September 2007 Whale Sightings

September 30, 2007

Jason of the Victoria Clipper called to report a pod of orcas off Pt. No Point, Kitsap Peninsula, heading south at 7 pm - at least a dozen orcas, several breaches observed.
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We had just arrived at a rental house on west Whidbey, at N. Bush Pt, & were preparing for a party, when Bob Sines looked out the window & saw orcas at about 4:45 pm! We were all excited, grabbed binoculars & the scope, & watched as they passed by, fairly close to the Whidbey side, heading south. Howie saw J1 & ID'd a few other J pod whales - how cool they came to join our party - and even more fun that they returned this morning - see above report!
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, WhidbeyIsland
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The Orca Network hotline received a call this morning at 11:09 am, from Wayne Blicha reporting a pod of 4 orcas, no males, 14 nautical miles NW of Morro Bay, CA, between Santa Barbara & Monterey, at 35 26.55 N 121 8.75 W. They were seeing bits of whatever the whales were feeding on come to the surface, & the orcas were throwing them around - looked like marine mammal bits not fish....sounds like a pod of Transients.

September 29, 2007

The pod of orcas reported between Port Townsend & Whidbey Island on Saturday have been confirmed Transients by the Center for Whale Reserach, based on photos taken by Orca Network.
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While I can't say anything with any certainty, the last picture of the bull has a very T44 look about him. That eyepatch makes me "all but positive" that they are transients.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research
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T's alright.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
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I had a call that residents were spotted up north at the coal docks coming down at 4 pm. Maybe only part of them went west earlier today????
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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The Orca Network hotline received a call from Brad West at 10:30 am, reporting a pod of orcas off North Beach, just N of the Port Townsend Fairgrounds. They were in the kelp beds, heading into Admiralty Inlet. He saw 1 male, and a female with a calf, a total of at least 6 orcas.
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At 10:43 am, the Orca Network hotline received a call from Bernard Pranger of Port Townsend, reporting the pod of orcas, off North Beach, NW of Pt. Townsend - he also saw 1 male, and estimated possibly 9 whales total, heading into Admiralty Inlet.
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We went to Ft. Casey State Park to find the orcas, and at about 11:45 am saw them, still NW of Pt. Wilson. They remained in that general area until 12:20 pm, sometimes in two groups, then grouping into 1 group, with a total of 7 orcas (1 male, 5 females & 1 calf). At 12:20 pm, they headed SE past the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, mid-channel, at a pretty fast pace. At 12:55 pm they were between Keystone & Ft. Flagler State Park, still heading SE.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research relayed reports of J, K & L pods heading west out the Strait this morning.

September 28, 2007

Senior staff-member Dave Ellifrit was aboard to assist the scientists with the identification of individual Southern Resident Killer whales being sampled. The breath samples will be analyzed to determine the health of individual whales sampled. Members of J, K & L pods were observed.
Center for Whale Research website.
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I am a novice at this, but this afternoon, west of Salt Creek Park and very close to shore, I spotted an Orca spouting and playing in the shallow water. It only "rolled" once, but I could see a pretty tall dorsal fin and a long black back. It was very exciting. I only saw the one animal, and it didn't stay up long at all. If there was any specific movement that the whale was making, it would seem to have been toward the east.Hope this is helpful!
Julia Stratton
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Jim Maya called this evening to report J pod at the south tip of Henry Island, heading north at 6 pm. He heard reports of K's & some L pod whales on the west side of San Juan this afternoon.
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VOCALS ON THE HYDROPHONE! J's & K's making calls, 9:55 am. I hear all three pods are out spread from False Bay to Kellett.
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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Jeff Hogan called at 9:50 am to say he was hearing J pod plus other calls off west San Juan Island on the Orcasound hydrophones.
I tuned in & listened to them for awhile as well - it was great! sb

September 27, 2007

4 Killer whales were seen off of Cape Flattery. One was an adult male, two females, and one younger individual. Photos were taken and sent to the Center for Whale Research.
Jon Scordino, Marine Mammal Biologist, Makah Tribal Council
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Astrid van Ginneken was aboard. Members of L pod were observed.
Center for Whale Research.
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Tracy from Beam Reach called this morning to report they had heard reports of [orcas] both off Pt. Roberts and off SW San Juan Island this morning.
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We received a short email from Tammy Immer reporting "1 Whale sighted from Lummi Island heading towards Clark Island. I could not get a good look but the Whale surfaced quite a bit." We have emailed to see if she was able to ID the species & will send more info. as we get it.

