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Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents (J pod)
Transients/Bigg's killer whales
Coastal Orcas
Gray whales
Minke whales
Humpbacks
Find a wide range of books related to orcas at the Orca Network Amazon store.
Orca Network recommends:
The Lost Whale, by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisolm  
An intensely personal story...but this person is a young orca.  

Lost Whale book...ver scaled  

 To learn more about orcas: 

Orcas in Our Midst, volume 3, by Howard Garrett

Orcas in Our Midst,

Vol. 3: Residents and Transients, How Did That Happen?

Click here  

to order YOUR copy!

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The bestseller about orcas in captivity.

Death at SeaWorld, by David Kirby 

   DeathatSeaWorld


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orca Lolita/Tokitae,

captured in Penn Cove,

Whidbey Island, WA

in 1970, somehow surviving in a small tank at the Miami Seaquarium ever since.

Tokitae looking up at us from her tank in Miami, FL in the late 1990s 

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May 18, 2014

We are watching and visiting the whales in their home~

Please observe, love and respect them from a distance.

Having trouble viewing this Sightings Report? Archived Reports can be found HERE.
Whales of any kind have been few and far between around here lately. J pod departed the Salish Sea early on May 10 after about 24 hours foraging up and down Haro Strait, Boundary Pass and points north. They were reported to be spread out for miles, foraging constantly, a sign they were searching high and low for the Chinook salmon they depend on to sustain them. Apparently they didn't find much so they went back out to the coastal waters to catch Chinook heading for the Columbia or other rivers. In their wake a flurry of media stories emerged across the country and around the world focused on J2 Granny and her estimated 103 years of life. She is becoming a legend, which informs people about her and her family, and orcas worldwide. It is important to note, however, that her birthdate is an estimate with a wide margin of possible error, based on statistical work done by Peter Olesiuk in 1990. Granny herself is probably not so interested in her age as she is on finding enough of their chosen fish for her extended family. Pictured with J2 in the media, but usually not identified, was 22-year old male L87 Onyx, who has been Granny's companion for the past 3 years since her presumed son J1 Ruffles disappeared in late 2010.

A rarely seen group of Transients/Bigg's Whales were found in Haro Strait and Boundary Pass May 15, and rash of reports have come in all week from coastal waters within the Southern Residents' known range as far south as northern California, but in most cases it's not clear which type of orca were seen.

A humpback visited Puget Sound May 11 and the Strait of Juan de Fuca May 17, and minke whales have been reliably found on Hein Bank, south of San Juan Island (see photos below), but the only gray whale report since May 5 was from Rosario Strait on May 16.

For fellow photo-ID fans, one of the orcas first identified off Iceland in the 1980's has been seen north of Scotland according to Icelandic Orcas, again demonstrating the lasting value of photo-identification.

We always know where Lolita is. This courageous and gentle L pod orca who was captured in 1970 in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island remains confined in a 20' deep concrete tank in Miami, where she's been since 1970. Last week the theme park was sold to Palace Entertainment, owner of dozens of parks in the US and Europe. We sent out a brief description of the sale and what it may mean for Lolita, and some ways we can all help to make sure she comes home to the Salish Sea some day soon, in Lolita Update #135 - What we can do now.

To raise funds for the campaign for Lolita's retirement where she was born and raised, we all can be a part of the Spring Fling for Lolita in Chicago (Facebook link), coming up on May 24th. Veronica Wolski and Tracy Brom Radford are gathering some amazing auction items from Lolita supporters all over the world - Check out the ONLINE AUCTION, and bid on over 300 beautiful whale and nature related items until May 26th.
Photo of the Day
"Exotic" transient female, T139, surfacing next to T18.
Photo by Katie Jones, May 15, 2014.
Southern Residents (J pod)
May 10
J28 & J46 off Sheringham (about 35 miles west of Victoria) on Saturday morning heading west! This was our first encounter with Jpod this season and it was great to see so many of our old friends including J2 "Granny" the 103 year old matriarch of Jpod:)
Photo by Andrew Lees, May 10, 2014.

May 10
After yesterday's exciting discovery that resident orcas were back in the area, we had our fingers crossed we would find them again today- and we did, heading west in Juan de Fuca Strait off of Point-no-Point, which is the farthest west we can travel in a 3 hour trip from Victoria.
Prince of Whales Whale Watching
Transients/Bigg's killer whales
May 15
T139.
Photo by Katie Jones, May 15, 2014

May 15
We had a bit of an exciting occurrence here in the islands - we encountered three transient orcas that have possibly not been seen in our neck of the woods before - T139, T141 and her calf. They were traveling with the T18 group (which is frequently sighted here). T139 is estimated to have been born in 1978 and T141 in 1985. According to the "Transients" book by Ford and Ellis: "This group, encountered on only a few occasions in British Columbia, is very poorly known." Of course this book was written quite a number of year ago, but still enchanted to encounter some exotic transients.
Katie Jones

May 15
T139, T141, and a small juvenile that was not T141A (maybe T141B-I'll check with Jared) that were with T18 and the T19s today in Haro Strait and Boundary Pass.  This was their first visit to this area to my knowledge.  
Dave Ellifrit

New Bigg's Killer Whales Visit the Salish Sea.
Photo by Simon Pidcock, May 15, 2014.

