Thursday we have a group of students from Colorado who are spending a week on San Juan Island as part of their school’s marine biology science program. My fingers are double crossed in hopes of a whale sighting. I know we will find lots of wildlife and this group has high interest for anything in the wildlife category.
We find three families of Canada geese out for a daily walk. This family has only three chicks, while the other families have six each. I wonder if some of the goslings fell prey to the eagles that also make this island their home?
On a submerged reef nearby I spot harbor seals hauled out…and they seem to be having a “spa afternoon” complete with kelp body wraps!
Today we find the T-18’s which is a group of four transient orca whales that travel together. They are comprised of T-18, (who seems to be missing from the group we find, but turns up later with a group of orcas that have not been spotted here in the San Juans before) and three more whales, T-19, (female) and T-19B and T-19C, two males. The fin on T-19B is very odd as it looks very, very different from different angles. Take a look!
T-19B with a huge dorsal that leans and curves way back. Now look at the same boy from the side view.
How can that be the same whale? It is, but the dorsal leans so far over, from the side it looks short.
Here’s T-19C, his brother. This fin is more like a normal male fin. He has a small notch out of the trailing edge of the dorsal, about 1/4 of the way down the fin. Can you spot it?
And here’s T-19, the female and the mother of these two boys. Her dorsal has kind of a “crumply” trailing edge.
The kids from Colorado got to see orca whales! Thank you T-19’s for putting Haro Strait on your agenda today.
We have some great sightings on Friday and Saturday too. There is an elusive minke whale and harbor porpoise that dodge my camera lens.
Harbor seals continue to be very “busy” resting in the most comfy poses. I always wonder how they can look so relaxed sprawled on such bumpy rocks. I guess the four inches of blubber surrounding their bodies makes a good cushion.
Steller sea lions are getting ready for the long journey out to the breeding grounds. They travel as far south as the Channel Islands, CA. Big trip. Big sea lions.
Eagle action does not escape us as one day we find as many as five eagles, young and old, gathered on the shore of Saturna Island, feeding on some delicious dead…something. They even take turns…sort of.
This fourth year eagle waits a turn as one adult leaves and a second adult flys in from above.
Take a look at the beautiful white “v” pattern on the shoulders of thejuvenile bald eagle below.
There is always so much to see out on a four hour trip. The only thing I know for sure is, “I won’t see it if I’m not there!”