We have had the distinct pleasure of having some of our Resident-type orcas back in the Salish Sea for the last week. These salmon-eating whales are usually here regularly from May-September timed with the presence of the salmon runs. This year, with historically low numbers of returning salmon, we have seen very little of our critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs).
Yesterday we welcomed members of L-pod back to the inland waters to join members of J-pod on the Westside of San Juan Island. We were fortunate to witness many social behaviors: breaching, belly flopping, and spyhopping, as well as the whales doing what they do best, fishing for salmon! We encountered some of my favorite whales from the Ls including L41 “Mega,” who is the oldest (born 1977) and largest male in the SRKW population, and L103 “Lapis” with her new calf, the youngest member of L-pod born last fall, L123. We also had the chance to watch these two familial pods come together in a large whale party… the orcas seemed to spend more time out of the water than in it!
We topped off our day with a visit to the bald eagle nest on Long Island, where we found a fledgling just outside of the huge nest. Bald eagles are a ruddy golden-brown as youngsters, and develop that characteristic white head and whit tail-feather plumage by the time they are about 5 years old.
Lead Naturalist Sarah, M/V Kestrel, San Juan Safaris