Summary for November 10 2019 A34s, Humpbacks - Bumpy, Ridge, Moonstar, Backsplash Today started as early as 3am with a vocal humpback on our local hydrophone in Blackney Pass. For the most part, his song was unfortunately covered by the loud noise of boat travelling north in the Pass. At 4:30am, there were still humpback sounds in Blackney Pass and we heard Pacific White-sided dolphins too. The A34s started to call in Johnstone Strait on our Cracroft Point hydrophone at 6am. At the same time, we heard the dolphins again and a humpback in Blackney Pass for about 10 minutes. Another humpback was briefly vocal in Blackfish Sound around 6:38am. We spotted the Pacific White-sided dolphins travelling in front of the Lab and heading south at 8:40am. It was a foggy morning in Johnstone Strait and we could not locate the orcas on our remote Cracroft Point camera but they were still calling, more or less distant. After about half an hour of silence, we heard them close to our hydrophone in the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve between 9:08am and 9:12am. We believe they continued east to the Rubbing Beaches, clearing the range of our hydrophone before coming back around 10:09am. They were close to our hydrophone in the Reserve at 10:29am when we heard echolocation sounds and loud calls. The fog had disappeared by then in the Strait and we were able to see four fins foraging just outside the Reserve on our remote camera at 10:49am. They slowly made their way west up Johnstone Strait and we spotted a fin on our Cracroft Point camera at 11:51am. They were close and vocal on our Cracroft Point hydrophone at 11:57am, soon echoing to our Parson Island hydrophone covering the entrance of Blackney Pass. At 12:23pm, we heard independant calls on the Parson Island hydrophone and were expecting them to travel north into the Pass. But they didn’t. The humpbacks Ridge, Bumpy, Backsplash and Moonstar were spotted in Blackney Pass though. We had been gifted with some of the most amazing trap feeding activity since 10:30am, including Moonstar feeding very close to the Hanson Island shore, just south of the lab at 12:52pm! We were able to capture all these incredible moments on our local camera that transmitted the footage live on explore.org for some lucky viewers! The Northern Residents continued to call in Johnstone Strait for a bit and we heard them last at 1:24pm. Later in the afternoon, a humpback made a few sounds on our hydrophone in the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. We did not hear a sound after 3:26pm.

OrcaLab
11 Nov 2019 20:25:12 PST



Summary for November 9 2019 A34s, Bigg’s?, Humpbacks - Claw, Moonstar, Backsplash, Inukshuk, Ridge, Squiggle, ?Domino What a night! After hearing 4 humpbacks sing yesterday evening, we heard 4 others during today’s early hours. The first one started at 12:42am in Johnstone Strait and performed for about an hour. He was followed by a second one at 2:46am in Blackney Pass singing simultaneously with another humpback in the Robson Bight. That one then continued on his own. His calls produced an amazing natural reverberation and continued until 4:09am. We briefly heard the A34s in Johnstone Strait at 5:06am and then again at 6:26am when a fourth humpback started to make squeaky sounds on our local hydrophone! The Northern Residents continued to be vocal on our Cracroft Point hydrophone until 7:39am. By 8:30am, 5 humpbacks were feeding in Blackney Pass at the entrance of White Beach Pass and we identified Claw, Moonstar, Backsplash, Inukshuk and Ridge! 5 out of 5! Yey! At 10am, the A34s resumed on our Cracroft Point hydrophone and we spotted 2 black fins on our remote camera halfway between Cracroft Point and Kaikash Creek on Vancouver Island. They were vocal for most of the day in Johnstone Strait. We watched them head west, favouring the Vancouver Island side. They were just tiny dots on our screen at 10:56am when we lost track of them but we could still hear their calls. They were distant and sporadic with a few excited ones around 12:45pm. The humpback named Claw came close to the lab at 1:35pm and we watched her, Backsplash, Inukshuk and possibly Domino, feeding frenzy in Blackney Pass at 1:41pm. Ten minutes later, the A34s calls became louder on our Cracroft Point hydrophone. As Claire was looking for them on our remote camera, she saw Dall’s porpoises close to the Cracroft Point platform. A black fin, possibly a sprouter, appeared mid strait at 2:24pm in line with Kaikash Creek. He was foraging on his own and we could hear him making N3 calls on our hydrophone. TJ, one of our summer assistants was also looking at the Cracroft Point camera on explore.org a few minutes later and notified us of a small fin heading into Blackney Pass. We all kept our eyes open, scanning the horizon from the lab deck, waiting for them to come in! But at 2:56pm, we spotted 5 fins on the Cracroft Point camera, spread out, in Johnstone Strait towards Telegraph Cove. If anyone came into Blackney, they remained invisible and silent on our local hydrophone! The A34s continued to call sporadically in Johnstone Strait until 3:16pm. From 3:18pm until 3:58pm we heard different calls on our Cracroft Point hydrophone, presumably Bigg’s calls. It wasn’t long before we heard the A34s again for a short time on that same hydrophone: at 5:11pm, they made a few N4s and A12 special calls before going silent except for sporadic N3 calls here and there until 6:33pm. For the past half hour, a humpback was singing a lovely melody composed of whistles, barks, cracks and high pitched violin sounds on our local hydrophone. When he paused, we could hear blows outside, mid channel in line with Harbledown Island. His last notes were at 7pm as we all gathered for a lovely dinner made by chef Megan.