Photo by Simon Pidcock, May 15, 2014.

Photo by Simon Pidcock, May 15, 2014.

May 15
Today we had some new Bigg's Killer Whales visit the Salish Sea. We got to spend some time with them in Haro Strait. There were seven animals traveling together spread out over a few miles. One of the families were the T018's who we see fairly regularly in our waters. The other three whales traveling with the T018's were T140, T141 and I believe T141B. This is the first time I have seen these whales and apparently this is the first time they have been recorded in the Salish Sea. They tend to spend their time on the Central Coast. Beautiful morning on the water. **Please note all of our images are cropped and taken with a telephoto lens**
Simon Pidcock, Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching - Cowichan Bay

May 15
1:47 pm - T097 and T093 off Constance Bank. I got the report of them off Constance Bank traveling NE towards Trial Island off Victoria BC.
Josh McInnes

May 12
Transients in Dungeness Bay. Lat/Long: 48.177305/-123.106613. I'm a volunteer lighthouse keeper at the New Dungeness Lighthouse on the spit at Sequim. There are several orcas in the bay, unfortunately being harassed by a sailboat who is chasing the pod around the bay as they try to feed on the abundant seal population here. I'm having trouble getting a clear count, with the sailboat constantly breaking up the pod, but there appears to be at least 4 adults and one youngster. Initially they were feeding with some playing (tail lobs, juvenile spy-hopping). Once the boat began harassing them, they seemed to primarily be trying to avoid the boat, essentially until the boat chased them out of the bay.
Sarah Miller

May 12
Mark Lee called in a report of 5-6 orcas, including one juvenile, heading NE at 9:30 am near Bachelor Rock off Port Angeles, just 50 yards from the bluff.

Pretty special afternoon on the water: one boat, one whale -  T124C, and stunning sea conditions in south Georgia Strait.
Photo by Monika Weiland, May 11, 2014.

Photo by Gary Sutton, May 11, 2014.

Saddle underwater.
Photo by Gary Sutton, May 11, 2014.

Transient Killer Whale TO65A with her approximately 3 month old calf, TO65A5 up in Active Pass BC on Saturday. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms at sea and ashore.
Photo by James Gresham, May 11, 2014.

May 10
Just left T65s, 6 of them, heading south in Swanson Channel. Followed them just outside Active Pass! Saw the baby, too.
Vickie Doyle

May 10
Following reports of transient orcas near Active Pass, Matt joined the 5 transient orcas on the East side of Salt Spring Island and followed the "playful" group as they travelled towards Moresby Island.
Prince of Whales Whale Watching
T65A with her new calf T65A5.
Photo by Gary Sutton, May 10, 2014.

Lookit that face! There was another whale coming up behind this one (who I thiiiink is 65A3), hence the peering.
Photo by Andy Scheffler, May 10, 2014.

T65A5 and his family!
Photo by Andy Scheffler, May 10, 2014.

Coastal Orcas
May 15
Bret Greenheck of Yaquina Head Park, Oregon, reported seeing two adult male orcas around 5 pm May 15, approx. .5 mile from shore off the headland, milling around Seal Rock for several minutes, then heading west around the headlands. He went to a higher viewpoint to try to find their direction of travel but could not re-locate them.
Susan

May 15
Stan Crupen - sport fisherman, called to say he saw about 6 orcas, including two adult males, in water 350' deep just off Bodega Bay CA.

May 14
1:00PM - West Coast Catch Shares Ground Fish fishery observer spotted a pod of killer whales circling the vessel at 40 28.27 N, 124 34.72 W (north of Cape Mendocino CA). The pod appeared to be comprised of 3-4 females and one large male. After an hour of the whales circling the vessel they continued North. Approximately 1-2 miles away the whales were observed extensively breaching. -M. Winscher
Alisa Shulman-Janiger has ID'd the male as CA94, Transient-type mammal-eater, never associated with other known transients. This is only his THIRD sighting! The first was in 1990 - off of Santa Catalina Island!
Naked Whale Research
This is an amazing sighting of a very distinctive male! He was with two very distinctive females (as well as several juveniles) during his previous two sightings. I did not see those females in any of the images that JC sent to me. One female suffered some sort of injury between 1990 and 2008, and lost over half of her dorsal fin!
Alisa Shulman-Janiger

May 14
3 orcas reported traveling north at 38.23.967N 123.15.637W (Northern California), at 4:15 PM, by Eric Burke.

