Once again, it was beautiful day in the San Juan Islands with bluebird skies and flat calm waters. And, the Salish Sea was teeming with wildlife and seabirds.
In the San Juan Channel and Cattle Pass we saw Harbor Seals, Harbor Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions, and a number of different seabird species. Here the tide is funneled through Lopez Island and San Juan Island creating upwelling. Eager for a meal, marine mammals and seabirds congregate in this area, taking full advantage of the abundance of prey. Marine mammals are intelligent animals and focus their efforts in areas where food tends to be predictable and abundant. Sure seemed like they were having a feast.
Further south a Minke Whale was also busy foraging in the highly productive waters over Salmon Bank, evident by the 100’s of seabirds attacking a number of different bait balls of fish! The Minke Whale was unusually cooperative, surfacing every few minutes and providing excellent views and photographic opportunities. This Minke Whale was definitely not a “sneaky Minke” today!
On our return to Friday Harbor we saw another 15 Harbor Seals, packed in like sardines on Mummy Rocks where a mature Bald Eagle perched above overlooking the scene as if playing “King of the Mountain.” Then we swung by Whale Rocks where over 20 Steller Sea Lions were either swimming, resting, or visibly arguing over prime haul-out territory.
Naturalist Amy, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching and Wildlife Tours