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Great Sightings this Spring!

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The 2013 whale watching season is well underway! We have had some amazing sightings, not to mention an abnormal run of hot, sunny weather in Vancouver! We have yet to see the Southern Resident Killer Whales return to the inland waters of BC and Washington State, but that does not mean we have been short of Orca! There have been many sightings of Transient (AKA. Bigg’s) Killer Whales since we started the season in mid-April. We have seen all sorts of behaviour from them, but the most spectacular is when they are hunting. We have seen them hunting seals and porpoises up-close. Watching the whales breaching, slapping their pectoral fins and tail flukes in pursuit of their meal. ¬†Here is a great shot of some active Transients taken by Captain Gary Sutton last Saturday:

Transient Killer Whales in pursuit of a Harbour Seal.

Transient Killer Whales in pursuit of a Harbour Seal.

Just like our Resident Killer Whales, Transients travel in close-knit family groups known as matrilines. We have been seeing a number of different matrilines in the area. These matrilines are named after the eldest female in the group as she is the leader. Captain Gary got a great shot of the Transient matriline known as the T49Bs:

Transient Killer Whales Matriline known as the T49Bs.

Transient Killer Whales Matriline known as the T49Bs.

Since the season began, we have also had a number of sightings of Humpback Whales in the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia. Humpback Whales were once a rare sight in the Salish Sea, but their populations are slowly recovering in the North Pacific and every year we have more and more sightings of them. This past month we saw a juvenile Humpback on a number of occasions. It was very curious and active. We saw it breaching all the way up out of the water and slapping its huge, white pectoral fins down on the surface. Here is another great picture of this same Humpback whale about to go down on a deep dive:

Humpback Whale heading down for a deep dive in the Strait of Georgia.

Humpback Whale heading down for a dive in the Strait of Georgia.

It has been a great start to the year for whale sightings, but we can’t forget our favourite springtime visitor to this area, the Sea Lions. We have both California and Steller’s Sea Lions in the area in the Spring, before they head off to their summer breeding grounds. They are always fun to watch!¬†

Steller's Sea Lions lounging on the rocks.

Steller’s Sea Lions lounging on the rocks.

Looking forward to a great summer here in Vancouver!

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