Our sightings today: Humpback whales, Harbour seals with pups, Stellar sea lions, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Marbled Murrelets, Ancient Murrelets, Red-necked Phalaropes++, Rhinoceros Auklets , Cassin’s Auklets and Common Murres.
What a great day it was to be out on the water and viewing all of the magnificent beauty in our surroundings. The weather was sunny without any wind and the sea glassy and like a mirror reflecting the gorgeous colour of blue!
Our tour began by viewing the Humpback whale Argonaut and on hearing about a whale that was bubble-net feeding we headed in that direction. We were very fortunate to enjoy fabulous viewing while experiencing first hand the whale named Lucky who was indeed bubble-net feeding.
The bubble-net feeding technique is still very rare in our area but is well-known and documented by film of Humpback whales feeding in SE Alaskan waters. Bubble-net feeding is a cooperative feeding method used by groups of humpback whales and also individuals as we observed today. It is a learned technique and not all populations know how to create a bubble net and the whales have to learn the method in order to be successful.
As we neared the area where Lucky was feeding we cut our engines and allowed the current to drift us down, and at a safe distance from Lucky, we sat watching the forming of 15 or so bubble nets, observing the whale lunging up through the middle of the net with mouth open wide. In the distance, we saw the blows from at least 3 other Humpback whales.
It was a privilege seeing Lucky feasting in this manner and the first bubble net feeding that we have witnessed so far this summer. All of the above made for some absolutely spectacular viewing today!