Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents
Bigg's/Transient orcas
Coastal orcas & grays
Puget Sound humpback, gray, & unidentified whales
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Orca Network recommends:
Puget Sound Whales for Sale: The Fight to End Orca Hunting, by
Sandra Pollard
This important volume recounts the people whose determined efforts ultimately succeeded in ending the captures.


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?

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to order YOUR copy!



  David Kirby  

The bestseller about orcas in captivity


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orca Lolita/Tokitae,

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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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February 14,  2016

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.
Through NOAA's satellite tagging project we know that K33 Tika ( and presumably all of K pod) spent the past two weeks traveling up and down the coast, spent one day mid Juan de Fuca Strait and were near La Push on the outer Washington Coast on the 9th.
Chris Dunagan sums up the latest movements of K pod and NOAA Fisheries in Orcas travel up and down the coast; NOAA lists 'priority actions'.

A  couple of Bigg's killer whale reports including the T60s & T002B who circumnavigated the San Juans Islands. First seen southbound in Haro Strait, then encountered eastbound cruising the south end of San Juan and Lopez Islands, and last seen continuing northbound in Rosario Strait.

Reports of a humpback, unidentified whales, and grays in Puget Sound.

One gray whale was seen from the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry on February 8th, but never resighted - we are not sure if it was one of our "regulars" or a straggler from the main migration, but keep your eyes on the water looking for blows. In the next few weeks we anticipate the return of the Saratoga grays.

KUOW talks to Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research in this piece How Helping Salmon Could Save Puget Sounds' Baby Orcas.

The Smithsonian writes about the Conservation Canines project featuring CK9's beloved  whale-poop sniffing dog Tucker in Meet the Dogs Sniffing Out Whale Poop for Science.  "With the help of Tucker and other CK-9 teams, Wasser's work on Pacific Northwest orcas has revealed surprising insights into the health and stresses on the resident whales of the Puget Sound region."

The Seattle Times gives us this richly illustrated look at the newly regenerated Elwha River in Elwha: Roaring back to life. "Elwha chinook - the biggest salmon in the river and unique in Puget Sound - cruised right past the former Glines Canyon Dam site just three days after it was blown out of their way."

As we can see, much work is being done on behalf of the endangered Southern Residents and their primary food source Chinook salmon. It's critical we keep our attention on this issue and keep doing the work on salmon recovery so that the 9 new calves and their families have enough food to survive. One way we can all contribute is to continue the calls and making contact with the White House and local policy makers asking them to support executive action to breach the four lower Snake River dams, the main tributary to the Columbia River which provides critical winter food for J, K, and L pods.  

Orca Network
Photo of the Day
February  9 
A majestic and iconic Pacific Northwest scene -
The T060's northbound in Rosario Strait.

Photo by Mark Malleson, February 9, 2016
Southern Residents
February 9 
9 February update - On our last update on 31 January, K33 and likely the rest of K pod were off the entrance to the Columbia River. Over the next five days they made several north--south excursions in the coastal waters between Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. On the morning of 6 February they began a dedicated trip north and on the morning of the 7th were in the west entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whales spent about a day in the central Strait of Juan de Fuca before heading back to the west. As of this morning (9 February) they were near La Push on the outer Washington coast.


January 31 
31 January update - Since our on the morning of the 27th K33 (and likely the rest of K pod) were traveling south had moved inshore and were off Hoh Head on the northern Washington coast. They continued south to just offshore of the entrance to the Columbia River by the morning of the 29th. They turned back north, traveling about about half way up the Long Beach Peninsula by the evening 29th before turning back south. They were off the mouth of the Columbia River by the morning of the 30th and then turned back north to off the entrance of Willapa Bay before again heading south. They were again off the Columbia by the morning of the 31st.
Bigg's/Transient orcas
February 9 
A pair of Steller sealions taking a look at T060C as he passes by Bird Rocks - Rosario Strait.
Photo by Mark Malleson, February 9, 2016 

T060's and T002B passing by Bird Rocks - Rosario Strait.
Photo by Mark Malleson, February 9, 2016 
February 9 
After receiving reports from Sandy Buckley and others of a small group of whales moving down the west side of San Juan Island in the morning, Dave, Giles, and Cindy met at Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 1020. Orca headed down to Salmon Bank and stopped to scan with binoculars. We turned off the engine and immediately heard a blow and soon found the whales just a little southeast of the Salmon Bank buoy....The T60's along with T2B were feeding on something that they had killed prior to our arrival....
Excerpted from Center for Whale Research Encounter no. 10.

T60's on the north end of Long Island (south end of Lopez Island).
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, February 9, 2016 


February 7 
 - T124A and T124A4 -
We came across the T124A's west bound in Race Pass early afternoon.

Photo by Mark Malleson, February 7, 2016 


February 5
(Encounter reports were included in our February 7th Sighting Report, this video was not)

A short distant video - approx. 7-8 unidentified Bigg's on their morning southbound travels through Puget Sound. Passing Golden Gardens Park/Shilshole Marina (north Seattle) around 10:45 a.m.
Video by Alisa Lemire Brooks, February 6, 2016 
Coastal orcas & grays
February 7 
Around 10-30 this morning- Sunday Feb 7th, we watched the whales (at least 3 different ones.) off of Neskowin Beach Oregon. They where fairly close to the shore. guessing grays and possibly an orca as it was darker (looked black) and had a fin on it's back.
Vicki Huges-Stanton


February 6 
About 1:30-1:45 p.m. Sunny day, air temp 70s, water 57-59. Manhattan or Hermosa Beach, CA: seen to the north of my position at 22nd St., Hermosa Beach, not far outside the surf swell. Single whale, traveling north parallel to beach, surfaced twice, several minutes apart. Black, arched back and tall black dorsal fin, slow-moving, no display of tail flukes. Moving north toward a small group of surfers. Based on videos and photos, I would say the one I saw in Manhattan/Hermosa Beach was a female orca.
David Olson, MD
Puget Sound humpback, gray, & unidentified whales
February 13 
1:45 p.m.  - A humpback is frolicking in Case Inlet. Leslie Demich called while watching a large whale playing with fins held high, between Johnson Point and Anderson Island, about even with Mill Bight.


February 11
Heard multiple blows this evening in Yukon Harbor. Walking along SE Cornell Road about 18:45 we heard sound of whale blowing and traveling Northwards between Blake Island and the road. I am hoping its the same Orca seen by Sam Wempe on the 6th in the same area. I will keep a close eye out tomorrow.
Paul Lee


February 8 
Gray whale reported by Veronica von Allworden, sighted from the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry at 2:35 pm, the whale was heading north toward Everett.


February 6 
10:45 a.m. - Hi, we saw a gray whale near Alki Beach today. It was at 10:45 am and it was heading south towards the Alki lighthouse. We saw it's backside come out of the water with lots of barnacles and then we saw it come up twice more to spout before we lost it in the distance.
Jennifer Tudor


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, or post sightings on our Orca Network Facebook page.



 "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.