OrcaLab
11 Nov 2019 20:20:41 PST



Orcas near mics.

There are very excited calls at the moment on our Cracroft Point hydrophone, tune in!

Claire
11 Nov 2019 13:03:01 PST



Distant calls audible.

A34s calls are in Johnstone Strait on our hydrophone from Cracroft Point with some faint echo on the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.

Jeremie
11 Nov 2019 10:47:01 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback whale vocalizations on our local hydrophone.

Jeremie
11 Nov 2019 03:37:54 PST



Amazing humpback trap feeding in Blackney Pass! Watch now at https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Claire
10 Nov 2019 12:47:47 PST



Orcas near mics.

The A34s are in the Robson Bight Reserve, watch them now! https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-robson-bight

Claire
10 Nov 2019 10:41:11 PST



Watch humpbacks feeding in Blackney Pass! We identified Bumpy and Ridge so far. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Claire
10 Nov 2019 10:17:46 PST



Orcas near mics.

The A34s are vocal in the Robson Bight. Tune in!

Claire
10 Nov 2019 09:19:36 PST



Not to confuse with what is happening right now but here is the summary for November 8! A34s, Humpbacks - Bumpy, Squiggle, Claw, Moonstar In the early morning light, 3 familiar humpbacks, named Bumpy, Squiggle and Claw, foraged in Blackney Pass. The sun was not quite shining through but the clouds were impressive: we felt like we were inside a Van Gogh artwork! These humpbacks were later joined by Moonstar and they all voraciously enjoyed the feast of a large baitball at the entrance of White Beach Pass at 12:30pm. At 1:43pm, the A34s were vocal in Johnstone Strait and on our remote camera we eventually saw 2 fins (one male and possibly a sprouter) now travelling east between Blinkhorn and Kaikash Creek at 3:56pm. Their calls remained quite distant for most of the day. A humpback sang in Blackfish Sound from 5:09pm until 6:14pm and the Northern Residents calls faded away by 6:20pm, still very faint on the remote hydrophone located in the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. The light was already dark by then and rain was pouring in Blackney Pass when we heard loud blows nearby at 6:50pm. We all came out on the deck when 2 humpbacks, possibly 3, surfaced right below the lab! It was impossible to see them but the deep sound of their blows was incredible! We could feel them shaking our bodies like little earthquakes. We were wondering: “why don’t they come that close during the day?” One hour later, a humpback started to sing on our local hydrophone. At 8:42pm, 2 other humpbacks stole the show in Johnstone Strait and performed a beautiful duet until 10pm.

