Herring Anyone?

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa

The sound of these Pacific White-sided Dolphins moving through the water, together with the incredible lighting made for a very special experience.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Claw, Argonaut, Ashes, Freckles, Meniscus, Piza and Merge), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Ancient Murrelets, Red-necked Phalaropes, and Common Murres.

Snoozing in the kelp bed is a Pacific Harbour Seal.

Over 300 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and hundreds of gulls fed on herring in a tight group this afternoon.

On the move, these mammal hunting Orca suddenly changed speed and direction as they moved towards a large group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins.

Ashes the Humpback Whale takes a big mouthful of juvenile herring.

Pacific White-sided Dolphins cruise through the waters.

Beyond beautiful. The exhalations of mammal hunting Orca rise in the cool air as they swim through a pass.

Freckles the Humbpack Whale encounters a group of mammal hunting Orca. Yes, we were watching humpbacks and Orcas together yesterday.

Sitting together, here is a mating pair of Bald Eagles.

From the gulls to the dolphins, to the Humpback Whales, everyone was eating herring on this afternoon’s tour!

Ashes and Argonaut the Humpback Whales were engulfing enormous mouthfuls of herring just minutes from Telegraph Cove. Again and again they emerged, mouthes wide open in the tide rips as the gulls lifted off of the water, pausing their own feeding. The sounds of a feeding frenzy were all that could be heard as we drifted and spun in the tide currents; Common Murres gargled and cheeped, the gulls squawked overhead and Humpback Whales exhaled at the surface. This is our soundtrack to the fall.

We got word of a group of Orcas traveling nearby and suddenly we were watching both Humpback Whales and Orcas! This group of mammal hunting Orcas moved slowly through the area, passing one of the Pacific Harbour Seal haul-outs and likely making at least one kill. We watched them surface, circle, then change directions again all the while their exhalations rising against the rocky backdrop. It was beyond beautiful.

Suddenly changing speed and direction, the orcas led us to even more wildlife! A group of 300 or more Pacific White-sided Dolphins were actively hunting herring along the shoreline. These Orcas, who will prey on Pacific White-sided Dolphins, showed little interest but the dolphins moved quickly in the other direction. The dolphins who are some of the most acrobatic in the world, leapt right out of the water at times as the group quickly moved west. As the dolphins fished, the gulls circled overhead, many of them with herring in their beaks as well. The sound of the dolphins moving through the water, together with the incredible lighting as they surfaced made for a very special experience.

It’s this kind of activity that’s happening out in the waters just outside Telegraph Cove almost every day! There are only two tours left so you better come and see it for yourself.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. All photos are property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

This Pacific Harbour Seal chose a nice bed of rock weed for his/her rest.

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