July 22, 2011

Milling with Killer Whales

We headed north out of Friday Harbor this afternoon in search of any and all wildlife that lives in or around the Salish Sea. Our first encounter came when we slowed and went across Spieden Island where there was wildlife from the shore line to the sky. First we noticed harbor seals that were hauled out on the narrow shoreline. Then looking up, we saw mouflon sheep and fallow and sitka deer along the grassy hill tops. Finally, in the sky was a lone bald eagle in all its glory; wings fully extended and soaring above the tree tops.

It didn’t take much longer until we saw the first signs of killer whales; spouts were up ahead! Then dorsal fins! After watching for a few minutes we realized that there were a lot of whales, twenty plus, milling around in very close proximity to one another. It looked like there were members from both J and K pod in the group, and there was a very small, orange calf that didn’t look like K44! (new calf possibly?!).

After spending our time with the whales we headed back to San Juan Island. On the way we stopped by turn point near the lighthouse where we encountered a few harbor porpoises and we were also able to stop and view some more harbor seals that were hauled out on rocks. It was a very exciting day!

Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris