UAV Encounter #14 - Sept 11, 2023
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Other Staff:Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers:Rachel John, Molly Henling
Start Latitude:48 28.11
Start Longitude:123 16.08
End Latitude:48 28.03
End Longitude:123 08.15
The team got off the dock at 1207, intending to briefly photograph some nearby Bigg's killer whales before working our way to J pod. However, after calling off the Bigg's encounter due to the whales milling inside of some reefs where they'd be difficult to approach, the team headed back across Haro Strait to J pod.
The team arrived at 1330 on scene as J pod made their way south past Lime Kiln. Members of the J19s and J14s were the first to filter past, along with J46 and J42. After getting situated in some flatter water, the team got the drone up at 1440 and began behavioral observations.
The team first followed J37 and J59. They observed J37 surface with a fish and share part of it with J59 before they continued south. Offshore of them, the J41s swam in a group. While we didn't see the hunt or prey sharing, both J41 and J51 had parts of a fish in their mouth. J36 briefly joined this group and then swam on. The team continued to observe J37 and J59 as they searched near the shoreline, taking some time to socialize with one another.
After one more flight on the pair, the team went further down island. There, they found J47 and J49 socializing with each other at the surface. Nearby, J35 and J57 worked together to chase a fish at the surface. The two young males eventually came over to get involved in the chase as well. After the fish managed to make a few dashes to get away, the whales finally cornered it, with J35 making the catch and then sharing half the fish with J47.
The team left the whales and headed towards home, but not before briefly taking a look at J38 as he foraged north of the rest of the whales. The team ended the encounter at 1554.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 27038/ DFO SARA 388