September 26, 2007

We live in Port Angeles and have been watching a small gray about 23' in the Salt Creek area here... he or she is beautiful and feeding well as much as we can see. We saw him about 4 days ago and before that about a week as well as the day after the killing in Neah Bay. Thanks
Sandy & John, Port Angeles
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J's, K's and L's come in from the ocean actively catching salmon. Staff of the Center for Whale Research and the University of Washington continued fecal sampling, with members of K and L- pod. The whales were first reported heading east near Race Rocks, British Columbia. The whales were encountered as they crossed Haro Strait approaching the west side of San Juan Island at 2:36 p.m. Several hours were spent with the whales as they slowly foraged north through Haro Strait. Several salmon kills were observed, numerous scales were sampled, and two poops were collected during the encounter. The encounter ended at 6:34 p.m. as members of J, K and some members of L-pod continued northward towards the Fraser River.
Center for Whale Research
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Tracy from Beam Reach called this morning to report a superpod (J, K & L pods) off Lime Kiln, San Juan Island.
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The [orcas] came in from the west and hit the west side of the island at about 2:30 pm. Initially, some went north and some went south. Js and Ks went north first, although J27 went north with some L pod whales. At this point the whales were spread from Eagle to above Andrews Bay, mostly traveling and foraging in small groups. Then lots of L pod whales decided to go north also. There were some surface vocals (my favorite) from L pod whales at Land Bank. At around 4:45 pm, the last group that I saw to go north was a great L pod nursery group It had lots of calves and juveniles. As I watched, the nursery group kept changing in size from what appeared to be about 5 to 6 whales up to more than 15 at some surfacings, and then smaller groups again. The two youngest calves, L109 and L110 appeared to be joined by a calf from last year. The calves were quite energetic, with lots of tail slapping, porpoising and some breaching, and lots of rolling over each other. As the group approached Lime Kiln going north, the whales turned in unison on the surface, headed south still on the surface, and broke into smaller groups of about 5 or more whales. Then at least seven to eight of the whales appeared to be logging on the surface headed south, in two separate groups. Suddenly two juveniles began porpoising south. The rest of the whales continued to log on the surface for about a minute or two, still pointed south. Then they turned north and continued north. I thought this was unusual, to leave the juveniles by themselves, but later learned that a group of L pod whales had remained south. There must have been some strong communication going on between the whales at Eagle and those at Lime Kiln. Great September whales.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island

September 25, 2007

Mark Mallard tells a story of many transients south of Victoria. In the morning he had included T12A, T46B and T46B1 near William Head and Pedder Bay. They were feasting on common murres! After noon he was with the T41's, T109's (with calf), and the T46's - possibly up to 18 transients altogether. These last whales went on in to Victoria Harbor by 6 PM., while the first group headed south fast, toward Dungeness.

September 24, 2007

We heard reports of Transients spotted well west of Race Rocks coming eastbound, and were sorely tempted to head over there. Then we got several calls from another boat saying he had several minke whales near Middle Bank and Dall's as well. We had not one or two, but 5 minke whales actively feeding near Middle Bank. It was so still and calm, we were able to shut down completely and just listen to the minke's as they attacked baitball after baitball. The birds would school the fish, and make a racket doing it. Then you'd see several minke's surface heading for the baitball. Then WHAM--the birds would go flying into the air and the minke got a huge mouthful of baitfish. This is the best minke encounter I've ever had, and several times we saw minke's swimming high speed on their sides through the fish--it was so cool. Dozens of Dalls Porpoise were also feeding in the area, and we saw a new baby hybrid calf! We ended our trip at Whale Rocks, where we watched 49 Steller Sea lions settling down for the evening.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Mark Mallard had transients south of Victoria.

September 23, 2007

Today I went out at 10am. Same K's and L's were seen off Hanna Heights travelling north. Then we got word of J's and L2's coming back down and all pods met up north of Kellet Bluff off Henry Island forming Superpod!! There were a whole bunch of tail slapping, some breaches, spyhops. Then on the 1.30pm trip we met up with the same whales again at Andrews Bay. Still a few breaches but mostly just slowly moving south. They were very spread out in small groups. L41, Mega passed by several times and also L pod's newest member L110 came over and took a peek at us alongside it's mom. And just before leaving.. K21, Cappuchino cruised by.
- Ly, orcageek and grateful friend of Prince Of Whales.
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Capt. Jim Maya tells us that J's and the L2's (see CWR ID Guide, bottom page, for the L2's) came down Boundary Pass and Haro Strait and met up with K's and the rest of L's just off the west side of Henry Island (west of San Juan Is.) just after noon. They played for about an hour in roughly the same place under beautiful September skies. Then they all turned south along San Juan Island and by 4 PM they were spread out foraging off Lime Kiln Lighthouse.
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Turn on your hydrophone to OrcaSound! K's are singing up a storm as they go by heading North. Heard J's were up near Boundary coming down---sounds like we may have a super pod in the making! Will let you know more later today. I LOVE September whales!
John Boyd (JB)