OrcaLab
10 Nov 2019 06:31:54 PST



Distant calls audible.

The A34's are back in the strait. We are currently hearing them midrange on at Cracroft Point with some echoing to RObson Bight. There is also the occasional Humpback call on our local hydrophone and a short time ago some pacific white sided dolphins as well. A busy morning.

Megan
10 Nov 2019 06:08:33 PST



After a spell of silence, amongst some bad boat noise we once again have a Humpback sining on our local hydrophone.

Megan
10 Nov 2019 03:17:57 PST



Superb sounds!!

A beautiful recital from a humpback whale on our close hydrophone.

Jeremie
09 Nov 2019 18:51:48 PST



Distant calls audible.

Orca on camera at Cracroft Point ! A male or possibly a sprouter is heading east, in line with Kaikash Creek mid channel.

Jeremie
09 Nov 2019 14:31:02 PST



Watch humpbacks feeding frenzy on OL cam! https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Claire
09 Nov 2019 13:43:43 PST



Orcas near mics.

Watch the A34s in Johnstone Strait on our CP camera! https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/

Claire
09 Nov 2019 10:17:06 PST



Orcas near mics.

After 2.5 hours of silence, the A34s are back on our Cracroft Point hydrophone!

Claire
09 Nov 2019 10:08:49 PST



Orcas near mics.

The A34s are back on our hydrophones! Listen to them calling in Johnstone Strait.

Claire
09 Nov 2019 07:01:35 PST



Superb sounds!!

Listen to this lovely humpback song near the Robson Bight Reserve!

Claire
09 Nov 2019 04:04:02 PST



Summary for November 7 2019 Biggs: T123s, Humpbacks: Claw, Slash, Bumpy, Squiggle, Backsplash Our new routine is to wake up with the sun (later these days) and guess what the day might bring? Be it, Northern Residents, humpbacks, transients, eagles, ravens or the myriad of sea birds; be it, breaches, tail slapping, wind, rain or sun …. this part of the day when we still remember our dreams, our “wishing time”, and today we wished together for a nice Bigg’s encounter. Lucas was already at what has become his favorite spot on the deck of the lab when he sighted a group of black orca fins in line with Compton Island, heading south, at 11:15 am. The group, composed of one adult male, 2 small ones and an even smaller one were soon identified as the T123 matrilline. They were milling between Compton Island and Parson Bay, passing very close to a couple of humpback whales, one of whom was “Slash”. The gigantic male orca, T123A, was milling on his own further north of the others and at 11:38 am when we heard some brief calls. After that, T123A came straight over excitedly to join the rest of the group breaching twice, followed by rolling and tail slapping. The hunt was on! T123, the mother, along with her entire group, T123A, T123C and young T123D, began focusing on a group of sea lions located near the Parson Island Light. By 11:46am, the clustered sea lions bravely growling and facing up to the T123s succeeded in discouraging the orcas who then moved on. The T123s then headed north and were between Harbledown Island and Swanson Island by 12:12pm. They cleared our view and carried on into Blackfish Sound by 12:17pm. This was clearly the highlight of our day. As well as “Slash”, the humpback “Claw” was there at the same time as the Bigg’s, feeding in line with Harbledown Island at 12:18pm and for the record, humpbacks “Squiggle”, “Backsplash” and “Bumpy” were back as well. After each and every full day of observations, recordings, and daily chores we greatly appreciate the time when we sit down together for the evening meal prepared by the skilled chefs on hand. On this night,Megan offered and prepared her family recipe for Bolognese! This was a delightful way to complete this rather special day. The rest of the night was uneventful but individually everyone was probably busy thinking about what might come on the morrow and perhaps what to wish for next!

OrcaLab
08 Nov 2019 22:36:55 PST



We currently have two vocal Humpback whales. The first whales started singing on our local hydrophone and the second is singing in Robson Bight.

