Marine Mammal Extravaganza!

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Fern ~ Humpback Whale

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Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas Galore! Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, and Gulls Galore!

Today’s tour has to be one of the best! There were Orcas everywhere and Humpback Whales also. To sit quietly with our engine off and drifting in the current, watching and listening with sights and sounds of Cetaceans in all corners wherever we looked, it was fantastic! The orcas that we identified were: I15’s, A30’s, A23s, A25s, G3s, G16s and possibly more Gs were in the mix! They were extremely vocal and as we sat listening, we could distinguish G and A-Clan calls.

There were 10 Humpback whales in our vicinity of viewing today, among them were White Eyes, Fern and Merge. How marvellous it was to appreciate each and all of the Cetaceans, big and small and to also enjoy the exquisite beauty that was always just a stone’s throw away!

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photo’s have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.

Orcas and Humpback Whales ~ Amazing!

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Arctic Tern

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Guardian ~ Humpback Whale

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Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, a Mink, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, a Common Loon, an Arctic Turn, an American Wigeon and Gulls.

It was an incredible tour that found us venturing out into the Queen Charlotte Strait looking for orcas who had been reported travelling west early in the morning. We caught up to the I15’s and identified I27+ new baby and I107 swimming together, they were being harassed by Pacific White-sided Dolphins and taking long dives. I77 who is the son of I27 was swimming with I128 who belongs to the I16 Matriline. Several more orcas were seen in the distance but as I128 was identified, it was likely the rest of the I16’s. We left the orcas who carried on travelling very slowly west.

There were many Humpback Whales in the area today. Guardian and the new whale Fern was identified but in total, there were about 15 HB’s in Blackfish Sound today! We observed some nice flukes and a breach far in the distance.

It was a fabulous day beginning first thing this morning when we saw a Mink running along the beach in Alder Bay and ending with some brilliant viewing of Stellar Sea Lions swimming nearby!

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photo’s have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.

 

Another day of magnificent beauty with A & G-Clan Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, a California Sea Lion, Harbour Seals, River Otters, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots and Gulls.

It was an incredible day of viewing on both of our tours and despite the late clearing fog this morning, our sightings of Cetaceans and seabirds was wonderful. The morning tour began with a family of River Otters who were on the dock in Alder Bay and ended with a gorgeous blue sky and blue waters and swirling drifts of fog!

The fog added its own greatness, revealing magnificent beauty including orcas in our surroundings and listening to A & G-Clan vocals via our hydrophone while the fog hung low and heavy was surreal! As the fog lifted further we observed that they were all spread out and some foraging behaviour was seen. A Humpback Whale was also seen who we identified as Ridge.

On the afternoon tour we found the orcas all spread out across Johnstone Strait and heard again their beautiful A & G-Clan vocals. The Orcas we identified were I16s, I65s, I4s (I15s), G2s and the A30s were also likely in the large spreading mix! They were foraging, tail slaps were seen and some resting lines that were mesmerizing to watch.

A small group of dolphins were observed feeding in amongst the resident orcas and chasing after them in their typical harassing play. At one point the orcas surprised us turning back and towards us, and they along with the dolphins surfaced close by as we sat drifting in the current. There were six Humpback Whales, Ridge and Inukshuk among them, with Ridge breaching! Of added interest was a lone California Sea Lion on the rock along with the Steller Sea Lions!

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photos have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.

A beautiful viewing of Resident Orcas: A30s, I11s, I15s and Humpback Whales!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Sooty Shearwaters and Gulls.

How good it was to see orcas today and there were many to see! I11s,115s, A30s and possibly more, including G2s. At the time of our viewing they were all spread out over a wide area and travelled west in George Passage, passing the Foster Islands and angling over towards Lizard Point before turning back to the east. We enjoyed very good viewing of I4 with her son I76 and I12 with her offspring I47,I78,I138 and probably I105 ( but not identified because of the wide spread). While observing the orcas we also listened to their beautiful A & G-Clan vocalizations.

Our Humpback Whale encounters were very exciting, we saw eight whales including Freckles who was foraging back and forth nearby. Breaching and lunge feeding activity we also saw at a distance.

How incredible was our day, the scenic beauty and changing colours in our surroundings were made even more beautiful in the aftermath of the falling rain.

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photos have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Wind, Waves and Whales ~ Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Female Belted Kingfisher with her newly fledged daughter (below her)

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions ++, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

It was an amazing day for experiencing wind, waves and whales! On our morning tour the rain subsided and we enjoyed viewing numerous Bald Eagles who were fishing intensely over a bait ball and we then encountered the I15s (and possibly others) who were travelling east from Lizard Point to Donegal Head on Malcolm Island. Humpback Whales were also seen on our tour this morning, they were feeding in wide circles in the area.

On our afternoon tour we observed Bald Eagles fishing once more over a bait ball, a good sign of an increase of food flowing into the area. It was a treat to have for a short time, Dall’s Porpoises bow-riding alongside our boat, they move so quickly and everyone enjoyed seeing them at such close range, especially the children on board! We encountered Orcas, both the I15’s and the A30s who had travelled west in Johnstone Strait to meet up with the incoming orcas, all of them turned back to the east. With heavy wind and waves upon the water we left the orcas in search of some Humpback Whales. It was a great viewing of Nic and Stripe, we enjoyed seeing them travelling together companionably! Steller Sea Lions and Harbour Seals never disappoint, they are always of interest and are always very photogenic!

Photo Credits: Muriel Halle ~ photos have been taken by a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

 

Beautiful A & G-Clan vocals, Dolphins and Humpback Whales!

 

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions hauled out ++and swimming, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

The sun was bright when we set out this morning and a lovely day it turned out to be. We encountered Orcas, the A30s and I115s travelling to the west near Kaikash and observed them foraging as they made their way steadily to the west. With our hydrophone deployed it was wonderful listening to the mix of both A & G-Clan vocalizations! There was also a group of some 20+ Pacific White-sided Dolphins travelling nearby the Resident Orcas, they were seen near Kaikash and in Blackney Passage and we had a really nice time viewing them.

Eight Humpback Whales were out there this morning including Slash and her calf, Ridge, and Freckles while another four were seen further away. It is always exciting to see Humpback Whales as their blows can be seen from a long distance away and seeing them at close range as they surface and dive is truly a treat to see!

Photo Credits: Muriel Halle. Photos have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

A day of surreal beauty ~ Residents and Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions hauled out and swimming++, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes+, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Black Turnstones and Gull species.

It was a wonderful day, beginning with sightings of incoming orcas (I15’s) who were seen in very foggy conditions. We had good visuals of the I4s, of I4 and I76 in particular! Their G-Clan vocals heard via our hydrophone were fabulous to listen to and so different to the A-Clan vocals that we have been hearing throughout the summer. There were four Humpback Whales seen this morning and while we were stopped and listening for blows in the fog, one surprised us when it surfaced and then dived under the boat, a surreal experience for all of us to see it passing nearby in the white void of the fog!

On the afternoon tour, we were surprised to find orcas nearby just as we were departing from Alder Bay. How incredible it was to see the 6-7 Orcas passing to the west and quickly so for they were travelling fast! Identified were the T109s (T109, T109B with a new calf), T012A was also identified.

There were four Humpback Whales seen on the afternoon tour and a Steller Sea Lion was swimming nearby the boat with many seen hauled out. Increasing numbers of Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres were observed in the vicinity today and cloud like flocks of Red-Necked Phalaropes were more abundant as well.

The sunshine this afternoon felt so good after the stillness and dampness of the morning fog but all of it was breathtaking and beautiful!

Photo Credits: Muriel Halle. All photos have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.