September 22, 2007

On the 11am trip we caught up with K's and the rest of L pod north of Constance Bank. It was rough out on the water and the whales were fastly moving east. I only got a possible ID on L73, Flash.
- Ly, orcageek and grateful friend of Prince Of Whales.
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K's & L's showed up today on the west side of San Juan Island. I wasn't out today, but did manage to see a few whales from shore while running back and forth to town!
John Boyd (JB)
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LOTS of Orcas. I understand it is L-pod and K-pod from Jim Maya, who was out there with them just below the inn when I called him this afternoon. They were spread out and "foraging".
Helen King, Innkeeper
Highland Inn of San Juan Island
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While visiting a friend on North Bluff Rd, I heard two definite blows. This was around 2:30pm. They sounded close to the Whidbey side-We looked but never saw anyone.
Kathy Fritts
Freeland
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This is In regard to David Day's inquiry regarding possible whale blow sounds he heard on Thursday night. There have been a couple of Grays in Saratoga Passage, in our vicinity, for the last seven to ten days. I have had a couple of visuals and heard several aural contacts on quiet nights during that time. On the visuals, they were near shore at the mooring buoy line on one occasion and about a quarter mile offshore on the other. Both times they were heading southeast towards Cama Point which is about a mile away from us. One seems to be much larger than its companion.
Dick
Manaco Beach
Camano Island
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From our house just south of Mabana on Camano, I also saw/heard something large and breathing about the same time. We had just gotten home shortly before 7 PM and I glanced out our window. The water was glassy calm and the light was such that I could see a "rough spot" out on Saratoga passage. It was not wind touching down, as there was no wind. I looked again with the binocs and saw it was a large school of fish with fins breaking the glassy water. My guess is adult salmon, but they could possibly have been dogfish, but I don't think dogfish would have been in such a large school. As I continued to watch, it looked like a school of small black and white dolphin/porpoise were feeding on the fish. I had also been hearing breathing. I scanned further north on Saratoga Passage and noted at least 3 more "rough spots". While I was scanning one of these "rough spots"( I'm assuming another school of fish), suddenly 2 very large dark shapes came up to the surface in the middle of the school. They did not have noticeable fins on their backs, and they did not appear to roll, but came straight up, then sunk back down. They definitely were not Orca. The grey whales are not around this time of year, and they would not be eating fish anyway, so I ruled them out, but that was the thought that came to mind because of the size. I'm not familiar with the minke so can't compare. I'd love to know what I saw!
Barbara Brock
Mabana, Camano Island

September 21, 2007

On the 9am trip with POW we got a report of orcas west of San Juan Island. We caught up with J's and L2's off Hannah Heights. It was great seeing the two brothers L78, Gaia and L88, Wavewalker travelling together. J's were once again extremely vocal, but this time I actually got to see them too! Then on the 12.15pm OM trip we headed out straight to San Juan. This time there were some breaches and cartwheels while the whales were southbound. On our way back I got to see a minke I missed in the morning. There were 2-3 of them at Hein Bank. Then further west we spotted some Dall's Porpoises. Back home I turned on the hydrophone and between 7.45pm and 9.30pm the whales were still highly vocal switching on and off between OrcaSound and Lime Kiln.
happy Ly.
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Jeff Hogan called in with logs of reports. J's and L2's headed north along San Juan at 8:30 AM, turned south about noon, and back north by 6:00 PM.
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J's were around making quite the racket I hear on the hydrophones. Rumor that they went north.
John Boyd (JB)

September 20, 2007

Jeff Hogan called in with logs of reports. J's and L's were along the west side of San Juan most of Thursday, ending up on Hein Bank (south of San Juan Is.) in the evening.

September 19, 2007

Jeff Hogan called in with logs of reports. L2's were reported inbound between Sooke, BC and Race Rocks Weds. evening.
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Did anyone else hear/see anything large and beathing in Saratoga passage Thursday nite?? I thought I'd heard a blow about 6ish as I was walking the dog down to the beach - but passed it off as someone dropping a sheet of plywood in their driveway over on the Camano side, then at 7:30 on the dot; and big "blow", I looked up and saw a 50 to 60 foot "disturbance" off of Eastpoint as if a gray or something equally as large had just plowed the surface. Raced into the house & grabbed the camera; set it on "night mode" - and waited - 15 - 20 minutes - nothing. Has anyone else seen/heard anything out there tonite?
David Day
Fox Spit Rd.
Whidbey Island
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The humpbacks are still around Chito Point - seven miles west of Sekiu. A research vessel took photos a few days ago.
Pat Ness
Chito Beach Resort

September 18, 2007

Dave Sexton reported a single male orca near Shelter Cove CA, just south of Eureka, 1/4 - 1/2 mile from shore.

September 17, 2007

Jim Maya called at 6 PM with a report of 5 transients moving at a relaxed pace northward out of Active Pass. Also, a humpback was cruising today south of Sooke, BC, and Steller sea lions have made their appearance in Speiden Channel, north of San Juan Island, and at Whale Rock, near Cattle Pass on the Southern tip of San Juan Island, as well as all around Race Rocks and elsewhere south of Victoria.

September 16, 2007

On the noon trip on Saturday we saw J pod in action and also a minke and Stellar sea lions and more.
Anne Pryich
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Just after 12:00, south of Hannah Heights -- [orcas] were right there! When we got out on the water, we had two groupings of whales, one near the False Bay area, and the second group out near Salmon Bank. But before we could get out there, we had a really nice viewing of a Puffin at the bottom of San Juan Channel. Followed shortly thereafter by a loon. In the still water near Salmon Bank marker, we shut down to watch the whales that were passing about 200 yards to our stern. Just a few whales here and there at the start. We were hearing J-Pod & L-Pod calls as they echoed off of the island and back towards us. Soon we noticed that whales were slowly gathering in one spot. Soon our dribs and drabs became 8, then over a dozen whales. They began logging on the surface for minutes at a time. Resting behavior was the appearance on the surface, but the hydrophone told another story as the vocalizations became louder and louder. Soon we were also hearing vocalizations above the surface!!! Then a lot of rolling around, pushing, and spyhopping. One whale made a "raspberry" sound above surface followed by what sounded like "la la la la la" (at least to me), and another huge spyhop. Then the whales turned south and we saw L67 Splash with a very attentive J27 Blackberry slowly closing in on her. She would log at the surface and as he came close, she would make a squeal above surface and then dive down. L88 Wavewalker was also getting into the "action" with an unidentified female. The best part of the whole experience---all the action was happening in one location with all the boats being very respectful and keeping their distances.
John Boyd (JB)
Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
Friday Harbor
UPDATE: The unidentified female I stated in my report is now known---I just looked at my pictures and noticed the "beauty marks" in the eye patches and the bump on the saddle patch. None other than one of my favorites--J22 OREO!
JB