Megan
08 Nov 2019 20:57:38 PST



Superb sounds!!

As the A34s are travelling east in Johnstone Strait, probably clearing our hydrophones' range very soon, a humpback is singing in Blackfish Sound.

Claire
08 Nov 2019 17:28:27 PST



Distant calls audible.

The A34's are back in town, HORRAY! We believe they have returned from the east. They are currently heading west towards Kaikash creek mid strait. We are hearing distant sporadic calls on our Cracroft Point hydrophone.

Megan and Claire
08 Nov 2019 15:20:47 PST



Here we go again, humpbacks are feeding in Blackney Pass! Watch it on our base camera: https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Claire
08 Nov 2019 12:29:54 PST



Watch humpback whales feeding in Blackney Pass! https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Claire
08 Nov 2019 09:12:59 PST



Summary for November 6 2019: Biggs, Humpbacks - Inukshuk, Claw, Slash With waters and weather being so lovely and calm these crisp autumn days most mornings at the Lab start with a beautiful sunrise, followed by coffee in the lab or on the deck whilst watching, either on the remote cameras or by direct observation, the humpbacks as they pursue herring and each other’s company throughout the area. This morning, as the sun began to rise higher in the sky, the solar array got a good boost, and we rejoiced in completing another 24 hours without having to run the generator. For November, this is fantastic news. Claire and Jérémie set off on a morning kayak to make the most of the lovely weather, while Lucas and Megan began to process the logs collected on last week’s super high tide into much needed wood for the cook stove and wood heaters. With winter approaching keeping on top of this is important. Soon afterwards, they received a radio transmission from Claire and Jérémie that they had spotted orcas by the Parson Island Light. Megan and Lucas quickly began a recording after hurrying back to the Lab, at 10:52am. Megan located the orcas on the Lab camera, a male and two small fins, just before their last dive. After this long dive off Harbledown Island they were never seen again. After an hour of constant scanning of the Pass the recording was stopped, and Megan and Lucas returned to their wood chopping duties. Claire and Jérémie returned soon after from their kayak trip during which they identified the humpbacks, Claw and Slash, near White Beach Pass. Both Claire and Jérémie have been so dedicated over the past few weeks to trying to identify as many humpbacks as possible that they have become really familiar with these frequenting giants. Lucas and Megan identified Inuksuk amongst the group of 6+ humpbacks feeding on the far side of Blackney near White Beach Pass between 9:00am and 14:00pm. As the light began to fade just before 6pm on another full day of human and whale activity alike the sounds of a humpback whale in Blackney Pass resounded over the speakers. This continued until dinnertime at 7pm. Jérémie offered a traditional French dish called “Tartiflette” which was followed by a delicious pumpkin pie made by Lucas. Pumpkin has become such a steady staple since Hallowe’en!

OrcaLab
08 Nov 2019 05:13:15 PST



No calls but orcas nearby

The T123s have now cleared into Blackfish Sound. Meanwhile Humpbacks Slash, Claw and at least two others are feeding in multiple bait balls in Blackney Pass. Watch live on our Orcalab base cam. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Megan, Jeremie, Claire and Lucas
07 Nov 2019 12:24:45 PST



No calls but orcas nearby

We observed the T123's hunting steller sea lions around Parsons light for over 30 minuets. We heard a few fantastic calls on our lab local hydrophone but they are quiet now. T123A was jumping fully out the water it was quite the sight. They are now slowly heading north towards Blackfish sound. Thanks to Jared for help to ID the whales. You can still watch them live on our Orcalab base cam on explore. We had a few internet issues during the encounter so sadly there may be segments missing. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Megan, Jeremie, Claire and Lucas
07 Nov 2019 12:17:20 PST



No calls but orcas nearby

We have spotted Orca heading north in Blackney Pass. We have no calls yet and so far have seen just three including one male. Possibly Biggs...We shall see. Watch live on explore orcalab base cam now. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Megan
07 Nov 2019 11:26:42 PST



