Whales 62 results

WHALE-WATCHING: Humpback northbound off West Seattle

7:19 PM: Two tips in the past ~20 minutes report a whale northbound off west-facing West Seattle, toward Fauntleroy at last report. No report yet what species. Let us know if you see it!

7:45 PM: Humpback, says tipster Scott.

7:51 PM: Just got a call from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, who says it’s a juvenile humpback, moving quickly, should be off Alki Point soon.

WHALE-WATCHING: Humpback off West Seattle

Thanks to Kersti Muul for word that there’s a humpback whale in the area, seen in Elliott Bay off Duwamish Head, a few hundred yards out. (If you’re not sure how to ID a humpback, check out this page from The Whale Trail‘s species guide.) Let us know if you see it!

FREE CLASSES: Killer Whale Tales adds 2 more

(WSB file photo of Jeff Hogan presenting Killer Whale Tales at a local school)

Learning can be fun … and free … AND focused on fascinating wildlife. Here’s an update from Jeff Hogan of West Seattle-based educational nonprofit Killer Whale Tales:

I have added two additional classes to our weekly lineup: Fish and Chips (what are whales eating and where it is coming from) and the Orca Acoustic Game Show (Learn individual whale calls and win prizes!) .

Classes are open to students of all ages and are designed to meet Washington State Science Standards. A full description and registration information is available here. All classes are being offered, as always, at no cost to the participant!

(Still time to get in on “Game Show” at 12:30 pm today!)


Up for some evening whale-watching? Kersti Muul sends word that transient orcas are in view off Constellation Park (south of Alki Point) right now – “on a kill,” so no particular direction. Let us know if you see them!

WHALE-WATCHING: Seen off West Seattle

A baleen whale has been making its way slowly northbound along West Seattle’s west-facing shores. The person who texted us from The Arroyos said it looks like a gray; now it’s off Point Williams in Lincoln Park, where Kersti Muul says that’s just been confirmed. If you’re near, or north of, there, be on the lookout!

SCHOOL’S OUT: Killer Whale Tales offering free online classes

(WSB file photo of Jeff Hogan presenting Killer Whale Tales at a local school)

From Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales:

Hi Neighbors: My West Seattle-based non-profit, Killer Whale Tales, is offering free online classes for students learning at home. (In fact, if you have kids in the area’s schools, I may have already visited with them…) I am offering multiple classes for a limited number of students in each session until we all get back to school. Even if you don’t live in WS we would love to have any kids that you know join us for this science-based activity. Sign up at this link and check back for other classes coming soon.

And yes, we meet WA States Next Generation Science Standards!

WHALES: Orcas passing West Seattle

Thanks to Bretnie for the tip – orcas, northbound, off Blake Island!

UPDATE: Orcas pass West Seattle

(Added: Photo by Hobey Grote)

Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – transient killer whales are in the area, southbound off Fay Bainbridge State Park (map) at last report. Closer to the west side of Puget Sound, though, so you’ll definitely need binoculars.

WHALE-WATCHING: Orcas headed this way

Kersti Muul reports transient orcas are headed up the west side of Vashon – hard to know how visible they’ll be from here when they emerge by north Vashon, but we’re publishing this heads-up anyway!

‘Nobody is making noise about noise’: The Whale Trail focuses on action that could be taken quickly to help endangered orcas

(Photo by David Hutchinson, from January visit of Southern Resident Killer Whales)≤/small>

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We saved these whales once … we can do it again, but the clock is ticking.”

With warnings like that one, The Whale Trail‘s executive director Donna Sandstrom is doing everything she can. But the Southern Resident Killer Whales need more help, she explained at The Whale Trail’s midwinter gathering in West Seattle.

She offered specifics, as well as inspiration from a special guest, Maya Sears, who recapped the whales’ most-recent visits to our area.

The exhilaration of those visits is tempered by the increasing odds they will someday be just a memory.

Since The Whale Trail’s last gathering, another resident orca has vanished and is presumed dead, L41. That makes four lost in the past year. “That’s a lot.” This distinct population of killer whales is down to 72, only one above their historic low of 71

“So,” she said, asking aloud the logical question for everyone in the room, “why isn’t anything happening?”

