Posts Tagged ‘Bald Eagle’
Today we were watching a variety of wildlife on the south side of San Juan Island. We observed between 10-15 members of L pod that were spread out south of False Bay and heading to the southeast (48°25.25N, 123°05.87W). Five to six orcas were surfacing in a tight-knit group. Three other individuals were at least 500 yards away to the south and east, but traveling in the same direction. One orca breached twice; what an incredible splash! We believe we spotted the L85 “Mystery” in the group, and two-year-old L116 with mother L82 “Kasatka”. After spending some time observing these large mammals we passed by Whale Rock to see 17 Steller’s sea lions relaxing under partly sunny skies. Two bald eagles were looking out over the water for their next meal; one was near its nest on Long Island, the other on Turn Island. We caught glimpses of harbor porpoise and harbor seals too! Great day to be on the water.
SJS Naturalist Jenny
The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, with wildlife too! Dear readers, won’t you come out and play?
Today couldn’t have been more enjoyable! The sunshine, the summertime, *perfect temperatures, and water like glass! We saw tons of wildlife including at least 3 dozen Harbor Seals, 2 Great Blue Herons, a Bald Eagle, Harbor Porpoise, Cormorants, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, and 15+ Steller Sea Lions. We also had a great round of wildlife bingo with each and every passenger competing for the gold!
With smooth seas, no breeze, the sun on our face, there’s no better place, to be, than the Salish Sea!
Naturalist Tara, San Juan Safaris!
Today we headed north on a wildlife adventure! Incredible scenery through the northern San Juan Islands; we passed by Spieden Island first. Adult male mouflon sheep were grazing near shore; their large and round horns are quite a sight. Several females were also resting in the grass close by. We also spotted a bald eagle at the top of a tree looking out for its next meal. A harbor seal was resting with her pup on a mattress of rockweed, a type of seaweed, up against the shoreline. These pups nurse for about six weeks and then it is time to learn to hunt for fish. As we turned toward Stuart Island, we kept a lookout for any splashing at the surface. Harbor porpoise would quickly pop up, and down they would dive. Once we crossed Boundary Pass, we hugged the shoreline of Saturna Island. We were in Canada! We moved through these waters for a period of time, on the lookout for large marine mammals. We turned back toward Waldron Island and sure enough, the elusive minke whale (48°41.44N, 123°05.42W). Surrounded by seabirds, including rhinoceros auklets, common murres, and glaucous-winged gulls, a bait ball was just under the surface. Several surfaces by the minke allowed us to see that curved dorsal fin and pointed rostrum, or snout. After watching the minke for several minutes, we returned to Friday Harbor under sunny skies. So much to see while on the water!
SJS Naturalist Jenny
Although our Southern Resident Killer Whales were nowhere to be found today, we did have luck finding Minke Whales. Not just one, but two (maybe even 3!) Minkes were in the Salmon Banks area, on the south side of San Juan Island (48°25.33’N, 122°59.94’W). Just rounding the corner out of Friday Harbor, a Bald Eagle majestically perched at the top of a fir on Turn Island. On the way out of San Juan Channel, eight Stellar Sea Lions sunned themselves on Whale Rocks, while young Harbor Seal pups seemed to be everyone in the water. On Goose Island, Glaucous Winged Gull chicks still covered the east side of the rocks, while Cormorants sunned themselves near the water’s edge. Along with the wild life viewing, today’s sunny weather, and an exciting current racing with the flood tide through Cattle Pass, it was another excellent day on the water!
