April 21, 2012

Breathtaking Wildlife Day From Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Breathtaking Wildlife Day From Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

We departed Friday Harbor under clear, sunny, 60-ish degree skies.
Right off the bat, near Shaw Island, Captain Craig found 2 CALIFORNIA Sea Lions hanging out on a bright red buoy. It is not that frequent that we see the California sea lions around here. Off we went heading north. 

Since there have been several transient orca whale sightings in Canadian waters as of late, we felt this was our best chance at whales. A few Harbor Porpoise showed themselves. near Stuart Island - weaving amongst the 10 inch waves.

And to Canada we did go. We went all the way to Mandarte Island - known for its bird population. There were conventions of Cormorants. They were iridescent with spring plumage. And plenty of gulls - several variety. 

We then headed back in to U.S waters near Stewart Island, Turn Point - the northern most point in the lower states.  In these waters we were greeted by several Dahl's Porpoise who not only rode our boat wake but swam around and around us. One Dahl's continued to stay with us long after all the rest had scattered.

We had six birders aboard with us today. And we did not disappoint. Not in any particular order today we saw: 2 bald eagles, one each in separate places, a Belted Kingfisher inches above the water fishing, a Rhinoceros Auket (a guest spotted it) a Western Grebe (Naturalist Kathy spotted it) Harlequin Ducks (again a guest spotted) a Red Neck Grebe (that was MY spot) a group of Pigeon Guillemonts (my spot again) and a few more that I now cannot remember.

On our way back home we swung past the south end of Speiden island where 14  - 1500 Stella Sea Lion were worshiping the sun. Then in a place we normally would not see porpoise, between San Juan Island & Shaw Island,  a hawk-eyed guest spotted about three harbor porpoise (BRAVO - good spotting!)

Sorry you were not with us today . . . but we are going out again tomorrow.

Over and out for now,

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen
San Juan Safaris Whale Watch & Willdife oh and Birding Tours

I tried to trace the path of our trip on this map. I am sure I'll hear something from Capt. Craig.

April 21, 2012 tour route, approximate

April 21, 2012 tour route, approximate