Humpback Whales feasting and so much more!
Sightings today: Humpback whales, Harbour seals, Dall's porpoises, Bald Eagles and two Eaglets in a nest, a Great Blue Heron, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Belted Kingfishers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots and Gull Species.
We had two trips out today and both tours were blessed by the company of Humpback Whales.
When whale watching first began in this region over three decades ago, it was a rare occurrence to sight a Humpback Whale. This area once thrived with this species however extensive whaling in the early to mid-1900's wiped out this species from this region. Over the past fifteen years this gentle giant has made a comeback. What is truly exciting is the arrival of mums with relatively new-born calves. These calves are literally being introduced to this area as the place they migrate to maximize the long, warm and nutrient rich summer of feeding. These calves will grow up understanding that this is their traditional annual migration and then when they are old enough, they too will bring their new born calves here. If the food supply remains, the whales will continue to spend the summer months foraging and feasting. This is what we witnessed today – Humpbacks feasting.
During our morning tour we experienced fog, and with little wind and a warming sun it soon burned off to offer our guests a beautiful blue bird day. Everything about nature was in perfect balance today as Harbour seals foraged amongst the kelp while some lazed around on exposed rocks. Amongst the rocks and reefs, the seals shared this territory with foraging shore birds. All species relying on this intricate food chain to sustain themselves and their young.
During our run out towards the area where Humpbacks are often foraging, on the afternoon tour we encountered bow-riding Dall's porpoises. Their stunning colouration and unique double surface; first with their triangular shaped dorsal fin, followed by their slightly humped back, offered us a stunning view of them in transit. All on a glassy calm sea.
Feeding behaviour from the Humpbacks were enjoyed today, as some broke the surface with a wide open jaw and a forward motion, as they lunged at the ball of schooling fish that innocently drifted by. At the same moment as lunging, the whales released the majority of air in their lungs, and filled them back up again, all before descending beneath the sea. During this dynamic lunge, the sounds of this air exchange could easily be mistaken for a trumpet orchestra tuning their instruments. Delightful sounds from this dynamic oceanic region.
Reports from whale researchers announced that the Orca's observed over the past few days had moved a long way west. It was during these days, fifteen years ago that when the Orcas travelled out of this area, not a single other whale was likely spotted. Nowadays, the Humpbacks spoil us having returned to these waters, and gift us with their majestic presence. For that we are sincerely grateful.
There were numerous sightings of Bald Eagles today, in and out of nests and that included seeing two Eaglets in a nest that looked full grown and ready to fledge. Later we watched nervously as an adult Bald eagle spent some 10-15 minutes swimming towards shore and after what seemed an enormous effort, it finally made landfall, dragging with it a good sized salmon much to the relief of everyone onboard!
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo's have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.