September 15, 2007

I went out on the Western Prince II, the undisputed stars of our tour were none other than the magnificent and handsome orcas, whom we saw south west of Cattle Point Lighthouse. We saw J pod in its entirety as well as the L2's most of whom were engaged in some mighty good romping, treating us to breaches, pec slaps, spy hops and vigorous lob tailing. The wild grace of these animals had each and every one of us aboard in a state of rapt wonderment. We hardly dared to breath or blink. At one point, I believe a Minke was spotted and observed, but by that time I only had eyes for the whales. Firstly, was the unmistakable and stately, marcelled dorsal fin of J1 (Ruffles). The anticipation of where we'd see his proud and powerful fin, break the surface and shark through the water was half the thrill. I also saw L78 (Gaia) and J2 (Granny) swimming together quite playfully. At one point, L78 was swimming on his side quite close to J2 as was clear by the fact that his dorsal fin was moving parallel to the water's surface in lieu of perpendicular. It makes me giddy to think that perhaps these two are in the thick of a romance of some sort perhaps not unlike that between K21 (Cappuccino) and L2 (Grace) as appears on the Orca Network website photo- documented by Chantelle Tucker. Excitingly, as we were revving up to head back to the docks, Captain Ivan pointed out J16 (Slick) and her offspring including J33 (Keet), J36 (Alki) and precious J42, swimming in a tight formation off our stern with the exception of J26 (Mike) who was a short distance away from his subgroup but still traveling abreast. I was able to (at long last!) get a really good look at J42 as she was practically jumping out of the water in an effort to take a nice deep breadth. The naturalists on board (thank you Monica and Chris!) taught us that calves will do this in order to avoid getting water in their lungs as they take a breadth. In evidence was J42's splotchy skin described as normal and seen in a photo on the Center For Whale Research's website.
M. Jill Swanson, ACS/PSC: Media Chair
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J Pod, and L2's were spread out foraging between Hein Bank - Romeo.Alpha Marker all afternoon. A couple of Minkes were smelt but not seen in the area as well.
Brenden- SEAFUN SAFARIS
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Wake up calls from Lime Kiln! At 8.30am I heard some soft far-away calls. Definately J's. I know part of L's were with them yesterday, but I didn't hear them this morning. They started foraging around 8.37am until a plane flew by and the clicking stopped. At 8.43am they resumed their soft whistles.
A happy Ly, Orca enthousiast
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There have been humpbacks this morning - still out there at noon - two humpbacks have gone back and forth from Shipwreck point to the west of us, to the feeding spot to the east of Chito Point. We've had whales during this week also, however, I didn't identify which kind.
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort, west of Seiku

September 14, 2007

I was on a private boat tour and we sailed down Haro Strait to the south end of San Juan Island, with the end of the ebbing tide. As we rounded Edwards Point, we could see countless boats. I then saw fins about a mile to the east of us, heading west. North of Pile Point at about 1pm, we were treated to the sight of the unmistakable dorsal fin of J-1, Ruffles, by himself, in the lead of J-pod heading toward Lime Kiln Point. J- Pod seemed to be in small family groups, in a fairly slow traveling mode. I did deploy my hydrophone and hearing vocalizations was ice cream on the cake! After J-Pod passed, we started seeing small groups of L- Pod, I was able to ID J-57, Faith. They seemed to be in more of a foraging mode, as the small groups made directional changes and tacked back & forth to the shore & out. We even heard echolocation clicks on the hydrophone from L-Pod!! Eventually, L-57 turned around and headed back east, toward the other L-Pod groups. As some L-Pod groups foraged in False & Kanaka Bay, near shore, it looked like there was a playful group of juveniles just ahead of some adults, as they started spy hopping, breaching, cartwheeling, head standing, and a few tail slaps! Meanwhile, J-Pod had turned and headed south & west. It was now about 3:30pm, J-Pod was miles to the SW of us, L- pod was east of us spread from False Bay to offshore. We headed north, elated to have seen and heard close to 60 killer whales!
Caroline Armon, Naturalist by sea and land, San Juan Island and San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico
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There have been humpbacks from 4:00 pm until dark.
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort, west of Seiku

September 11, 2007

The orca sighting was on the RV Wecoma at 18:06 GMT as the ship was conducting a magnetics and multibeam survey off the coast of Oregon. The ship at the time was about an hour and a half to 2 hour steam from Newport, OR (close to the coast, northwest of port). Two individuals were sighted traveling at a moderate pace off the port bow. The two orcas surfaced almost synchronously at least three to four times and swam generally at a heading of 285 deg relative to the ship as the vessel passed. The CPA of the animals was approximately 250-300 meters. Pacific white sided dolphins, Dall's porpoise, and Humpback whales were also sighted in the area during the same day.
Howard Goldstein, forwarded by Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries:
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Ls off False Bay in the early evening, we had at least six and possibly seven sightings of minkes - 1 near Salmon Bank, 2-3 off Hein Bank, 1 north of Port Angeles, 1 east of Protection Island (a very small individual), and 1 NW of Protection Island. We were able to obtain ID photos of at least three of these that we'll be passing on to the minke whale project.
Robin Baird & Brad Hanson
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At Lime Kiln Lighthouse from 5:30-6:45 PM we had members from all three pods head north, then turn and go back south close to shore. There were several very unique observations, including a whale spyhopping with its mouth open and "gargling" water and a beautiful mother-calf double breach (probably Samish J14 and Suttles J4). Some other individuals spotted include K21 with K40; L7, L53, and L57 with the J2s; the K12 family group being quite playful and rolling around on the surface; and pretty much all of J-Pod.
Monika Wieland, Marine Naturalist and Wildlife Photographer
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Started with an unexpected sighting of whales around 8:30 AM by a friend of mine of a "lot of whales" near Sucia & Patos. Then word came around at 11:30 AM that all three pods were heading west past Race Rocks. I looked out the window and noticed the tide was really down, so that could only mean a strong flood. I kept telling people, "the whales are going to turn around, trust me." And wouldn't you know it, they did! We encountered the whales off the Victoria waterfront, with whales spread out in many smaller groups. We moved east away from the other boats and just waited to see if the whales would continue towards San Juan. And we had a lovely viewing of K-Pod: K7 Lummi, K11 Georgia, K37 Rainshadow, K21 Cappucino, K26 Lobo, K40 Raggedy were all swimming in a very nice group. The rest of the K's were just behind them, and J's and L's were in the rear. We watched the whales move right along the current rips seeking out salmon, and were befuddled for a moment by a larger male orca that showed up behind us. Why it was none other than L87 Onyx. Man is he growing up into a big whale! Lots of rolling around in the currents, some spyhopping, but alas no vocals. But it was good that they returned after only a few hours away instead of leaving for days and days. Last I heard, L's were still on the south end of San Juan and J's & K's were rumored to be heading north.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor

September 10, 2007

Southern residents up off Pt. Roberts
Robin Baird and Brad Hanson
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Jim Maya called at 6:35 pm to report J, K & most of L pods 7 miles due north of Patos Island, possibly getting ready to head down toward Lummi Island & Rosario Strait. He reported lots of socializing and recreational sexual activity amongst a beautiful sunset.
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At approximately 12:15 there were numerous orcas passing Point Roberts heading towards East Point. Probably Js and Ks and maybe Ls. They were moving slowly and doing some foraging. Very spread out for complete IDs.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Foundation
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We had J's, K's, and most of the L's coming down from the Fraser River Buffet, and we caught up with them just east of Point Roberts. For nearly an hour, we were shut down and just drifting as whales came by in groups of 3-4. As they passed by, the whales vocalized loudly and often. It was not quiet underwater the entire time we were on scene. First by was K7 Lummi, followed by K38 and K21 Cappucino and K40 Raggedy. We could get an idea of who was coming by just by listening to the hydrophone---first were kitten calls of K's, then the bird-like calls of L's. Sure enough, along came L57 Faith, and others.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor

September 9, 2007

Center for Whale Research senior staff-member Dave Ellifrit began an encounter at 2:30 pm with members of J-pod off Kellett Bluff, Henry Island. The whales were traveling northbound, with groups and individuals spread out over several miles. The whales continued north into Swanson Channel, where Dave left them at 3:58 pm and returned to Snug Harbor.
Center for Whale Research
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We were over on the west side of San Juan Island and as you know so were many Orcas.
Dr. John H. Brunke, P.E.
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Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research was able to ID the pod of Transients reported off Lopez Island & Anacortes as: "T124D, T90 and possible T100. These three groups would add up to nine."
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About 5:30pm about 2 miles off shore of San Juan Island, we had a superpod. You can see a mating sequence here. K21 (Cappuccino) lifts L2's (Grace) belly out of the water with his pectoral fin then he lays on his side and then she rolls over on her side as he rolls under the surface and we don't see him, one can only assume what is going on. After this, they go on their way breaching. There was a third individual on scene with them L88 (not seen in the composite) - an offspring of L2.
Chantelle Tucker @ Prince of Whales Ocean Magic
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This evening (1600-1900) we had members of all three pods traveling in close groups up Boundary Pass and into the Strait of Georgia. We left them 2 miles North of East Point pointed for Point Roberts.
Brenden/ Seafun Safaris
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We discovered all 3 pods of Southern Residents arrived on the west side of San Juan Island early this morning right off the Salmon Bank marker. We did confirm that L41 Mega was traveling near L67 Splash, and also saw J27 Blackberry. By the time our afternoon trip came around, the lead whales of J & K Pods were just passing the Turn Point Lighthouse still heading north. And for only the second time in 11 years of watching SRKW's, I saw a female (ID unknown) come to the surface about 1/4 mile from our boat, and do what I can only describe as "high speed tailslaps." Not one or two or three, but 12-15 in quick whacks, as fast as you can clap your hands. The last time I saw this was when J2 Granny did it about 5 years ago, and we noticed J1 turn around immediately and return to mom's side. This time the nearest whale began breaching repeatedly. We did have quite the mix of whales with J's confirmed, K's passing off in the distance, and nice passes with L57 Faith and J1 Ruffles. The "old fella" was taking his sweet time working a current line, as he went maybe 100 yards in a 10 minute period. We left the whales near the Pender Bluffs, and they were undecided as to which way they wanted to go.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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We saw many orcas off and around Lime Kiln, San Juan island in different locations in the area, for about an hour and a half in the early afternoon. Saw behaviors like spy-hopping and tail slapping. We also saw a mother and young calf fairly close. Puzzled by one solitary whale we saw several times. A transient? For quite a while he/ she was travelling horizontally just below the surface with his /her dorsal fin exposed.
Erica Rayner- Horn, Whidbey island
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We got a distant view of some orcas as our ferry approached the Anacortes dock. About 1:20pm there were a handful of orcas travelling rapidly NE from the area off Washington Park toward the area due north of the Anacortes ferry dock.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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T's were seen at the south end of Lopez Island yesterday, around noon. We caught up with them near Lopez as they headed towards Fidalgo Island. We stayed with them for over an hour, then they headed north towards Bellingham Bay. I estimated 10 all together, but couldn't figure out who they were. There was a calf with them, beyond the pink stage.
Jill Hein, Coupeville
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I heard a few orca calls on OrcaSound's Lime Kiln hydrophone at 4:45 pm & a few more on the OrcaSound hydrophone, a bit further north on W. San Juan Island, at 5pm.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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9:20 am a tight group of 7 or 8 orcas went past the south end of Lopez from west to east very fast. Another two or three orcas were separate but following the same travel pattern.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island

