After being around a lot in late April and the first couple days of May, J-Pod took a two week leave of absence from the Salish Sea. When they returned to inland waters on May 17, they kept their visits to the west side under the cover of darkness more often than not, so it wasn't until May 22 I was able to catch up with them again.
Early on the 22nd J-Pod hadn't been located yet, so I went for a walk down at American Camp, thinking I might find them off the south end and also hoping to find some fox kits to photograph. The whales weren't there, but I did find a trio of kits!
One of the things I love about fox kits, other their innate cuteness, is that they're mutually curious. Look at that face!
I just sat down on the grass, and they came over to check me out!
In addition to these orange and black ones, there was a gray one who mostly stayed a little bit further away:
I took so many photos of these guys, it's hard to narrow down which ones to share!
Later on, we came head to head on the trail with an adult fox who was carrying a snake. He stopped not far from us, and I suspected he didn't want to detour into the tall grasses, so we stepped off to the side of the trail and he ran right by us, not two feet away!
|Umm, please get out of my way? This is my trail.|
When there was still no sign of Js on the west side in the afternoon, I figured they were going to stay up north for another day, but then I heard from a friend they had made a switch and were coming down! The first few whales got to Lime Kiln just before sunset.
As is often the case, little J50 was quite a ways away from mama - her independence, along with the wicked rake marks she may have gotten from a difficult birth, lead me to think of this little whale as being very spunky, and a true fighter, which is just what this population needs!
|5 month old J50 cruising by Lime Kiln in the sunset|
A gull was also circling overhead carrying something, so I snapped a photo, and saw later it was carrying three fish! Impressive!
This is also a good time to note my few additions to my year list as spring has carried on: Swainson's thrush (159), Cassin's vireo (160), and black-headed grosbeak (161) - all first identified by song and "heard only", though I'd get nice looks at the vireos later and a grosbeak pair has become an occasional visitor to our feeders.
J-Pod would overnight off the south end of the island, and it would take some patience, but they finally made their way back north on May 23rd. Photos of that encounter next!