Summary for November 5 2019: A34s, Bigg’s, Humpbacks, There is no telling what tomorrow will bring at the lab, but some days have a taste of “déjà vu”. Indeed, today we heard our first call at 10:51 am, almost exactly the same time than the day before, the same location and same calls too. We’ve had faint N4 calls not far from our hydrophone in the Robson Bight Reserve. The special A12 call helped us to confirm that the A34s were milling into Johnstone Strait. While monitoring the orcas activities, we were enjoying this sunny day, a true blessing for our solar system as well as for Megan and Lucas, who took the time to snorkel in the ‘warm’ waters around the lab. The calls seemed louder and closer to our Robson Bight hydrophone and by 12:29 am we could hear some echolocation too. Then the whales started to sound more and more distant and we thought they were out of our acoustic monitoring field but they were more likely just silent, still on the threshold of the Ecological Reserve. At 2:06 pm, we had a report from Alexandra Morton regarding 2 young Bigg’s (Transient) males sighted along Donegal Head on Malcolm Island, moving fast to the north at 1:52 pm. In the afternoon, the A34s decided to head west and we started to hear them on our Cracroft Point hydrophone at 3:30 pm, with some very short echo to the Parson Island hydrophone, which is usually a sign that the orcas are getting close to Blackney Pass entrance. But it seems that this was more of a westing day and we could barely see a few blows mid channel on the western horizon at 3:45 pm from our Cracroft Point camera,. At 4:31 we started to hear a Humpback warming up on our local hydrophone. Could this be a rehearsal before the usual concert in the evening? Later on, Matchu from Double Bay reported seeing a group of orcas by Stephenson Islets at 5:47 pm. The group of 6 included a big male, a possible young male and 4 other smaller fins, spy hopping, tail slapping and heading east slowly towards Johnstone Strait. We think it is reasonable to believe these were part of the A34s. The whales gave us some spare time in the afternoon as by 6:05 pm, both humpbacks and orcas fell silent. Everybody has been working on their post Halloween pumpkin recipes and for a treat Lucas baked the most amazing pumpkin scones! The local recital from a humpback resumed at 7:27 pm, we could hear a concerto of “high pitched violin”, “crakings” and whistles. We enjoyed this melody for the short time this humpback was performing as there was no more calls by 7:48 pm. The day ended up quietly, with a nice and warm meal cooked by Lucas and Megan and with this déjà vu feeling still strongly present.

OrcaLab
07 Nov 2019 07:55:07 PST



Superb sounds!!

Listen live to a lovely humpback singing on our local hydrophone!

Claire
06 Nov 2019 18:51:24 PST



No calls but orcas nearby

We have a group of 5 Orca heading south in Blackney Pass. probably Bigg's. they have gone on a deep dive, we shall see where the end up. Watch live at...https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Megan
06 Nov 2019 11:01:24 PST



