Posts Tagged ‘pigeon guillemot’

2 Transients On the Hunt!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

It was another beautiful day on the water. The sun was out in full shine, the water pure glass. Out in Haro Strait at the very northeastern tip of D’Arcy Island we found two Transient Orcas (48°35.77N, 123°15.61W). We identified them as male T20 and female T21. Fortunately we were able to watch them hunt for a while.

We then continued our way around Mandarte Island, through the Cactus Islands, and back home. We saw all kinds of wildlife including Cormorants, gulls, Pigeon Guillemots, Harbor Seals, Harbor Porpoise, Bald Eagles, Fallow Deer, and Mouflon Sheep. Couldn’t ask for much more on a day like this!

Naturalist Tara, San Juan Safaris

Breathtaking Wildlife Day From Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Breathtaking Wildlife Day From Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

We departed Friday Harbor under clear, sunny, 60-ish degree skies.
Right off the bat, near Shaw Island, Captain Craig found 2 CALIFORNIA Sea Lions hanging out on a bright red buoy. It is not that frequent that we see the California sea lions around here. Off we went heading north. 

Since there have been several transient orca whale sightings in Canadian waters as of late, we felt this was our best chance at whales. A few Harbor Porpoise showed themselves. near Stuart Island – weaving amongst the 10 inch waves.

And to Canada we did go. We went all the way to Mandarte Island – known for its bird population. There were conventions of Cormorants. They were iridescent with spring plumage. And plenty of gulls – several variety. 

We then headed back in to U.S waters near Stewart Island, Turn Point - the northern most point in the lower states.  In these waters we were greeted by several Dahl’s Porpoise who not only rode our boat wake but swam around and around us. One Dahl’s continued to stay with us long after all the rest had scattered.

We had six birders aboard with us today. And we did not disappoint. Not in any particular order today we saw: 2 bald eagles, one each in separate places, a Belted Kingfisher inches above the water fishing, a Rhinoceros Auket (a guest spotted it) a Western Grebe (Naturalist Kathy spotted it) Harlequin Ducks (again a guest spotted) a Red Neck Grebe (that was MY spot) a group of Pigeon Guillemonts (my spot again) and a few more that I now cannot remember.

On our way back home we swung past the south end of Speiden island where 14  – 1500 Stella Sea Lion were worshiping the sun. Then in a place we normally would not see porpoise, between San Juan Island & Shaw Island,  a hawk-eyed guest spotted about three harbor porpoise (BRAVO – good spotting!)

Sorry you were not with us today . . . but we are going out again tomorrow.

Over and out for now,

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen
San Juan Safaris Whale Watch & Willdife oh and Birding Tours

I tried to trace the path of our trip on this map. I am sure I’ll hear something from Capt. Craig.

April 21, 2012 tour route, approximate

April 21, 2012 tour route, approximate

An “A” Whale and Wildlife Charter Tour

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

  Today with beautiful weather the two Kenmore Air sea planes touched down at the dock and we were there waiting to take the guests for a wildlife tour.  The group included people from Denmark, Sweden and Japan.

We went down the east side of San Juan Island stopping a few times to view birds and harbor seals. We had a good look at a mature bald eagle, solo, at the top of a tree. As we neared the southern-most tip of the island, we stopped (turned off the engine) and sat to watch some big stellar sea lions.  10-15 sea lions sunning on a rock outcropping with 100’s of pelagic cormorants. The rocks were literally covered with animals.

We started up again heading north. There were a number of commercial vessels out fishing today with nets out. The guests and I saw several orca whales go right up to one of these boats. I wondered if they were going to try to get fish out of the net, but then they just moved along. There were also many markers bobbing about as crabbing season has RE-opened.

Further north up the west side we saw a male orca solo.  We were stopped and watched him for a bit.
We started up going slowly north were we encountered a few more orca whales. I remember a group of 3, either all females or females with a young male. The whales were not coming out of the water – just enough to breath. There were many small groups of whales and seemed to be spread out over a large area.

With the engines off and the hydrophone down (50’) we were treated to the whale calls/song/clicks. I can never grow tired of this.  There was a good deal of vocalization today too!

We moved a bit more north were different whales were seemingly on a northern journey. Again, with engines off, we sat just staring to the coast of San Juan Island where whales were popping up and sliding back down. We even saw 2 tail slaps that looked like a juvenile.

We came home stopping near Speiden as one of the guests spotted 4 Harlequin Ducks swimming by. The captain turned the boat around so that Peter, the birder, with a 400 mm lens, could get a really good photo. He was thrilled and so was I. (hope he sends us the photo).

How would I grade this trip? The fog from the morning lifted and the planes came on time, it did not rain, it was not cold, we saw Stella Sea Lion, Cormorants, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagle, Orca Whales, Harlequin Ducks, Heermann’s Gull, Loons, Common Murres, Pigeon Guilemots and more. It was an “A” Trip.

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen