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100912AdmiraltyHG©Howard Garrett

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Recent whale sightings in the Salish Sea

(Puget Sound, Northwest Straits, Gulf Islands and Georgia Strait)

Sightings Summaries Archives

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The purpose of Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network and Education Project is to encourage observation and increase awareness and knowledge about the Southern Resident Community of orcas (J, K and L pods), and foster a stewardship ethic to motivate a diverse audience to take action to protect and restore these orcas' critical habitat.

The orcas' steep population decline of 20% from 1995 to 2001 is a reflection of the problems and issues facing the greater Puget Sound marine and watershed ecosystems: declining salmon runs, PCB contamination, and the effects of a rapidly increasing human population including habitat loss and resource depletion. Through a volunteer Whale Sighting Network, sightings and observations of this orca community are gathered and disseminated to researchers and volunteers, and posted on our website.

Summarized Sightings map HERE

January 14

COASTAL KILLER WHALES (MEXICO) - Tue Jan 14 - 19:00 - Hola, Our friends from Alberta Canada saw a pod of Orcas at 7pm January 14, 2020. They are staying at Vivo Resorts a few miles north of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca Mexico. This appears to be an annual event as they have been seen in previous years....I saw them 2 years ago and others saw them last year. The may be following the humpbacks as they migrate to Panama....Im waiting to hear back from the fellow who was more knowledgable regarding the orcas. He flew back to Canada last night, has a boat near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and is very familar with them. They were heading south and according to Bruno one was a male with a large fin. I will pass on photos if available. -Cheers, Bob Brown

January 13

January 12

January 11

January 10

SOUTHERN RESIDENTS - Fri Jan 10 - 2nd Hand report - Js were seen northbound off Nanaimo today. -Monika Wieland Shields

UNIDENTIFIED KILLER WHALES - Fri Jan 10 - 13:11 - Denise with WS Ferry Ops called: MV Tillikum reported 3 orcas (male & 2 juveniles) north of Shaw ferry dock heading west to Wasp Passage.
(This same whale was photographed by Paul on August 15th, 2019 in Strait of Juan de Fuca - alb)

January 9

Thu Jan 9 - 11:00 - Salish sea sightings Moresby to Portland island 48'42.375N.123'19.97? W - Prevost Passage. Two orcas travelling west mostly cruising on surface. One very large no distinguishing marking, tall erect dorsal fin -all dark colour while travelling. Smaller orca trailing about 200 metres with white batch showing when it surfaced front forward left side. Only observed clearly with binoculars for about 15 min. When they were within 500 or so metres of ferry traffic they where no long visible on the surface. -Ray Andrews, North Saanich, BC

HUMPBACK WHALES - Thu Jan 9 - Great to still see Humpback whales January! Just east of Race Rocks, just off Pedder Bay. -Paul Pudwell

January 8

Wed Jan 8 - Yesterday (8th) at about 10 am, I saw a large orca with a baby in PA harbor. Please excuse my iPhone photos. I also loved the harbor seal staying close to shore-I guess he saw the orcas too! (Posted Jan 9th on Port Angeles, WA FB group). -Kelsey Julander

HUMPBACK WHALES - Wed Jan 8 - 09:53 - Saw a humpback off of the Anacortes to Friday Harbor ferry this morning. Several blows. Off of Lopez. Traveling from East to West in chill manner. -Kevin H Doar

January 7

BIGG'S TRANSIENT KILLER WHALES - Tue Jan 7 - Hello! I live up in Juneau, Alaska and had a pod come through our channel yesterday (Jan 7) and was able to ID the bull as T077A! Thought it was pretty interesting and was searching for more info on him, then found your post and thought of sharing! -Nathan Kelley
(Shared with permission. Posted as comment on Jared Towers FB post - alb)

BIGG'S TRANSIENT KILLER WHALES - Tue Jan 7 - 16:35 - From Olympic Sculpture Park, orcas continue westbound, should be passing Smith Cove Waterway. -Brittany Noelle

15:21 - Transient orcas. On a kill near downtown ferry terminal. They moved shop when a tug pushed right through them. Viewing from Don Armeni in West Seattle. -Kersti Muul
(~ 6 reported, T124A2 confirmed so likely T124s. We will update if we get more images to confirm who all was present -alb)

T124A2 off West Seattle heading east towards downtown Seattle waterfront. -Original photo taken by Eileen Hutchinson, Seal Sitters, Jan 7, 2019
(ID by Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research)

15:18 - A protected species monitor saw 4 (including one calf) at 14:35 near Jack Block park moving toward port. Now at 15:18 they may be on a kill as there has been tail slapping and numerous gulls around. Both teams monitoring projects at the Port and Colman Dock are aware and pile driving is shut down. -Glenn Johnson

15:17 - Saw one of them from my office above Smith Tower. They were moving North along the waterfront. -Rebecca Benson

