Followup: Details on Sunday’s West Seattle (etc.) orca visit

October 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 6 Comments

(Photo courtesy Jeff Hogan NWFSC, taken under permit #13136)
Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales, first to let us know on Sunday about the latest sightings of orcas in West Seattle waters, shares that photo taken while he was on a NOAA research boat later in the the day. He reports:

We followed them from roughly Alki all the way up to Mukilteo. We had all the members of J Pod, K Pod and a few L-Pod whales as well. Didn’t see any foraging, but just lots of slow travel and socializing. Collected several fecal samples in addition to all the photo identification work.

He identifies the whale in the photo as K21, a male (if you didn’t already know that because of the large dorsal fin) born in 1986, according to this page on the Center for Whale Research website. J, K, and L pods are the “Southern Resident” groups who live in this region, though they sometimes forage much farther away.

6 Comments

  1. What an awesome new photo for city tourism! Sure changes the ‘skyline’!

    Comment by KD — 3:20 pm October 29, 2012 #

  2. That is one handsome dude.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 5:04 pm October 29, 2012 #

  3. GREAT pic!

    Comment by WTF — 7:59 pm October 29, 2012 #

  4. With all the whale action here in Puget Sound it might explain the missing seal and seal pup population. If there is really a lack of seals in this area. Just part of the food chain along with lots of salmon.

    Comment by wetone — 9:06 am October 30, 2012 #

  5. Seal Sitters has clarified the seal-pup situation on its own website – after a recent citywide-media report that didn’t include the full context: http://www.blubberblog.org

    Comment by WSB — 9:07 am October 30, 2012 #

  6. wetone – the southern resident orcas (J, K and L pods) are fish-eaters. They prefer salmon, especially Chinook. They are most commonly seen in central Puget Sound (around here) October through February. There have been a lot of chum salmon around lately, and we assume that’s connected with the whales being here, too -

    Transient orcas also pass through here, and their main diet is marine mammals, like seals.
    –While we’ve seen more transients in the past few years, it’s unlikely they are having a significant impact on the seal population here. The transient pods are smaller, and their visits more rare.
    –The exception to that was in 2005, when a group of transients spent a few months in Hood Canal, and reduced the seal population there by half!
    Hope that helps -check out http://www.thewhaletrail.org for more orca info!

    Comment by Donna, The Whale Trail — 12:53 pm October 30, 2012 #

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