Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots, Common Murres! A Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, a Great Blue Heron, a Sooty Shearwater and Gull species.
It was an incredible day of viewing and an ever-changing marine world all around us! The clouds and fog lifted on our morning tour revealing a beautiful flat calm ocean and Humpback Whales in their glory feeding. There was lunge feeding observed, some was at close range on both tours and an enormous breach was seen along with some five or more whales on the morning tour. As an added bonus, our passengers were very excited when a group of Dall’s Porpoises joined us briefly, bow-riding alongside!
On the afternoon tour, the sun was shinning brightly and a blue sky and ocean filled our eyes with immense beauty! We observed some seven or more Humpback Whales who were lunge feeding++. Freckles we observed tail lobbing and we also saw Slash and her calf! At one point we noticed Freckles surfacing with a gull in its mouth. When the whale opened its mouth and released the gull it swam free but was barely able to float. It was retrieved from the water and given a chance to recover and dry and was then released.
Lunge feeding is intense and birds who are also feeding at the surface (gulls) or diving beneath the water and at the surface (Auklets and Murres), are often injured or trapped momentarily inside the mouth’s of the surfacing Humpback Whales. It is by accident and not by intent as Humpback Whales do not have any teeth and have no interest in feeding on birds.
Steller Sea Lions were active, feeding and swimming in the water and one we observed was eating a fish at a distance. The scenic beauty today was wondrous, we could not have asked for a more beautiful day!
Photo Credits: Muriel Halle. All photo’s have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.