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THE WHALE TRAIL: Midwinter gathering Thursday

February 19, 2020 1:29 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | Whales

(Calf J53 and mother J31, photographed by Mark Sears. permit 21348)

Amid the exhilaration of Southern Resident Killer Whale sighting in recent weeks, there’s been the crushin news of one more SRKW lost. What now? Be at The Whale Trail‘s midwinter gathering tomorrow night to hear/talk about it. Here’s the announcement:

“Whale Trail MidWinter Gathering featuring SRKW Updates”

When: Thursday February 20, 7:00 – 8:30
–Doors open at 6:30
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
Presented by The Whale Trail

Join us for a midwinter gathering of marine mammal friends and fans in West Seattle. Whale Trail Director Donna Sandstrom will review the current status of the endangered southern resident orcas, and ongoing efforts to protect them.

With the loss of L41, the southern resident population has been reduced to just 72 individuals.
Despite the widespread attention on J, K, and L pods, why has so little progress been made?

Donna will also share the Whale Trail’s vision and priorities for 2020. Learn how you can help, and make a difference for the southern residents before it’s too late.The presentation will be followed by an informal gathering of Whale Trail friends and supporters. Everyone is welcome!

WHALES: Orcas passing West Seattle

February 11, 2020 5:03 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | Whales | Wildlife

(Photo by Kersti Muul)

5:03 PM: Just got word from Kersti Muul– “orcas visible from Alki, southbound, mid-channel” – let us know if you see them!

5:49 PM: Kersti says it appears to be the same transient orcas – the T46s – that visited on Sunday.

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Orcas off West Seattle again!

(Added: Photo by Jim Borrow)

8:03 AM: Ready for some Sunday whale-watching? Just got a call that southbound orcas are visible off Alki Point. Let us know if you see them!

8:39 AM: Still SB – see comments.

(Added: Photo by Robin Sinner, first posted in comment section)

10:50 AM: Thanks for all the updates! And for the visuals (adding)!

ADDED 3:37 PM: Adding more visuals.

(Thanks to Erin/Elton for sending the link to that video. Haven’t yet heard word of the orcas heading back northbound – please let us know if YOU have!)

ADDED 9:25 PM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for sharing some spectacular photos – here are three:

As she and others have noted, today’s visitors were transient orcas (Bigg’s Killer Whales), not the southern residents.

WHALES: Orcas headed this way

Early alert from Kersti Muul: 9 or 10 orcas are headed this way, southbound. And visibility has improved, so if they make it this far south, you should be able to see them. They were off Kingston as of about half an hour ago. Updates as we get them.

ORCAS: Another Southern Resident Killer Whale missing

(L41, Northwest Marine Fisheries Center photo)

Just days after West Seattle whale-watchers enjoyed multiple orca visits, sad news: Another Southern Resident Killer Whale is missing. In its newest report on an “encounter” with resident orcas, the Center for Whale Research notes that L41 was not with his podmates and hasn’t been seen since August: “Given his age and that he looked a little thin in our January 2019 encounter, we fear he may be gone and will consider him missing unless he shows up unexpectedly in an upcoming encounter.” As noted in a WSB report four years ago, L41 has been a prolific patriarch among the SRKWs. He was born in 1977. If he has indeed died, that would bring the SRKWs’ number down to 72, just one above the historic low of 71. (Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip.)

WHALE-WATCHING: More orcas in our area; photos added

(Texted photo)

2:16 PM: More orcas! Kersti Muul tells us two groups of transients are in the area – one off the east side of Vashon Island, one headed up Colvos Passage on the west side. Let us know if you see them!

3:06 PM: Texter says a small group is in view off The Arroyos, still NB.

3:13 PM: More like 10 whales, that texter updates!

3:41 PM: Watchers are now congregating across from Me-Kwa-Mooks.

4:02 PM: From there, using binoculars, we just saw a group of four!

4:26 PM: The viewers have moved north, to the west end of the Alki promenade.

4:43 PM: Photos are coming in! This is from Gary Jones:

5:07 PM: More photos – these next two are from Rick Rasmussen:

And one more from Gary:

6:07 PM: Even more photos! This one is from DerbyPhotography:

Next, from Monica Zaborac:

Thanks to everyone for sharing those sights (as well as updates)! This was the third day in a row with orcas in our area.

