West Seattle, Washington
I’d like to urge anyone who sees the Humpback (or any other whales for that matter) to please, please call Orca Network at 1-866-ORCANET to report the sighting. They will in turn contact researchers who would dearly love to find that whale and try to i.d. it. If anyone gets any pictures, especially of the underside of the tail fluke, they can call the preceeding number and get info on where to send copies of their pics to.
Also, folks can check out www.bewhalewise.org for info on guidelines for what to do if they encounter whales while out on their boats. Please give these whales LOTS of room.
With good weather … this weekend, and lots of folks out and about, I’m hoping we’ll see him or her again. I will be out looking myself in earnest.
Since apparently we usually only see about one humpback whale a year in Puget Sound, we’re guessing the one KING5 caught on video (see it here – closest view is the last :30) is likely the same one spotted in West Seattle waters Monday.
ORIGINAL 4:02 PM REPORT: Just got a call from Jeff Hogan, who usually gives us the heads-up about orca sightings: A humpback whale has been spotted in the past hour near the Fauntleroy ferry dock, breaching and spy-hopping. (Reportedly headed northbound from there.)
6:14 PM UPDATE: Adding two photos from a nearby resident – above, you see part of the whale; below, the splash after a breach (the resident said she saw TWO of those!):
Via one of County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s Twitter feeds (@Dow_KingCounty), we get that Twitpic of the County Executive candidate onstage during his rock ‘n’ roll fundraiser at Crocodile Cafe, which continues till midnight. Meanwhile, back on this side of the bay, Bonnie caught this scene at Seacrest:
Bonnie reports her kids were particularly captivated by the flounder, whose catcher released it shortly afterward.
The miracle of portable technology – you can take advantage of brilliant sun and not stay out of touch. We were actually photographing the flotilla of brant in the background, when we caught the beachgoer in the foreground. Elsewhere on Alki, crews were getting the tennis courts in shape for summer:
If you “follow” WSB on Twitter (@westseattleblog, or, if you are just checking in via the Web, twitter.com/westseattleblog), you may also have seen this photo link we tweeted – beach umbrella sighting!
ADDED 2:50 PM: One more it’s-warm-and-everybody’s-out photo, this one from Cass:
She added, “It’s all in the perspective …” (Which certainly can be said for many things!)
WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli shares two views of the Washington State Ferries vessel Issaquah, usually on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run but currently in drydock at Todd Shipyards:
Also along the West Seattle waterfront: David Hutchinson provides a new view of one of this spring’s most famous local families:
There are currently 24 goslings being tended by 2 pairs of adult geese. You can see them roaming the lawns between Salty’s and the Don Armeni boat ramp each day and then leaving in a group after sunset for the beaches of Jack Block Park to spend the night. By the end of July, they will have grown to near adult size and will have learned to fly.
We closely followed the development of last year’s group of goslings and found it very fascinating. Hopefully, despite their controversial status, people will take advantage of this opportunity to see nature close up and will be tolerant of their presence over the next several months. Sadly, last year we observed individuals setting their dogs on groups of adult geese with goslings and quite a few kids seemed think that it was amusing to throw rocks at them as they swam by.
For more information about Canada Geese, check www.canadageese.org/faq.html
We received another goose-family photo today from Manuel:
P.S. Not West Seattle-specific, but if you too are a bird fan, you might enjoy reading the latest on Seattle’s urban peregrines (they’re not mentioned so far this year, but some have been known to nest under The Bridge).
Thanks to Lina Senzer-Rose for sharing the sea lion photo taken by husband Scott Rose – many others who rode the King County Water Taxi (our major coverage of today’s kickoff is here) probably got a good look too! – One more weekend note, Scott C tipped us that lane lines on The Bridge have been re-striped – this photo doesn’t quite do it justice, but we verified ourselves they’re strikingly brighter. Knock wood that we aren’t in for further rounds of road-eroding weather badness.
We had one other bit of road news – we’ve published so much news this weekend that you might have missed it or not gotten to it yet – the Fauntleroy Way repaving contract was awarded, and the bid came in low enough that they will be able to stretch the repaving southwestward to SW Holly. We’ll be checking this week for updates on when that work’s likely to start.
WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli shares that low-tide look from earlier this week. Tides are back on the upswing but if you’re a low-tide fan, you only have to wait a few more weeks for the rocks and other secrets to be revealed (here’s the chart).
As Rick R. put it, tonight’s sunset was simply golden — that’s the view from Fauntleroy. (Probably no encore tomorrow — the forecast looks wet and breezy.) A couple miles east, and a few hours earlier, it was Day 2 of Spring Break Camp at Denny Middle School in Westwood:
Denny principal Jeff Clark sent those photos with word that this camp is recordbreaking:
Yesterday and today, we have had 225 kids at school increasing their skills in reading, math, writing, science, and music. Our break camp programs are designed to create learning opportunities for our students beyond the regular school year calendar. The previous attendance record for a break camp at Denny was approximately 100 students, so this week’s daily total of 225 is amazing. I would like to congratulate our outstanding students for their efforts and thank our terrific staff for making this opportunity possible–go, Denny Dolphins!
Got news about your school, group, or ? — please let us know — the various ways to reach us are all listed here.
Twitter user “seakobi“ sent that via TwitPic, taken from Alki about half an hour ago – and we got notes from Barb and Robin wondering about the helicopter. Clearly a Coast Guard chopper, but we aren’t having any luck getting the CG on the phone; no rescue calls on 911, so perhaps training? May not be able to verify till tomorrow, but if you happen to know, please chime in. And thanks to “seakobi” for the photo. ADDED 8:34 PM: And this one too:
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: From comments, official confirmation (and yes, the IP address checks out):
The crews from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., and Station Seattle were doing their weekly helicopter operations training March 31. Nice photos from your reader.
Paul Roszkowski, Chief Public Affairs Specialist, U. S. Coast Guard
That sonar-equipped, self-propelled seafloor-mapping device caused a stir along Alki Avenue this afternoon, then again tonight. Around midafternoon, its owners say, it failed a test; then someone apparently mistook it for an overturned kayak and rescuers briefly responded. It wound up on the beach in the 1300 block of Alki — where some passersby wondered if it were a “torpedo” — and there it stayed till a crane could be brought in a short time ago to retrieve it:
It couldn’t just be carried off the beach, its owners explained, because it weighs 1300 pounds. (Here’s a little more about it.) So they had to summon the crane (and police came out to be sure it could get close enough to the seawall, safely). 9:12 PM UPDATE: Adding video of the crane operation. (Note, the mapping device achieves liftoff about 49 seconds in.)
Just got a call from West Seattle-based orca expert Jeff Hogan, who says there’s been a sighting around Bainbridge and they’re headed south – so heads up if you’re anywhere near the West Seattle waterfront. Updates as we get them. 11:12 AM UPDATE: Jeff called again – says “they’re a mile off Vashon, heading south.” 1:45 PM UPDATE: The Orca Network has more details on today’s sighting near Bainbridge:
Orca Network received a call from the Ferry Kitsap at 10:50 am, reporting a pod of orcas 1 mile off Alki Pt, between Alki & Restoration Pts, near the Tango Buoy, heading south.
We are watching what looks like 4 Orcas in a line between Rolling Bay, Bainbridge Island and Carkeek Park, Seattle. They are close to the south bound shipping lane heading south. Looks like one male, two females and not sure about the 4th one. Saw the first one at 8am.
UPDATE 8:30am: The four came in by Skiff Point, Bainbridge Island still heading south. A mother and a juvenile are also out in the south bound shipping lane off of West Point. The juvenile is particularly frisky – jumping clear out of the water.
ADDED 4:15 PM: Here’s a link to KING5 aerials shot today.
Thanks to two photographers for sharing scenes that bookended today: Above, Colby‘s photo from Lincoln Park at sunset tonight; below, Tracy White‘s photo looking at this morning’s moonset behind north Vashon Island:
Got a timely photo to share? email@example.com – thanks!
