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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Superpod "Terns" Around

As long as I'm seeing whales and awesome bird sightings, I figure I might as well keep the bad bird puns going....

Often while watching whales, as we were today aboard the Western Explorer, I don't pay as much attention to the birds, and just dismiss anything white flying overhead as a glaucous-winged gull. Today, however, one such bird caught my attention when it dropped out of the sky and into the water and emerged with a fish in its blood red bill - that's no gull! It was in fact a Caspian tern, the third one I've seen in the San Juan Islands this season:

But all three pods did indeed TURN around this morning. After heading north along the westside of San Juan Island they did a 180 and started heading back south by the time we met up with them between Open Bay and Andrews Bay. The whales were in several large, playful groups and we saw spyhopping, tail slapping, pec slaps, cartwheels, tail waves, and yes, even a couple breaches:

At first I thought just J and K Pods were present. We saw J1 Ruffles, as well as the J14 Samish group, represented in part here by J14 Samish on the left and her son J30 Riptide on the right:

Then I also saw male K21 (in the middle in the back) and K40 Raggedy (on the right) in the last group of whales we saw, but it wasn't until I looked at my photos that I saw L84 Nyssa (on the left), another young male, was traveling with them a well, confirming that L-Pod was present. I always love trying to figure out who is traveling with whom when all three pods are present and the whales "mix up" from their regular family groupings. For those bird lovers that read my blog notice the little rhinoceros auklet fleeing the scene to the left of the whales. I always wonder how scared those guys must feel when suddenly a whale surfaces right underneath them!

Did you join us on this or another trip with Western Prince? We always appreciate your reviews on Trip Advisor.


Vera said...

Another fantastic breach picture!

Warren Baker said...

Wow ! Caspian Tern, nice.

Oh, no more puns please Monika, they are just too painful!

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