May 13
7:15 PM - Orca Pod near Depoe Bay Oregon. I saw a pod of Orca near the first buoy in Depoe Bay. They were spyhopping, breaching and feeding on a bait ball. There were approximately 5 Orca with one large male.
Photo by Brent McWhirter, may 13, 2014.

May 11
TWO orcas - TILLAMOOK BAY OR - PAST PIRATES COVE SOMEWHERE INTO THE MAIN BAY, going in at about 1000 and then out about 1130 PDT (during last part of flood tide) ONE MALE ONE FEMALE I THINK.
Steve Wasnock

May 10
8:00 AM - Sighting near newport OR. 4 or 5 Orcas just before red buoys outside of newport Yaquina Bay. Traveling south. Dave Ellifrit: L85 and L25 are there!
Photo by Tamara Conklin, May 10, 2014.

May 6
Heather Mann called in a report about seeing 6-12 orcas 33 nm west of Spencer Creek OR, at 44 43 39N x 124 08 03W to 44 44 09N x 124 08 03W (between Newport and Lincoln City).
Gray whales
May 16
7:10 am - Marie Waterman of WA State Ferries called to relay a report from a ferry captain of two gray whales heading south in Rosario Strait.
Minke whales
May 11
Minke on Hein Bank.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, May 11, 2014.

Minke on Hein Bank.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, May 11, 2014.

Minke on Hein Bank.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, May 11, 2014.

May 11
Lone Minke betwen Ebey's Landing and Ft. Ebey (NW Whidbey Island, WA) slowing moving north in the sun at 1pm Sunday.
Reported by Al Luneman.
Humpbacks
May 17
A large humpback whale graced us with its presence on the American side of the Juan de Fuca Strait. Captain Scott aboard the Ocean Magic II believed that the large male was "Split Fin", who was travelling solo just 2 nautical miles off Crescent Bay. He noted that when they shut the engines off completely, they could hear the whale breathing as it slowly surfaced time and again!
Prince of Whales Whale Watch
A humpback whale off Crescent Bay.
Photo by Marie O'Shaugnessy, May 17, 2014.

May 11
8:30 - I might have just seen it approaching west point lighthouse. It's much closer to the east side and I'm looking from Bainbridge. I didn't see a blow, but saw what looked like a whale back. Still headed south.
Connie Bickerton

May 11
7:54 - Saw something barely break surface now by jetty leading into lochs heading south.
Doug Hayman

May 11
8:00 - was last surface we saw still out from the marina. This whale was barely breaking surface, blows not very robust...definitely in slow restful/lazy but steady travel mode.
7:43 - surfaced out from Golden Gardens and again at 7:53 out from Shilshole Marina heading towards West Point
6:07 - and surfaced south of Richmond Beach, was able to catch glimpses it's peduncle.
6:25 - shallow surfaces, still southbound east of mid channel. Probably out from Carkeek or nearing.
5:49 - Ed spotted heart shaped blow south of mid channel buoy out from Richmond. Beach. Southbound
Alisa Lemire Brooks

May 11
5:34 - Definitely humpback with flat elongated dorsal fin. Was about 60 feet offshore. Last spout was about 1/4 mile off shore still heading south. Probably near Richmond beach by now if he kept that speed
Ariel Yseth

May 11
Ariel Yseth called at 5:05 pm to report what looks like a humpback whale 50 - 70 yards off the Edmonds Marina, heading south! She saw several big spouts, and a small dorsal fin. Let us know if anyone else in that area sees it ~
ABOUT ORCA NETWORK  
Orca Network is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats.

Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network involves citizens in helping researchers track the movement of whales, and encourages people to observe whales from their homes, businesses, ferries, and beaches.
Whale reports are sent in to our Sighting Network and emailed out to researchers, agencies, and citizens on our network, and posted on our website (MAP of sightings also on website). Whale reports and observations are sent in by a variety of sources, and Orca Network does not guarantee the accuracy of any report or whale identification.

 

TO REPORT WHALES, CALL: 1-866-ORCANET (1-866-672-2638), email info@orcanetwork.org, or post sightings on our Orca Network Facebook page.

 

*BE WHALE WISE! BOATERS - NEW FEDERAL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AS OF MAY 16, 2011:

 "The new rules prohibit vessels from approaching any killer whale closer than 200 yards and forbid vessels from intercepting a whale or positioning the vessel in its path. This doubles the current approach distance of 100 yards. The rules go into effect May 16 and apply to all types of boats, including motor boats, sail boats and kayaks, in Washington"

 

For more information on the new Federal Regulations, visit the NOAA Fisheries website

 

 
To report harassment of whales in US waters
, call NOAA Enforcement: 1-800-853-1964;

In Canadian waters, call DFO's Observe Record and Report (ORR) Violations Hotline: 1-800- 465-4336

Report the boat name &/or a description of the boat, & get photos if at all possible.