ORCAS: Passing West Seattle again (AFTERNOON UPDATE)

FIRST REPORT, 9:20 AM: The whales are back! Southbound south of Fauntleroy, Kersti Muul tells WSB. We’ll update this post with any additional info throughout the day.

12:12 PM: Kersti says another “large pod” is headed this way, currently southbound, mid-channel, off Bainbridge Island, “spread out.”

PHOTOS: Southern Resident Killer Whales, visiting West Seattle

Through the morning and afternoon, we published updates on Southern Resident Killer Whales in the area, first southbound, then northbound before sunset. Tonight, some photos! Thanks to David Hutchinson for the first and third photo, Kersti Muul (today’s original tipster) for the one directly below:

Kersti says members of all three resident pods were in the area today; her photo above shows Onyx (L87) and Nugget (L55).

We just missed the whales by the time we got to Alki to have a look, but Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail was there, assisting with land-based viewing, which is one of TWT’s missions.


8:28 AM: Southbound orcas, south of Fsuntleroy, with “more coming,” reports Kersti Muul. Let us know if you see them!

9 AM: Kersti says a NB group is heading out of Colvos Passage (west side of Vashon).

2:16 PM: The now-NB orcas, mentioned by Kersti in a comment, are passing Three Tree Point south of here, but visibility on the water is poor as the rain/fog persists.

2:40 PM: Kersti is on the shore just south of Fauntleroy and says they ARE visible, even without binoculars, as they continue heading slowly north.

3:39 PM: Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail says they’re south of Alki Point now, putting on the best show in a long time!

CHRISTMAS WHALES! Resident orcas in Puget Sound – but now NB

1:24 PM: Thanks to Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail as well as Kersti Muul for the tips – resident orcas from J-Pod should be in view off West Seattle soon – they are southbound off Discovery Park on the north side of Elliott Bay. Donna will be at Constellation Park just south of Alki Point shortly to assist would-be whale-watchers. Let us know if you see the orcas!

1:45 PM: The whales have turned around so you WON’T be seeing them unless you’re north of Elliott Bay. We’ll update if that changes!

ORCAS: Whales off West Seattle, southbound

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:43 AM: Early warning this time – Kersti Muul sends word that orcas are off Golden Gardens (Ballard), southbound, so could be visible from here before long. Let us know if you see them!

12:07 PM: Update from Kersti – they’re off the north tip of Elliott Bay.

12:47 PM: Update from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail – they are in view from Constellation Park – residents!

1:27 PM: Along with the updates in comments, we just received email from Russell, saying they are in view from Pt. Williams at Lincoln Park.

6:09 PM: Photos added – top of the story and above this line, by Jamie Kinney. Thank you!

ORCAS: Southern Residents in view from West Seattle

(Photo added – orcas & MV Issaquah, by Trileigh Tucker)

9:31 AM: Thanks for the tips! Orcas are in view from Alki as they head this way, southbound. Kersti Muul says there’s at least six. Let us know if you see them!

9:54 AM: Kersti says they’re now south of the Bremerton ferry lanes and appear to be residents.

10:55 AM: Now passing Fauntleroy.

11:37 AM: Kersti says members of all three Southern Resident pods are here – J, K, and L!

The Whale Trail’s Winter Gathering hears about what researchers are doing and what you can do to help endangered orcas

December 15, 2019 10:03 pm
|    Comments Off on The Whale Trail’s Winter Gathering hears about what researchers are doing and what you can do to help endangered orcas
 |   West Seattle news | Whales | Wildlife

(Southern Residents during pre-Thanksgiving visit, photographed by Trileigh Tucker)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Four months after the most recent news of Southern Resident Killer Whale deaths, we’ve had no further losses – but no gains, either.

So the endangered resident orcas’ population remains at 73, attendees were reminded at The Whale Trail‘s Winter Gathering this past week.

TWT executive director Donna Sandstrom gathered supporters and experts at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) both to celebrate the season and to review the whales’ status and what action you can take to help. Here are the highlights:

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