Summary for November 4 2019 A34s, Humpbacks Domino, Slash Sometimes we feel like the whales know our routine life on the island and today they decided to give a special farewell to Quin and Suzie their own way. Those two were on watch for their last night before heading to Alert Bay early in the morning and a first series of N4 calls occurred at 1:02 am. When Suzie went to the lab to record, the orcas became silent. The second time, Quinn woke up and heard some calls again which, by the time he pressed the record button, stopped once again at 2:08 am. The night was quiet after that and we had time to load the boat with Megan, assigned to do the regular town run, and to say bon voyage to Quinn and Suzie. The whale activity started again at 10:48 am, first with distant calls on the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve hydrophone. We could distinguish N4 calls from the A34s coming closer while in the meantime, a group of 3 humpback whales were milling in front of the lab, on Harbledown Island coast, one of them being Slash. We believe the orcas were coming from the east of the Bight, cruising slowly through Johnstone Strait where we could see them on our Cracroft Point camera at 12:56 am. At least 3 fins were milling mid channel between Hanson Island shore and west of Kaikash Creek. After following them on camera for a while, we lost their sight by 1:53 pm but could still hear their calls. Matchu came by to grab Jérémie and have a look at Parson Rock camera system for some maintenance, the perfect opportunity to give Jérémie another boat driving lesson. In the lab, at 2:18 pm, Claire had a show for herself, from one of the numerous humpback whales foraging and milling into Blackney Pass. This unknown humpback was tail slapping in the theatrical scenery of Parson Bay. Jérémie and Matchu came back from Parson Island on a “mission accomplished” mood and a few minutes later, Megan arrived back from Alert Bay at 2:32 pm. She confirmed the A34s spread out into Johnstone Strait between Hanson Island and Blinkhorn, and also spotted the Humpback called Domino, close to the Wastell Islets foraging and heading west. We could still hear the A34s on Cracroft Point hydrophone and before having the orcas back on cam at 3:57 pm, Claire could see a few Dall’s porpoises in line with Kaikash Creek, fairly rare at this time of the year ! The orcas were further east in the Strait now but we barely saw the blurry shape of a big fin (adult orca or sprouter) and some smaller ones at 3:50 pm. The orcas kept on easting for the rest of the afternoon and by the beginning of the evening at 6:41 pm, we could hear them clearly on our hydrophone in the Robson Bight Reserve. A nice Humpback whale recital started to rise on Cracroft Point hydrophone at 6:55pm and the whole whale show ended up for the day at 8:53 pm. The whales are keeping us busy all day long here but we still had the time to accomplish some important missions. And while we ended up the day by celebrating Lucas arrival and eating the bread and stuffed pumpkin cooked by Jérémie, we were wondering what surprise the whales will keep for us tomorrow.

Orcalab
05 Nov 2019 22:23:55 PST



Distant calls audible.

The A34s are back on our hydrophone in Johnstone Strait! Tune in and let's hope they'll come closer :)

Claire
05 Nov 2019 11:03:43 PST



Superb sounds!!

A lovely humpback is now in full song in Johnstone Strait!

Claire
04 Nov 2019 18:57:09 PST



Orcas near mics.

The A34s are extremely vocal in the Robson Bight, beautiful close calls!

Claire
04 Nov 2019 18:46:58 PST



The A34s are travelling east in Johnstone Strait, watch them on our Cracroft Point camera. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-cracroft-point-surface

Claire
04 Nov 2019 16:34:07 PST



Orcas near mics.

The A34s are still calling in Johnstone Strait. Their calls are getting closer to our Cracroft Point hydrophone, echoing to our Parson Island hydrophone.

Claire
04 Nov 2019 15:45:16 PST



Distant calls audible.

Orcas on Cracroft Point Camera, at least 3 fins in Johnston Strait mid channel, between Kaikash Creek and Blinkhorn Peninsula.

Jeremie
04 Nov 2019 13:05:41 PST



Distant calls audible.

Orca calls into Johnston Strait. The calls (probably A1) are getting closer to the hydrophone and more active.

Jeremie
04 Nov 2019 11:15:26 PST



3 humpback whales on our base camera. The whales are milling around the entrance of Parson Bay, close to Harbledown Island coast. https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