Within minutes of leaving Friday Harbor, we found over 20 Harbor Seals, including several pups, resting on the shores of Turn Point. We then saw 7 Steller Sea Lions sprawled out on Whale Rocks taking advantage of the beautiful weather and soaking up the sunshine. These large, male Sea Lions were clearly enjoying their afternoon siestas. Next Captain Jim spotted a Minke Whale near Salmon Bank at the southern end of San Juan Island (48°25.19N, 122°58.14W). The whale surfaced several times as it traveled west before taking a deeper dive. As we waited for the whale to re-surface we all enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine on the flat calm seas and watching the Common Murres and Rhinoceros Auklets paddle by. The Minke Whale then surprised us and the seabirds by surfacing 200 yards away and causing the birds to scatter in all directions. On the way back we stopped by Long Island to catch a glimpse of a mature bald eagle. Yay! Another amazing day in the Salish Sea!
Naturalist Amy, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching and Wildlife Tours
Fantastic wildlife viewing today! Caught up with Southern Resident Killer Whales off East Point, Saturna Island, BC (48°27.25N, 123°02.35W). Viewed a large group of tightly packed members of J Pod, with J-37 (Hy’Shqa) and new baby tucked in between, moving westerly off Saturna Island at a slow pace. Lots of tail slapping, lob tailing, breaching, spy-hopping. Saw Bald Eagles in the trees and sitting on the rocks off Cactus Island. Guests witnessed a breathtaking dive bomb to the water by an eagle, who successfully emerged with a fish, then landed on a rock and started eating. Excellent wildlife viewing, warm weather, and mellow seas made for another amazing day on the Salish Sea.
Shelly, Tara, and Jenny, Naturalist for San Juan Safaris
Exciting day on the water! Leaving the harbor under rainy skies, we traveled north around San Juan Island. Happily, the skies dried and the sun soon came out just as we caught up with members of the Southern Resident Killer Whales in Haro Strait. Traveling along the west side of Stuart Island and milling in the Turn Point area (first sighted at 48°40.67N 123°14.92W) were: Onyx (L87), along with Slick (J-16) and her calf, Echo (J-42), Mike (J-26) and Alki (J-36). Our next sighting include Granny (J-2) along with Tsuchi (J-31), and Mako (J-39). The orcas were active and didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave the area. Plenty of shots of tails waving, pectoral fin slaps and the occasional spy hop. On the way back, we heard a rumor that there might be a new calf in J Pod?
Shelly and Tara, Naturalists for San Juan Safaris
We headed north to Canadian waters today; calm waters and warm sun made for a wonderful boat ride. As we approached Saturna Island, we saw the spray…the spray of the humpback whale. We observed this marine mammal feeding in Boundary Pass (48°43.982N, 123°08.698W), and had the opportunity to watch the fluke dip into the water. As this type of whale has baleen plates, it was likely feeding on krill or a variety of small schooling fish. Several rhinoceros auklets were around, hoping to join the feeding frenzy. After viewing the humpback for several minutes, we turned south and passed the east side of Stuart Island, noting some harbor porpoise along the way. A bald eagle was standing guard! We had the opportunity to view a large nest on Cactus Island. We concluded our tour with a passing of Spieden Island. Mouflon sheep were grazing in the shade. Several harbor seal mothers and pups were out on the hunt too! What an incredible day on the water.
SJS Naturalist Jenny
We had calm seas and a bright sunny day, perfect for wildlife watching! We departed Friday Harbor heading south, stopping to view harbor seals in the water and hauled out, as well as a bald eagle perched high in the tree tops. There were more seals around Goose Island, plus cormorants, gulls, and a large stellar sea lion playing in the bull kelp. Then, around whale rocks we saw three massive male steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks. One even started growling! It was awesome to hear.
Not much further south, between Lopez and San Juan Island we spotted three killer whale dorsal fins. It was the K-13’s. Not too far from them was a large male, who we recognized as L-87 or Onyx. The whales started traveling along the west coast of the island. We got spectacular views of them, especially when one spy hopped! They were spreading out along the coast, giving us the opportunity to see whales all over. As they continued on, we turned back and took another look at whale rocks, where six steller sea lions were now soaking up some sun. We realized one was a juvenile male who was significantly smaller than the others. What a beautiful afternoon with lots of wildlife!
~Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris