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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lots More L-Pod

On Thursday, June 6th I had a full day at work and wasn't expecting to see any whales. However, my friend Melisa (check out her new blog) alerted me to the fact that the whales were still way to the north towards the middle of the afternoon, so I schemed to have a picnic dinner with Keith at Lime Kiln and again our timing was perfect. Right when we arrived at the lighthouse we could see splashes way to the north, so we settled in on "my rock" and ate a quick dinner as the whales approached.

Our view as we ate dinner
It turned out to be most of L-Pod heading towards us (the L22s were off the south end and the L11s had apparently left). They mostly seemed interested in traveling but the L55s stopped to forage and one of them lunged at the surface, sending this salmon flying into the air!

It was interesting to note that L53 Lulu was still traveling with L-Pod, and has in fact been hanging out with some of the other L-Pod females that have never been seen with calves. This evening she was with L91 Muncher:

L91 Muncher
There was a pair of oystercatchers flying around, and occasionally I had to take my focus off the whales and put it onto these birds when they came close:

"Wouldn't it be cool to get a picture of a whale and an oystercatcher?" I mused, thinking of some other photos I've gotten with whales and birds together. Ask and ye shall receive!

The three Os: orca, oystercatcher, and Olympic Mountains

After the whales passed by, some of them way out in the strait looking like they might aiming to head back out west, we settled in to watch the sunset. More than an hour after seeing our last whale, we were surprised with a loud KAWOOF!! as a whale surfaced just off the rocks in front of us! It turned out to be L22 Spirit traveling with her sons L79 Skana and L89 Solstice. They had been off the south end of the island all day and apparently weren't interested in meeting up with the rest of L-Pod; their target was J-Pod, who I later learned as heading south waaaay behind L-Pod. It was almost too dark for pictures, but not quite:

Out of no where: L79 Skana
I love this shot of the sunset and the lighthouse AND a whale - do you see him? Click here to see a larger version (prints also available - someone has already pointed out this would make a stunning canvas!)

On Friday afternoon (June 7th) I again didn't expect to see any whales, but with the way things have been going, why not give it a shot? I headed to the west side again after work and was surprised when I got out of my car at Land Bank to see a big splash not far to the north. There were no boats, and no other people in sight at Land Bank, but there were whales! It turned out to be the same group of L-Pod whales heading south against a strong flood tide. Most of them were pretty far from shore, but I got this photo of the same three whales that surprised us the previosus evening: L22 Spirit, L79 Skana, and L89 Solstice:

Next up: more whales, of course! Some patience pays off, resulting in a super close J-Pod encounter - probably the closest I've been to a whale in a couple years!

1 comment:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Seriously good pics today Monika, hard pressed to choose a favourite - note correct spelling ;-)