Have You Seen Any of These?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grey Whales and other Sightings

For those lucky enough to have been in the Vancouver, BC – Lower Mainland - area the past few weeks the sighting whales and dolphins was a huge surprise.

The first report I heard of in the Lower Mainland area, was of Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Although the report came to me quite a bit after the fact, the sighting, close to the end of the Olympics, was of over 50 dolphins bow and wake riding a boat close to Bowen and Gambier Islands.

The next sighting report was all over the news. A Grey Whale, a gray whale if you use the American spelling, was near Squamish giving the locals a first hand look of it's blow (breathing spout) and mottled grey back.

Within a few days, on May 11th, another sighting came on the news of either another, or possibly the same, Grey Whale in False Creek, right downtown Vancouver. The Coast Guard was on had keeping an eye on the numerous boats wanting to take a look. The Granville Island ferry passengers had some of the best viewing opportunities, while the Coast Guard ran escort.

It has been many years since any whales ventured into that area. The last one I remember was in the late 1960's, and I believe it was a Grey not a Humpback Whale. I also recall a Pilot Whale breaching in False Creek. I believe that was in the 1980's and made the newspapers in full breach. You could fairly say that after all these year, I'm still hooked on whales.

Not too long after these reports, which had been dribbling in after the fact, I received a phone call of a possible blow having been spotted by Powell River. Although I went out on the water almost immediately, after a couple of hours in search of the elusive whale, I found nothing. It was only a couple of days ago that I ran into someone else who said that other people had seen blows the same time frame. They too couldn't specify direction or if, in fact, it was a whale.

The next reports were of approximately 150 Pacific White Sided Dolphins in Howe Sound. This is back to the area around Bowen and Gambier Islands. I have not heard how long they stayed in the vicinity, or where they went after that. They don't seem to be along the upper Sunshine Coast.

Some issues to do with whales and porpoises have also popped up this month. A dead newborn Orca / Killer Whale, with it's umbilical cord still attached, washed ashore south of Victoria, BC. Although it's estimated that around 40 percent of Orca calves die within the first year, it is rare for one to wash up on a beach. They usually sink before biologists can get a look at them.

Also in the Victoria and Sooke area only a few days after the dead Orca calf, eight Harbour, or Harbor Porpoises washed ashore. It's very unusual, if not unheard of, for Harbour Porpoises to strand themselves. These animals, including some pregnant females, appeared to have been in relatively good body condition.

It is possible that the Transient (meat eating) Orca / Killer Whales that have been around the area may have chased them to the breaking point of their bodies. As in one of my previous posts about the Transient Orca just outside Powell River, they sometimes don't eat their kill. It is quite disconcerting to have this many animals die virtually at once. Biologists are performing necropsies.

Please, if you see any marine mammal or sea turtle sick, injured, in distress or dead along the British Columbia coast, please call The Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465-4336

Just prior to posting this, I heard of a Humpback Whale northbound through Discovery Pass by Campbell River. Is this the same whale that some saw blows of?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anti Whaling Petition - Protect the Whales

I've just signed an urgent petition at Avaaz.org to protect whales. Read more below, or click this link to join me in signing:


Dear friends,

The International Whaling Commission has just unveiled a proposal to legalize commercial whale hunting for the first time in 24 years.

Countries are now deciding their first responses -- and they're watching public reaction closely. New Zealand called its provisions -- which include a legal quota for hunting endangered fin whales -- "offensive," "unacceptable," and "inflammatory." But other key nations are rumoured to be leaning in support of it. They need to hear from us now.

Avaaz has launched an urgent petition to show our leaders their people want to protect whales, not hunt, kill, and sell them. Already, 400,000 people have signed -- and the petition is being sent to the International Whaling Commission each time it reaches another 100,000 signatures -- sign here and forward this message:


A strong international consensus has opposed whaling for decades -- but for just as long, Japan, Norway, and Iceland have continued to hunt whales, ignoring the global ban on whaling or exploiting a loophole by claiming their expeditions were "scientific research." Now they could be rewarded by this "compromise" proposal, in which their commercial whaling would be made legal in exchange for unenforceable promises to slowly reduce their yearly catch.

Worse still, a number of other countries are watching the process closely in hopes of launching their own whaling programs. If Japan, Norway, and Iceland can hunt whales and sell their meat, others will ask "if them, why not us?"

It's time to save the whales -- again. The IWC proposal will be voted up or down by country delegates this June, but their positions are hardening fast -- let's respond massively, right away, everywhere. Click below and forward this message to oppose the legalization of commercial whale hunting:


Forty years ago, whales were on the brink of extinction. But thanks to a global social movement, the world banned commercial whaling in 1986. The ban is one of the environmental movement's great triumphs.

Today, whales still face many threats: not just the whalers' harpoons, but also climate change, destruction of ecosystems by overfishing and pollution, and nets intended for other fish. A renewed wave of commercial whaling could devastate these extraordinarily intelligent and social cousins of humanity. This is no time to move backwards.

Another link I have for you is "The Cove" movie about the dolphin slaughter in Japan.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Transient Killer Whales / Orca April 30

Around 16 Transient Orca / Killer whales were in the Powell River area Friday April 30th. They included T14 an older male born around 1969 and T63 another large male that has damage to it's dorsal fin.

There was also a relatively new born calf in the mix. It still had a pinkish colour to it's white areas. The adults showed the calf how to kill a sea lion as well as a harbour seal. I was surprised that the whales, after killing the sea lion, only ate part of it then abandoned the carcass to drift away.

The whales were quite spread out in Malaspina Strait, but I managed to locate them around Grief Point and stayed with them till they left between Harwood Island and Rebecca Rocks towards Vancouver Island. With the hydrophone down, I managed to get some very good recordings when they grouped up. Fortunately the ferries and other small boats had cleared the area since their motors make a fair bit of noise that can drown out the whale sounds.

I have been very busy over the past few weeks and hope to get some of these recent photos up soon now. I have added some updates to my main site Whales and Dolphins of BC.com

The Cove is the Academy Award winning documentary about the dolphin slaughter in Japan. The importance of spreading the word about this horrible slaughter is a cause I truly believe in. These are intelligent animals as are the whales that are hunted. This documentary show just how clandestine these hunts are and should be stopped. I'm providing a link for anyone interested in purchasing this movie: