We located a group of transient orcas in Swanson Channel, south of Active Pass at approximately 12:30, in flat calm water. The group had killed a seal or two just prior to our arrival. They were busily guarding the entrails of their prey from swooping seagulls as we came on scene. The group consisted of females, juveniles and calves that we later ID'ed as the T36's, T37 and the T99's. After their meal, the whales were very social, and we were able to listen to some amazing vocals that continued for most of our encounter. The adults T36, T36B, T37 and T99 were observed logging at the surface several times, while the calves and juveniles were extremely social with one another, and about 100 metres from the dozing adults. Between these episodes, the calves would temporarily rejoin with the adults before once again forming into a play group. We were fortunate to observe spyhops, lunges, tail slaps, and tail stands. So much for serious, quiet transients. I love it when the whales have me re-thinking all those generalizations.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch, B.C.
April 8, 2011
Center for Whale Research
We encountered the T99's,T36's and T37 milling and socializing in Swanson Channel about a mile off Mouat Point, North Pender Island B.C. We had 8 transients T99,T99A,T99B,T99C,T36,T36B,T36B1 and T37. After about 45 minutes of milling, tactile behavior the whales spread out in a loose group and headed down Swanson Channel moving inshore toward North Pender. The encounter ended 2 miles west of Bedwell Harbor.
T99,T36B1, and T36Bin Swanson Channel, April 8, 2011
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research
Dave Ellifrit and Erin Heydenreich of the Center for Whale Research encountered the T99's,T36's and T37 (see photo below) milling and socializing in Swanson Channel about a mile off Mouat Point, North Pender Island B.C.(48° 45.74 N;123° 19.83 W) at 2:30 pm. We had 8 transients T99,T99A,T99B,T99C,T36,T36B,T36B1 and T37. After about 45 minutes of milling, tactile behavior the whales spread out in a loose group and headed down Swanson Channel moving inshore toward North Pender. The encounter ended 2 miles west of Bedwell Harbor (48° 44.25 N;123° 15.37 W) at 3:48 pm.
April 15, 2011
Graeme Ellis of Canada's Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans called in a report of his encounter with the large group of Transients in Sansum Narrows and Ladysmith Harbor, B.C. from April 15th. They had a total of about 31 orcas total, IDs include the T100s, T36s, T20 & T21, T124s, T65As T90s, T99s, T137s, T87s and T37s. They found them in Swanson Channel after we got the call from Tamar Griggs, then followed them down as they went into and back out of Ladysmith Island, and left them around 7 pm up by Yellow Pt.
Ken Balcomb and Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research arrived on scene just north of East Point (48° 47.08 N; 123° 02.51 W) at 12:15 p.m. The transients, who had been traveling north into the southern Strait of Georgia, had just turned around and came charging back out of the tide rip and began some intense milling around Rosenfeld Rock which had 30-40 Steller sea lions on it. There were thousands of Bonaparte's gulls working the tide rips. The whales briefly harassed one sea lion but apparently let it go. A couple whales continued to cruise around the rock while the rest of the whales on the calm side of the tide rip milled around the area in a social kind of way. There was another group of about 10 T's in the area but were on the rough side of the tide rip so we did not make it to them. We ended the encounter at 48° 47.23Np; 123° 02.37 W, around 1:30 p.m.as the whales turned north again into the sloppy waters of Georgia Strait. The whales photographed by CWR: T36, T36A, T36A1, T36B, T36B1, T37, T99, T99A, T99B, T99C, T124, T124D, T124E, T137, T137A, and T137B. Sixteen whales total.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
19 April 2011,
4-19-11 on the Western Prince at about 1:30 pm we encountered many transient orcas attacking a Steller sea lion just south of Patos Island lighthouse. T36 and a couple juveniles were off, while others were in the fray just a few hundred yards to west.
The whales identified were members of the T36s, T99s, T65As, and T123s. The largest male, among all of these whales, was a sprouter T123A. It appeared to be a training session with groups taking turns attacking the sea lion. When we left the scene the Steller sea lion was still alive. About two miles away and approaching the general area of the whales and the sea lion, were more whales. Identified in this group were T101, T101A, T101B and T102.
May 18, 2011
Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Mercedes Powell, Kira Kranzler of the Center for Whale Research departed Snug Harbor on a clear and sunny afternoon at 3.59 pm with news of Transients. At 4.29pm we found the eight whales loosely spread about a mile east of Beaumont Shoal buoy
(48° 26.44 N; 123° 08.89 W).The individual whales were T99, T99A, T99B, T99C, T65A,T65A2, T65A3 andT65A4. The Females and calves mainly stayed in one group whilst two young males T99A and T65A2 played together constantly throughout the encounter. We stayed with the whales until 6.25pm when we left them about one mile South East of Seabird Point (48° 24.86 N; 123° 12.92 W) in tight medium travel, heading South West.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
Transients T99s and T165As, Haro Strait May 18, 2011
Photo by Kira Kranzler, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
taken under MMPA permit #532-1822
May 19, 2011
Yesterday (5/19) at 13:10 we ran into this group of killer whales outside the Neah Bay jetty heading West in the strait. There were at least 7 different individuals traveling, saw a few taillobs and quick turns as well! Attached are several pictures - are these residents or transients? Please let us know when you are able to ID them, we really like having that information for our record. Also it helps us to know if we are making correct guesses on IDs. Thanks!
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
From the photos we sent on to our list of researchers, we received this reply with IDs from Graeme Ellis of Canada's Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans:
Hi Susan, I see T099, T099A, T099B, T065A and T065A4.