Jeremie
04 Nov 2019 10:56:31 PST



Summary for November 3 2019 Residents: A34s (and report of A42s) Biggs: T046Cs, T049As Humpbacks: Backsplash, Claw, Slash It all seemed to happen at once when just after 2am we heard the A34s in Johnstone Strait, and a humpback in front of the lab. Both sets of calls were distant, and the humpback had wrapped up his song by 2:30am. We continued to hear faint orca calls in Johnstone Strait until 3:10am. The early hours concluded with another brief round of humpback song, also in Johnstone Strait, from 3:21am until 3:50am. A few hours rest until we heard the A34s once more, still in Johnstone Strait. As the morning fog melted away and Blackney Pass came into focus, their calls became clearer and closer to Robson Bight. By 10:24am we could hear the full range of their vocals, with some beautiful clear calls and echolocation as they foraged in the Bight. As we were listening to their amazing calls, something distracted our attention in Blackney Pass: a group of four black dorsals slowly milling past the lab, mid-channel, heading south! We quickly identified them as Bigg’s orcas and after checking our photographs confirmed T046C1 and T046C3 were in the mix. Jared Towers later confirmed the T46C matriline with T046C2 (Sam) missing. Sam has been known to often swim independently of her natal group. We watched them mill in Blackney Pass, surfacing a few times before taking deep dives and changing directions. By 12:10pm they had committed to a direction and cleared our view north into Blackfish Sound. No vocalizations or predations - quite different to the spectacle we witnessed yesterday! All the while, we had consistent calls from the A34s who were travelling west in Johnstone Strait. Jared was on the scene in Blackfish Sound by 12:45 and confirmed that the T046Cs were now around the Plumper Islands, and the T049As (minus T049A2) were also nearby in Weynton Passage. The A34s remained vocal on our Cracroft Point hydrophone for most of the afternoon, occasionally looking like they might head north into Blackney Pass but, alas, not. We occasionally caught them on our remote camera as they foraged and travelled, and on that camera we also saw some Dall’s porpoises on at 2:41pm, and lots of humpbacks throughout the afternoon. We had a good number of humpbacks in a feeding frenzy out front at the lab, too! At 4:45pm Megan, on her way back from Alert Bay, identified members of the A34s in Johnstone Strait between Blinkhorn and Telegraph Cove, heading west. We heard our last very faint A34 calls at 6pm. We had some lovely humpback song too on our local hydrophone from 5.25pm until 7pm. Tomorrow, we say goodbye to Quin and Suzie for a few weeks before they return to the lab in December.

OrcaLab
03 Nov 2019 22:45:13 PST



Orcas near mics.

Resident orcas are milling into Blackney Pass entrance, they may possibly enter the passage. Some orcas are on our Cracroft Point camera and hydorphones right now !

Jeremie
03 Nov 2019 13:50:40 PST



A few humpbacks are feeding on the Orcalab Base Camera! https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base

The Lab
03 Nov 2019 12:36:39 PST



Superb sounds!!

Clear A34 calls on Cracroft Point, with some echolocation too.

Suzie
03 Nov 2019 12:16:48 PST



Multiple pod calls audible.

We have orca again in Blackney Pass! We believe them to be Biggs, we think we have identified members of the T046s. Currently there are no calls from them... We still have distant A34 calls in the Johnstone Strait as well. Lots of humpback activity here too! head to https://explore.org/livecams/orcas/orcalab-base to tune-in on the action.

Suzie
03 Nov 2019 12:00:55 PST



Orcas near mics.

Fantastic calls from the A34's fishing in the bight right now!

Megan
03 Nov 2019 10:31:06 PST



Distant calls audible.

The A34's have become vocal again in the Johnstone Strait. Not sure which direction they are headed in yet.

Megan
03 Nov 2019 09:38:38 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback whale is warming up with long high pitched vocals into Johnstone Strait.

