ORCAS: Whales in the area

9:04 AM: Visibility’s a bit of a challenge at the moment, but orcas are out there, according to a texted update from Kersti Muul – a southbound group of transients was off the Bainbridge ferry terminal about half an hour ago, and another group of orcas was further north. Let us know if you see them!

10:03 AM: In addition to her update in comments below, Kersti texted: “Here they come! Southern group of whales now spread out SB from Shilshole to Bainbridge.”

4:54 PM: In addition to the updates all day in comments – thanks! – we have a text from someone who says four are in view right now from the Alki Beach volleyball courts.

4:59 PM: That texter now thinks they might actually be seeing dolphins.

6:25 PM: Kersti in comments and Erin via email tell us there are whales very close to shore along Alki Avenue, off Duwamish Head! (added) Erin sent this photo:

21 Replies to "ORCAS: Whales in the area"

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (9:34 am)

    Likely JS and KS as were inbound last night and multiple whales spread apart NSEW southern group of whales now spread out SB from Shillshole to Bainbridge0930

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (11:05 am)

    Between Magnolia, Marina and the Bainbridge Island ferry entrance to the harborOnly seeing Jpod so far ..but Ks could also be around.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (11:07 am)

    Also, the group off Bainbridge I said ‘could be transients’ they were not IDd and  now I assume they likely were part of this bigger group of Js

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (12:07 pm)

    Looks like we have Ks and L’s in the mix too!

  • Donna, The Whale Trail October 12, 2023 (12:47 pm)

    The orcas flipped and turned north when they got to West Point around 10:30 AM (thanks Orca Network for the updates.) Researchers Mark and Maya Sears confirmed members of all three pods (J, K ,and L) are present. The orcas are currently near Edmonds, still trending northward. We’ll see you on The Whale Trail with binoculars to share when they turn south again.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (2:31 pm)

    Looks like my comment about all three pods present a couple hours ago was deleted..Anywho:Don’t miss the whales coming in real time sign up for free text alerts!https://chat.whatsapp.com/HGBsLuyjQCuIMnlLbm4kiE

    • WSB October 12, 2023 (2:39 pm)

      No, it’s there. I’ve been away from the desk for three hours, catching up now on a variety of things.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (2:35 pm)

    We now have three orcas out from constellation towards Blakely Rock 0235

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (2:54 pm)

    Another three orcas are northbound off the north end of Vashon!

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (4:38 pm)

    Orcas now, Seattle side between Bainbridge and alki

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 12, 2023 (5:49 pm)

    Transients are on a kill just a couple hundred yards out from Alki avenue 1718 Alki avenue They were super close to shore

    • Mafe October 12, 2023 (7:17 pm)

      Hi — does anyone know which pod was out there? 

  • Robin Sinner October 12, 2023 (8:55 pm)

    Around 5:50 PM from 1500 Alki

    • MW October 13, 2023 (1:54 am)

      What a moment you caught! Astonishing

  • Andrew Snyder October 13, 2023 (9:15 am)

    My very first sighting! 🥹

  • Steph October 13, 2023 (9:42 am)

    Are whales coming into Hood Canal and our Puget Sound area more frequently now?  In 70 years of watching both areas I still have not seen a whale here except for the ferry following orphan. I’m getting some good exercise trying now that I’ve signed up for the alerts. Thanks for putting in the direction they are moving! My most ambitious attempt led me race walking north along the bluffs at Lincoln Park while the whales had been going south and were apparently hidden by the ferry when I checked that area first. Then the direction update came through and I drove south to look for them but it was too dark by then.  The latest video clip off Alki was great 👍. Thanks again so much for getting us this information. Where can we find out more about them and their habits?

    • Donna, The Whale Trail October 13, 2023 (7:43 pm)

      Hi Steph, so glad you got to see them! We’ve been helping people watch whales from shore here since 2008.

      To answer your question – there are two ecotypes or kinds of orcas, differentiated by diet, family structure and range. Bigg’s orcas travel in small family groups and hunt marine mammals such as porpoise or seals. They are increasingly seen in our part of the Sound, though once they were uncommon. So yes, there are more whales around!

      Resident orcas are fish-eaters who travel in large extended families. Southern resident orcas (J, K and L pods) return here a few times each month between October and February, following winter salmon runs. This is a core part of their fall/winter habitat.

      Learn more at NOAA’s website: https://bit.ly/3RYeT7u or ours https://thewhaletrail.org/wt-species/orcas/

      DFO publishes a great catalog for Bigg’s (transient) orcas, which includes the whales you saw yesterday. Download that pdf here https://bit.ly/48SyOuz.

      Take a deep dive into Orca, the Whale Called Killer by Erich Hoyt, which is the first and still the best book about orcas. Good luck and you can reach me at donna@thewhaletrail.org if you have any questions.

  • Mike October 13, 2023 (3:49 pm)

    How do you sign up for alerts?

Sorry, comment time is over.