15:04 - A group of orca, at least 3 and one calf, currently in Elliott Bay, aprox 2-3 km from Colman Dock ferry terminal toward Port/Jack Block park. Perhaps T's on a kill. Monitors for the Port and WSF pile driving projects are aware. -Glenn Johnson

15:02 - We have four Orcas in Elliott Bay. Three females and a calf. By Jack Block Park. I have not got a visual of them, one of our observers is watching them. I assume transients, which pod has three females and a calf? -Stefanie Hawks-Johnson

14:45 - Just spotted approximately 6 Orcas just north of Harbor Island in Elliott Bay...they all looked small. Probably females and juveniles. Traveling East and close to shore. Heading toward the East waterway. -Bob Kruger

At 1423 on Tuesday Jan. 7, 2020 monitors at Colman Dock reported at least 4 Orca in Elliott Bay about 1 km from Colman Dock to the southwest. Project pile driving is on hold. We suspect Ts but have no positive ID. -Burt Miller, WSF

Tue Jan 7 - Haro Strait - If you missed the humpback concert this evening on the west side of San Juan Island, HERE IS THE RECORDING from the Orcasound Lab hydrophones hosted by Val and Leslie Veirs of Beam Reach. -Scott Veirs

23:00-23:11 - Thanks to Katie McDermott's email I tuned back in to Lime Kiln and could hear humpbacks, not as loud as earlier in the evening, but they were still out there singing so beautiful. -Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network

21:25-22:30 - Hi, My name Katie McDermott and I'm back with another sighting (hearing?) report. I'm not sure if this counts as a sighting or if you want to know what is heard over a hydrophone, but I'm going to report it anyways. I was listening to the Lime Kiln Hydrophone tonight and from about 9:25 PM to 9:30 PM and heard, quite faintly, whales. I am not sure of what species the calls were from, but I thought that It was cool and should probably be reported. (unlike last time, I am not going to jump to conclusions about what type of whales I heard.) It went silent (except for the water noise) for a few minutes, but I heard them again at 9:36 PM as well as at 9:38 PM and then again from 9:41 PM to 10:30. After 10:30, I had to turn it off because I have school in the morning, so I don't know how long it lasted for after that. The whole time I was listening (9:25 PM- 10: 30 PM) the calls were off and on and were quiet, although not as faint as they were initially. I hope you have a great rest of your week! -Katie McDermott

19:00-19:50 - Humpback whales singing again in Haro Strait. Can be heard on Lime Kiln Hydrophone! (Tanker came through ~ 19:50). -Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network

18:24 - Great humpback sounds are currently audible on the Orcasound Lab hydrophones hosted by Beam Reach on the west side of San Juan Island in Haro Strait! -Scott Veirs, Beam Reach & Orcasound

Tue Jan 7 - 16:05 - Two humpbacks around 2pm just outside of Active Pass (from the Swartz Bay ferry to Vancouver). -Linz McCray

January 6

January 5

Sun Jan 5 - Haro Strait - 4:10 Three humpbacks inside the mouth of Eagle Cove southbound towards Granny's Cove. Flukes up: two very white undersides of flukes and one dark with white patches towards the tips. 4:20 South of Granny's headed towards South Beach. Love seeing their grand exhales being carried in the wind! -Lodie Gilbert Budwill

January 4

January 3

January 2

January 1

NORTHERN RESIDENTS - A42 and A23 Northern Resident Orca Jan 01 2020 - What a way to start 2020. Wanted to just get a few edits up I still need to make dinner! But Yukon and I lucked out with some help from our friends here locally and managed to spend time with the A42s and A23s Northern Resident killer whales today off the south end of Quadra Island! This is the first time personally I have been able to document the A23s here in the Winter. As you can see they were all quite a social bunch! Thankful for the day as it looks like the rest of the week will be spent hunkered down from the weather!... More edits from our amazing encounter with the Northern Residents on Jan 1st. Cant help but to hope that these guys are down here for a good reason and that they are finding Chinook in these old fishing areas for them. A clan Northerns tend to spend more time than other Northerns in the upper Gulf of Georgia. I have heard through the grapevine that the local winter Chinook fishing is very good off places like Shelter Point and The Hump off Cape Mudge. Right on the path of the NR's as the travelled from the South tip of Quadra in a big loop past both of these grounds. Let's hope that these guys and their Southern counterparts are finding what they need for a winters feast. A42 Sonora spyhopping, A79 Current with her first calf A119 (2018), Look at all those faces - A79 Current and others, A109 Eliot A60 Fife A43 Ripple A79 Current and her first calf A119, A69 Midsummer and A60 Fife.-Nick Templeman, Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions

Wed Jan 1 - 16:30 - Orca(s?) in Port Angeles harbor. Very quick views and then gone. Please credit photos to Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin. -Carolyn Wilcox

Wed Jan 1 - 12:45 - Chilkat Express found the T137 pod again just southwest of Partridge Bank, westbound and very spread out. -Bart Rulon

11:53 - Single orca Admiralty Inlet going north - soon approaching partridge point. Vessel following. -Cyrilla Cook
(possibly T137s - alb)

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