June 18, 2022

Orca Whales, Falcons and the Gargantuan Eagles Nest

Maxx K. | M/V Kestrel | 06/18/2022 | 2:00pm

    Today was so much fun. Not only did we have a full crew aboard Kestrel today (myself, Elle AND Captain Eric), we also managed to spend some time with my favorite family of Bigg’s Killer Whales, the T123s. Then we got a quick glimpse of a couple of Peregrine falcons, some wild South Pender Island mountain goats and the biggest eagles nest I’ve ever seen!

    The T123s traveled tightly together around the east side of Barnes and Clark island, perhaps foraging, perhaps just socializing. The surfaced in unison, but would roll over one another, Stanley’s (T123A’s) massive five and a half foot dorsal fin towering over those of his mother and sisters. We trailed alongside them as they made their way against the tide northbound, towards Matia island. I’m obsessed with this family, they're each easily recognizable given their size difference and have endless charisma. I hope to see them again soon! 

    We continued on after some time, this time rounding through some of the Sucia islands rocky fingers before slowly approaching Platos Island where we caught a brief look at what must’ve been the largest eagles nest that I've ever seen. A pair of Floridian Bald Eagles hold the world record for the largest birds nest ever recorded, with a whopping 4,409lbs and 20 feet deep. While I’m not sure exactly how big this nest was, it must’ve weighed at least 150lbs (super impressive considering an average bald eagle only weighs seven lbs!). 

We moved onward once again, this time to chill with a couple of peregrine falcons that sat nested along South Pender islands steep rocky cliffside. Peregrines are the fastest animal in the world and can reach speeds of over 250mph. It’s not super uncommon to see them here in the Salish Sea, as they are birds of prey and will often go after small pelagic birds that forage on the waters surface. 

To polish off an already insane tour, a small herd of feral goats emerged through the tree line just beyond the falcons. With the evening sun lowering, Kestrel then moved off to Friday Harbor, now fully saturated with wildlife!