September 8, 2007

There was a whale, probably a humpback (?), who swam into Vaughn Bay, and then out toward Rocky Bay, near the north end of Case Inlet, southern Puget Sound. We saw the whale blow a couple of times, and his back came out of the water a couple of other times. Gordon Dona saw him closest, and thought it was a humpback. The spout was more like a spray, looking like a symmetrical tree. There was no dorsal fin (this sounds more like a gray whale than a humpback ?- sb). The whale was inside Vaughn Bay at about 5 pm, and left about 630 pm. The last sighting was of the whale rounding the northern point outside Vaughn Bay, and heading north.
Paul J. Kellogg
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We received a call from Davis Hyslop, who was on the Sidney-Anacortes 6 pm ferry, about 30 minutes from leaving the dock he said 2 orcas surfaced immediately in front of the bow of the ferry, about 10 yards in front of it, heading north. He was concerned because of the speed of the ferry & the close distance of the whales. He said he heard a noise on the port side of the ferry, & went to the back to watch for the whales. He said he saw one surface after the ferry had passed by, but not the other, though he watched for quite awhile. If anyone else was on that same ferry, or observed this, please send any further details you might have.
Orcas can be pretty quick & stealthy, so it's very possible they dove under, but the 2nd orca didn't come up for awhile - but we thought it important to get this info. out there in case anyone else witnessed this or has further info. sb.
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We received a call from Pat Ness at Chito Beach Resort, but instead of her usual cheery humpback and gray whale reports, she relayed the news that Makah Tribal members had shot a Resident Gray whale about 12 miles west of Seiku, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

September 6, 2007

Seemed like all of Js, Ks and Ls were in. We had a bit of foraging from J-pod early in the day (and collected two prey samples), but most of the rest of the day the whales spent socializing. Our "fluke- print" follows were quite productive for collecting fecal samples, a total of 12 throughout the day (most from Ls). We left the whales yesterday evening south of Salmon Bank, spread out over at least 4-6 miles, most of them heading south.
Robin Baird, Cascadia Research & Brad Hanson, NOAA/NWFSC
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Lone Minke whale ~4:40 pm between Ebey's Landing and Pt. Partridge (W Whidbey Isl) moving north out ~ a mile.
Al Luneman, Coupeville
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Pat Ness of Chito Beach Resort called at 11 am to report the mom & calf humpback from the past two days (see report below) are still off Chito Pt, and this morning they are joined by a 3rd, & possibly a 4th humpback! They are immediately north of Chito Pt (w. of Seiku, Olympic Peninsula), in the fog...

September 5, 2007

J-pod actively foraging and playful off west side of San Juan, 1:10 - 5:09 pm.
Center for Whale Research
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7:00pm - 9:00 pm, two Humpbacks immediately north of Chito Point, circling off the kelp bed. Appeared to be one large whale, underside of tail/flukes was mostly white, and one very small whale with a solid black tail/flukes......mother & calf?
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort

September 4, 2007

At about 4:30PM, we were privileged to observe transient orcas in the wild, always a remarkable experience. We caught up with the T-19's and the T-100's in Trincomali Channel, between Saltspring and Galiano Islands, just above Active Pass. As the BC ferries steamed past, the T-19's began lunging, a harbor seal in their midst, joined by the T-100's as they made the kill under water. Afterwards, they were slowly traveling south along Prevost Island, all of them breaching and socializing. One passenger called it "celebrating"--and I would have to agree.
Shann Weston, marine naturalist, The Western Prince, San Juan Island
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4:00 pm - 8:00 pm one Humpback circling in the feeding spot east of Chito Point , outside of and in the kelp bed.
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort
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We then ventured out to see J-pod coming across Haro. The whales seemed so peaceful and relaxed. The decrease in numbers of boats was a nice change. We watched a group of six to eight whales slowly make their way towards San Juan. They did some great spyhops, lots of tactile behavior, lifting each other up, tail slaps, and a few breaches. The lighting was incredible as the sun made its way through the hazy fog. We had some great vocalizations as well. I am really looking forward to the rest of September.
Alison Engle, Naturalist, Western Prince
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We saw a blow in Liberty Bay about 1700 this evening just off of Keyport! (Kitsap Peninsula/Poulsbo area) I called everyone to port and sure enough, two more blows were witnessed by all hands! This was a small, solitary, dark whale with no noticeable dorsal and no tail display on diving - Minke? (we were far enough past and going in opposite directions that it might have had a dorsal fin that we couldn't see. Three of us have a lot of sea time and a fair amount of whale experience, and I'm willing to bet that it wasn't a grey). Capt Steve saw what he thought was a small whale in approximately the same location last week from the flying bridge but no one else witnessed it then, and haven't heard any other reports.
Pamela, Pacific Voyages LLC