Jeremie
03 Nov 2019 03:35:42 PST



And now for today!!! What a day! Well done everyone at the Lab. Summary for November 2nd 2019 Residents: A34s Biggs: T099b, T037A, T049A1 (ID’d by Jared from our photos. At least 13 individuals in total.) Humpbacks: Domino, Backsplash, Slash, Moonstar, Claw What a BIGG day we’ve had! Excuse the pun. Safe to say, we are all fairly exhausted but exhilarated. The day started early, as we had A34 calls from 11.30pm the night before. They sounded very clear on Critical Point in Johnstone Strait, and became equally clear off Cracroft Point by 12:21am, suggesting they were moving west. We last heard them faintly off both hydrophones just before 2am, when they fell silent or moved out of our range. At 5.40am the silence was pierced with a very loud, grunting humpback in Johnstone Strait. He was joined shortly after by the A34s, who were once more calling in Robson Bight. They were very faint and echoey, and were joined by another humpback singing right in front of the lab at 6:49am. The orcas slowly moved west, and we picked them up off Cracroft Point again at 8:05am. Our view was totally clouded in a thick fog, but at 9:10am we heard something which surprised us - A34 calls on our local hydrophone and still off Cracroft Point! The A34s had temporarily split up… we listened for blows outside the lab in the fog, and could hear three or four blows which definitely sounded like orca blows - but it was difficult to make out over the grunt of the sea lions. We tracked the blows moving past us to the north, and we heard a brief round of calls in Blackfish Sound at 9:37am - as well as calls still off Cracroft Point, hence the impression that the A34s had split. At this point, the fog made it difficult to tell whether this group of whales headed round Hanson and into Johnstone Strait through Weynton Passage, or turned back through Blackney, but they definitely rejoined their kin in the Strait later in the day. More on that in a little while… The A34 calls off Critical Point remained sporadic and fairly distant all morning. At 12:39pm we received a report from Matchu at Double Bay that there was a group of orcas in Blackfish Sound heading south - our way. He reported one large male and a few smaller fins. Thanks to this report, we were able to get ourselves ready for what followed! At 12:52pm Suzie spotted the first fins in Blackney, mid-channel travelling south. We had prepared ourselves for residents, A34s travelling back past the Lab… but we were wrong - it was Bigg’s! A large group of predominantly small fins (i.e. no big males) were tearing past us in a tight-knit group. We estimated there were 8 or 9 together, with one small baby. They surfaced a few times before taking deep dives, whilst the sea lions huddled together in solidarity along the Hanson Island shore. Thanks to Jared Towers, we’ve confirmed T099B and T037A were amongst these individuals. At 1pm, we spotted the group that Matchu had reported with its big male and four small fins, travelling further over in the channel, also headed south - they were Bigg’s too! We believe the male was T049A1 and the group had two babies or very young individuals. For the next four hours we watched the two Bigg’s groups predating on sea lions, breaching, interacting with humpbacks and vocalizing right in front of the Lab. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, at 1:38pm we saw yet another group of orcas enter Blackney Pass from the Strait, heading north. The A34s! Both halves had clearly joined back up in the Strait by this time and they made their way past us very quickly, clearing into Blackfish Sound at 1:57pm. They didn’t interact with the Biggs, but at 1:45 we had Bigg’s calls quickly followed by A34 calls. What a wonderful melange of visual and acoustic treats! Both groups of Bigg’s changed directions many times, and from 2:39pm to 3:38pm we could hear their faint, sporadic calls but did not have a visual. We wondered if they were taking long dives or were very far over by Parson’s Bay or White Beach Pass just out of sight. We eventually caught sight of the larger group of 8 or 9 (with the baby) at 3:38pm, and tracked them as they headed determinedly south in Blackney Pass, clearing our view at 4:15pm - but not before they gave some more sea lions a good scare. At 3:54pm we saw the second group of five Bigg’s - with the male - also heading slowly south in Blackney again, but this time accompanied by three humpbacks! The orcas didn’t seem to be hunting at this point, although we didn’t have eyes underwater it seemed like both parties were tolerating the others’ presence. Eventually, the Bigg’s left the group of humpbacks and continued south on a long, deep dive. At 4:59pm, just before they cleared our view, they were seen very close to the sea lion rocks on Hanson - those poor sea lions have really had a day of it! With all of that excitement going on, we began to hear A34 calls yet again off Cracroft Point - the group had travelled back into Johnstone Strait via Weynton Passage. We heard them faintly and only for a short time and we heard them last at 5:24pm in the Strait. The rest of the night was quiet, thankfully giving us a chance to process our thousands of photographs and sort IDs!

OrcaLab
02 Nov 2019 21:01:35 PST