Just in from the Department of Ecology, word that the state’s investigating a diesel spill of unknown size in Duwamish waters near Harbor Island – read on for the full news release:Read More
Ever wish you had the perfect video to send to friends/family out of state who haven’t been here on a sunny day and can’t understand why you love West Seattle so much? We suggest this could be THE clip to share. WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli went out for a drive, with his camera riding high in the back, and that video is the result. (See if you recognize ALL the streets!)
Meantime — it was still a lovely day as the clouds rolled in later; Dan in Sunrise Heights sent this photo from the ferry Kitsap:
Tomorrow’s forecast: Cloudy. At least we have the memories!
Jeff Hogan of West Seattle-based Killer Whale Tales, who brought us first word of the big orca group that passed through on Friday, shares that photo of L-pod whales along with an update on his adventures as they headed north:
I got the opportunity to go out on the “fecal follow” boat with our friends from NOAA Fisheries after (watching from West Seattle shores) … We caught up with the 40+ members of L Pod at the Kingston Ferry terminal and stayed with them for nearly three hours as the whales moved northwards. The scientists I was with were trying to collect fecal samples, (yes..poop!) as well as fish scales left over from predation events.
The scat samples will allow the scientists to measure and determine a variety of things, including hormonal levels in the individual whales. These levels can be used to determine many systemic problems in the individual whales, like stress, illness or even something positive like pregnancy in females.
Check out this link to find out more (May 2008 KING5 story).
The prey samples collected will help to narrow down what these animals are eating throughout the year. Right now it looks like their diet is nearly 90% salmon, and mostly Chinook or King in the summer and Chum in the winter. The DNA recovered in the samples can also identify exactly which stream those salmon come from and can help to steer recovery of those specific runs.
By the time the orcas had moved to northern waters, three Seattle TV stations had recorded aerial video; here are links to those 3 clips – KOMO (4), KING (5), KIRO (7). Find out more about the “southern resident” orcas here.
(added 1:32 pm, the whale-watching crowd south of Alki Point earlier this afternoon)
ORIGINAL 10:28 AM POST: Quick update from Jeff Hogan – those orcas (see previous item) may be heading this way – northbound in Colvos Passage (west side of Vashon) at last report. We’ll update this item when/if there’s more info, and we’ll also post to Twitter (even if you don’t use Twitter, you can see our updates here). 11:15 AM UPDATE: Update from Jeff, now they’ve been spotted off Alki Point. 12:11 PM UPDATE: TV station says it’s streaming online (here’s the link – we’re checking it now). 12:28 PM UPDATE: Looks like they’re now refeeding video shot earlier. 1:03 PM UPDATE: And here’s the direct link to the aerial video now archived on KING5’s site.
(December 2008 photo by Jeff Hogan)
This afternoon, Jeff Hogan from West Seattle-based Killer Whale Tales called to say a sizable group of orcas was reported off Point No Point on the Kitsap Peninsula (map) and possibly heading this way. No sightings reported by sundown but Jeff – who provided us with photos and info about West Seattle’s last major orca sighting in December (photo above) – e-mailed this update tonight:
Turns out up to 20 plus killer whales were at the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry and still heading our way. It’s quite possible that they will be off WS in the morning. My scientific colleagues are very interested in getting out on the water to collect both photos and scat samples, especially if the new baby is with them. If any WSB’ers see them, please contact Orca Network at 1.866.ORCANET or they can call me at 206.660.0835. I will let WSB know what is going on as soon as I know something.
Two babies have been sighted/photographed with Puget Sound orcas recently, in fact – photos are on this page at the Orca Network’s website. (9:50 pm note – we just received the Orca Network’s nightly “sightings” newsletter – you can subscribe here – and it includes several sightings of this group, with the last one reported at 5:10 pm, passing Carkeek Park.)
Just couldn’t resist.
Lots to see and read at the Seal Sitters’ “Blubberblog” site these days. Just posted last night – an update on sunbathing sea-lion sightings on the West Seattle shore. There’s also the saga of an elephant seal that spent a few days on a “South Puget Sound” beach, and full details of Forte’s day along the Alki boardwalk (photo at left from our much-less-detailed coverage here), among other stories.