August 22, 2019

Two Families of Bigg's Killer Whales North of Sidney Island!

Bigg's Killer Whales

Laura C. | M/V Kestrel | 8/22/2019 | 11:00am, 3:00pm

It was an outstanding day aboard M/V Kestrel!  Captain Pete touched base with other whale-watching vessels in the area and received reports of two families of Bigg’s killer whales traveling northwest from Sidney Island to Satellite Channel!  Vessels already on scene identified them as the T34s and T37s.  There, we spent a large amount of time just being in the presence of these beautiful mammals.  It was easy to see how strong the ties were between these two families because they all stayed within a half-mile radius of one another!

T34 was born around 1970 and had a daughter in 2007 and another calf in 2017.  This calf is still nursing, and it was so exciting to see such a tiny family member thriving out in the Salish Sea!  We do not yet know if this little one is male or female.  Other than seeing the underside of his/her belly to see, we may have to wait until early teenage years when male dorsal fins will sprout up to 6 feet tall!  It was very cute to watch this intimate family and see the calf trying to keep up with the fast pace of mom and sister!  The T37s also have a calf in tow and he/she is around the same age as this calf, T34B!  We also have yet to learn the sex of T37B2 but it’s nice to see two calves around the same age spending time together!

Our trip would not be complete without appreciating other neat wildlife in the area.  We saw an abundance of pelagic birds, including double-crested cormorants, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, and common murres.  Stopping by Turn Point on Stewart Island was a great opportunity to check out the nesting area of pigeon guillemots!  Spieden Island was a relaxing home to an abundance of harbor seals and weanlings today!  Passengers saw seals of all colors and sizes, which is a perfect example for the varying pelt patterns we can see on these adorable animals!  Bald eagles were also appreciated around this area and it is so wonderful to have the opportunity to see so many nesting pairs utilizing the area!  Today was also a great day for sighting all three exotic species on Spieden, Mouflon sheep, Sika deer and Fallow deer!  I am so glad we all got to be out on the water today because it was full of awesome wildlife!