Sightings today: Humpback whales, Orca, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles and a Mink.
The question for the day is ‘what didn’t we see today?’ There were so many species that came out to play during our mystical fog tours. The low-lying fog limiting our visibility especially on the morning tour did not stop us from seeing almost the entirety of marine mammals that can be sighted in this region. The Orca’s arrived back from the east, Humpback whales were sighted in their usual feeding spots and there was so much more to see besides!
Two types of dolphins were observed, the smaller Pacific White-sided dolphin and our Northern Resident Orca. The orcas, travelling in a big group were identified as the A23’s, A25’s, A30’s, I15’s and I31’s (A and G-Clan orcas). At times we have observed the dolphins swimming amongst the Orca, buzzing around them like Mosquitos around an Aussie. During these moments we see the Orca taking longer, deeper dives trying to rid themselves of these pesky dolphins that either are deliberately bugging them or they simply want to play.
Dall’s Porpoises in small pods were seen during both tours that went out today. There are times they have been mistaken for young Orca calves, due to their distinctive black and white colouration. Our larger Sea Lion, the Stellar Sea Lion was also observed, in fact a group of three were seen swimming and foraging on the calm, tranquil sea that made for a smooth comfortable ride aboard MV Seasmoke.
Although there were numerous Humpback Whales out and about today, we identified Lucky and Guardian. It is becoming easy to spot Lucky from even a far distance away just from the brilliant technique this whale uses for feeding. Lucky is the bubble-net feeding Humpback that we have often seen feeding in this manner this summer and it is always a special treat to see.
As we journeyed alongside the smaller islands and coastal nooks and crannies, we had a good look at a Mink who was scampering along the shore. Harbour Seals surfaced on occasion, wide-eyed while others hauled out, mothers and their pups, stayed upon the rocks and observed our passing. Because of the fog on the morning tour, the Bald Eagles had a strong presence. As they perched on a cedar branch, their wings open and stretched in order to dry them off, they looked massive as though it was actually Batman up in the tree. Even the Red-necked Phalaropes, the smallest bird we encounter in these parts look bigger when they have fog as their backdrop.
For those guests traveling from overseas, today was definitely a nature bucket-list day!
Seasmoke photo’s, taken by Julia today, have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.