW tip of Texada, heading between Rebecca Rocks and Harwood Island.
Ron & Anne Baker, Powell River

January 2 Notes:
I had left the A8's at 2:15 pm headed towards Coho Point, so the above whales assumed to be them. From photos received for ID's from Anne Baker, A66 is confirmed in the photo, but there appears to be another Orca in the photo that doesn't fit the A8's – will update when I confirm who. Could just be a weird angle.
Speaking with John Treen, who had given us the heads up on the A8's off Savary, he thought there were possibly 2 other Orca that headed towards Vivian while seeing us with the A8's..... curious.
Someone had said they had seen some Pacific White Sided Dolphins with Orca just off Savary Island – my apologies, but I cannot locate any specifics on the report other than it was stated.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins

January 1:
I just GOTTA share this....... (photo above) We just got back from 3 days boating (about 40 miles south west of Powell River.......... and we are still in massive AWE....... we happened to be in the perfect place at the right time...... We spied some major splashing about a kilometre away so we raced over to investigate........to find a pod of about 8 -10 (Transient (Bigg's) meat eating) Orcas that had segregated a large sealion and were in the process of overwhelming, confusing, exhausting, disorienting, pummelling, punting and finally drowning to have for dinner........we watched this for about an hour! in our boat (no one else around!) IT WAS AMAZING!! Sad of course for the sealion but that is nature in it's rawest - OMGawd! Words just don't do it justice..... we learned/witnessed how the sealion's safest place and hardest for the whales to get him was on the surface, and it could get it's breath easier there too (even tho we think of them as being good swimmers etc.). The strategy of the orcas by the time we got there was to pummel it and then leave it and swim away for a a couple of minutes and then come back at it again. Multiple times the orcas jumped fully out of the water, were totally circling the sea lion and causing surprisingly large waves........ We were surprised the process took as long and are unsure how long it was to the stage at which we arrived. The Big Daddy huge dorsal fin stayed out of the 'hunt' until the very end. The punt at the end made the sealion look featherweight but typically they are 1000 - 1500 lbs we believe. Then the water finally was eerily calm and the seagulls arrived to scavenge morsels on the surface (we couldn't see anything of uneaten pieces from our position - surprisingly clean/not obvious). Then after only about 2 minutes the orcas appeared again on the surface and then headed elsewhere........! We wonder how often in a day or ? this happens to feed that many orcas. They were totally unbothered by us. IT WAS SOOOO INCREDIBLE! We keep shaking our heads and reliving the video in our minds - WOW WOW WOW! There was also several small rock islands about a 1/2 mile behind us with about 200 sealions on it at the time of this event all yelling at the tops of their lungs! Not the usual sealion bark but all of them crying/ angry/complaining and hoping 'their family member' could survive the ordeal....
What an incredible gift - better than any New Year's Eve fireworks or t.v. show!!
Ron and Anne Baker, Powell River

Transient (Bigg's) Killer Whale and Last Sight of Large Steller Sea Lion
January 1, 2013 by Denman / Hornby Island
Anne Baker, Powell River

I am frequently asked why only three photos in a post. The RSS feed for emails is restricted to size and has, a few times previously, bumped the post due to it being too large. If the report is kept to three photos, it goes without problems. SM

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