September 3, 2007

J-pod observed actively foraging salmon in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, 4:23 - 6:45 pm. Salmon scales were collected from this encounter and analysis will be determined this Fall.
Center for Whale Research
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2:18 pm, 3 miles south east of Port Angeles, 9 transient killer whales thought to be T090 T090B, T124, T124D, T124E, T100, T100B, T100C, T100D were making an underwater kill on unidentified prey. All kinds of behavior, tail slapping fluking, head stands, spyhops, zig zagging and lunging. Thank you Jared Towers for the identification.
Chantelle Tucker @ Prince of Whales Ocean Magic
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Slow cruise by about 15 orcas going from east to west along the south end of Lopez. 10am.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island
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At Lincoln Park about 3:00 p.m. I saw the backs of 3 orcas traveling south. They were taking it easy, obviously feeding in the channel between the park and Vashon Island.
Sue Oliver

September 2, 2007

J-pod forages northbound in Haro Strait as staff continue scat collection, 10:40 am - 3:20 pm.
Center for Whale Research
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My husband saw a gray whale feeding in shallow water in Crescent Bay near Port Angeles.
Brian & Sharon Holland, Port Angeles, WA
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I saw five or six orcas in the morning very close to the east shore of Saanich Inlet, just north of Coles Bay and Dyer Rocks. It looked like one older male (very tall slender dorsal fin which wobbled quite noticeably). Two small whales, one sticking very close to the side of the adult, calf -like behaviour. And some grey saddle patches. ...
Susan, in North Saanich
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I saw one gray whale, about 50 feet off the east shore of Maury Island, just north of Point Robinson (So of Seattle) traveling South along the shoreline, about 3 p.m. It came to the surface a couple of times, then flipped its tail in the air and was gone.
Pam McAllister
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There is a humpback out there at this minute.....6:00 pm, feeding in the 'spot' immediately east of Chito Point. He has circled deep into the kelp beds also, and has been out there most of the day.
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort (seven miles west of Sekiu)
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Orcas visit Bellingham Bay
SERGE GIACHETTI, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
A pod of Orcas swim in Bellingham Bay near Lummi Island Sunday afternoon. A rare spectacle in this area, the transient pod was seen swimming in and out of Bellingham Bay all afternoon. According to John Pedlow, seeing the Orcas was a rare spectacle in this area. The whales approached within fifty feet of his boat. Onlookers reported seeing the whales hunt and catch a harbor seal near Eliza Island. As opposed to resident pods, transient Orcas' diets consist almost exclusively of marine animals rather than fish. Because transient Orcas travel on extremely unpredictable routes, they are difficult to track and study.
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On the Island Caper we had such an amazing time with the transient orcas. Regarding how late they were in the bay: I was out in my kayak today and had a conversation with another kayaker. He told me that he was sailing with friends yesterday when they encountered the transients, including the large male (T-20?) near Eliza Island at around 4PM. That would seem to coincide with our sighting them a bit later and farther north on our return trip. He told me that he and his friends kept the group under observation until almost 8:30PM, when it got too dark to do so any longer. He said that the orcas had by then rounded Portage Island and were heading north in Hale Passage.
Brian Wall
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We were leaving Bellingham Bay for our whale watching tour on the M/V Island Caper, when we encountered dorsal fins in Bellingham Bay. Just before Carter Point we ran across transients. I counted 11 and the M/V Mystic Sea who were way off of out starboard said they saw 18 to 20. The only positive ID was T20. The rest were females, juveniles, and a "pinkie". They headed into Bellingham Bay to within one mile off of the cement plant. They were breaching, tail lobbing, cartwheeling, and generally just cavorting around like residents. I watched two juveniles porpoise and then dive on a small flock of common murres. Then a dead murre floated by the boat. They spent the entire day in the bay from 10:45 to 18:45, when we had to go back.
Victoria Souze, Naturalist, Island Mariner Cruises
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When going out with Island Mariner, we were amazed to see a group of Transients headed toward Bellingham Bay (spotted off of Chuckanut Bay). Our vessel turned and followed them, only to observe them for a little over 3 hours. The captain had called another whale watch vessel (based in Anacortes), and they came to Bellingham to enjoy this incredible event. There were an estimate of 30 orcas (Please check with the naturalist for Island Mariner for more specifics) , but I believe one of the Transients was T20. There were a number of juveniles and also a "pinky". They were exhibiting a number of activities, including: breaching, tail slapping, pec slapping, and rolling on their backs. At times, several animals split from the group and were investigating different areas of the bay. There was even a group that headed toward the old cement plant, venturing into about 60 feet of water. At this point, they were only several miles from the mouth of the Nooksack River! The naturalist stated that orcas were not spotted in the bay since 1952, so this was highly unusual. After the 3 hours of observation, the Mariner went out to do some sightseeing at the other islands. We returned to Bellingham Bay about two hours later to find the Transients still there. Their activity was slowed considerably from earlier, as they were slowly swimming around, heading south and west out of the bay. The naturalist surmised that they had feasted quite well (there are/were many Harbor seals in the bay), and were going into a sleeping mode. We did not witness any seal tossing, but did see on several instances an orca break into a dive. There were a lot of pleasure craft on the water, and unfortunately there were instances of the boats coming too close to the whales. I would like to say that they were ignorant of the rules that pertain to prudent whale watching, but when you see 2 whale watch boats in the vicinity, going very close to both does not make sense.
Cathy Barron
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J Pod at Monarch Head, Saturna Island, in the evening with the light as it's very best. We left them at 6:45 still going northeast.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island

