Resident orcas: A34’s & A36’s inbound today!

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It was a perplexing and exciting day with many orcas in the area, both Resident and Biggs (Transient) Orcas. Making our way out through the Plumper Islands into Blackfish Sound this morning in foggy conditions, we stopped frequently to listen for Humpback whale and Orca blows. We heard one Humpback whale blow but because of heavy marine traffic in the area it was difficult to listen for further blows, however, it was also at that time that orcas were reported travelling in from the Penfold Islets in the Queen Charlotte Strait and simultaneously, a Humpback whale was also sighted nearby.  As we headed in the direction of the orcas, the heaviness of the fog had dissipated allowing good visuals of the Queen Charlotte Strait and soon we could see a group of orcas travelling towards us, they were grouped together in a resting line.  While most of the fog had cleared there still remained a thin veil which made identification of the orcas difficult and also because they were grouped so close together and a new calf was among them, it was exciting; knowing that it was “in-coming orcas” of some 10 – 11 in number and they were not the A30’s.  With photo identification, we were able to acurately identify the A34 Matriline and also the A36 Matriline (brothers A37 & A46) travelling together in a resting line. It is the first visit that the A34’s have made it into the area all summer and the fact that there was a new calf among them and that the A36’s were also with them, adjoined to the line, was heart warming and very significant news!  The new calf has now been identified by Jared (DFO) as A62’s new calf. At the time of the sighting of the orcas, a second humpback whale was also sighted close by. With the A34’s and A36’s accounted for, it was amazing to then learn that the A30 Matriline had gone by us,  somewhere silent in the fog, as well,  two groups of Biggs Transient Orcas were sighted in the vicinity of Blackney Passage. A mystery in the making and a puzzle solved, it was a fabulous viewing! Also seen today: Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals,  Pigeon Guillemots, Rudy Turnstones, Belted Kingfishers, a Great Blue Heron, a Double Crested Cormorant, Rhinoceros Auklets, Marbled Murrelets, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels,  Common Murres and Gulls (Glaucous-winged, Herring, Mew and California).

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