September 1, 2007

CWR staff continue efforts to collect scat from J-pod in Haro Strait, 12:57 - 5:45 pm.
Center for Whale Research
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Two humpbacks feeding outside the kelp bed - going back and forth, from west to east to west to east, out of my range of vision, continually during the last four days - 8/28- 9/1. At one point Friday afternoon (8/31) , there were two Grays on the west of Chito Point, and two Humpbacks in the feeding spot on the east, for hours at a time. When I've been gone, or working, guests have continued to report seeing whales, with sightings at all times of the day, during the last two weeks, however, could not identify if they were Grays or Humpbacks.
Pat Ness, Chito Beach Resort (seven miles west of Sekiu)
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I was trolling for salmon at the southwest corner of the "Rock Pile" about 8 miles off shore (out of Lapush due west) at about 9:40 a.m. we noticed some small fins comming out of the water, about 20 yards to starboard of our boat. We idled down to about 1 knot to maintain steering. We counted the fins and we counted 4 or 5, then they started came out of the water (sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. whole body flops) and they were young orca whales (seemed real young to me). We pulled up the fishing gear and stopped the boat. They got within about 10 yards of my boat still jumping and disappearing and more jumping. What we didn't see was the adults coming from Port until one "gigantic Male" came out of the water about 15 yards from the boat. That got our attention! We counted 9 to 11 fins in the adult pod, however, we could have counted some twice or missed some too. The adults were about 50 yards from their kid's, both the adults and kid's were comming out of the water and then diving back down, at one time the kid's were lined up in formation chasing something towards our boat, then they dove down under the boat and came up about 50 yards to port. An adult whale (fin had to be over 6 plus feet in height, I'm 6' 1" and it was taller than me) came right up the port side of our boat (within spitting distance) cut in front of it and seemed to have moved us a little bit. It was like he/she was scratching their back. They ate and played for about 40 minutes. The adult group headed west and got a couple hundred yards from the kid's. The kid's were still close to us, and the adults must have made a call becuse the kid's took off in a hurry to catch up with them. It was all over by 10:30 a.m. and they were out of sight in a hurry. Needless to say, that salmon fishing got real slow in that spot. I don't know what pod it was. They all looked healthy, no scars or dings. The kids were different sizes, one was the runt (considerably smaller then the others). I can't say how many males, except one for sure (we got a close up of him). I didn't get any pictures. This was my first time fishing this area. It was a once in a lifetime experience, that I will never forget. [update] We did not see any seals, porpoises, or sea lions out on the "Rock Pile" off LaPush, WA. I am positive the young whales were orca's and not porpoises. They were swimming in front of the adult pod. I did not see any of them eating, but we were fishing for salmon and "marking" them on the sonar about 20 to 35 feet deep. When the orcas showed up the sonar went crazy marking fish. The fish showed up as big ball on the sonar screen. The adult group was circling as if they were rounding up salmon, and while you could see 3 big fins circling, one would come out of the water (whole body and smiling) in the middle of the circle, the 3 fins you could see would disappear for just a few minutes and then reappear circling. I don't know if it was the same three fins or different ones. The younger group was doing the same thing about 20 yards to the north, except there was only four of them.
Joseph Bilyeu
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Members of J-Pod hanging out at Eagle Point. As we came towards Eagle Point, J27 Blackberry made his way over to us, and every time we tried to back out of his way, he would adjust his course like a homing pigeon and slowly passed our stern. We were also able to ID J26 Mike, J28 Polaris, J16 Slick, J1 Ruffles, and what appeared to be the J22 clan (Oreo, Doublestuff, and Cookie).
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Orcas here on the west side of San Juan Island late afternoon. I heard blowing and smacking the water sounds and then watched for about 30 min. and they cruised by spread out. There were lots of whale watch boats and private boats keeping a respectful distance off shore with motors shut down drifting. The whales were headed north towards the Lighthouse. Big fins and smaller ones, but I don't know what pod. They must have gone by Limekiln Lighthouse about 5 PM.
Helen King, The Highland Inn of San Juan Island
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A minke whale in Admiralty Inlet between Port Townsend and Keystone, as seen from Point Wilson. It was feeding, and has been present in this location for at least a week.
Andrew Reding




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