As many of you who follow the movements of the whales know, May sightings can be spotty. During the first year of the study they had several sightings in May, but none that actually resulted in an encounter. On this day 40 years ago, the Orca Survey team got pretty close, but no luck! It had been several weeks since their last encounter in April and they were more than ready to catch up with the whales again.
They had slightly better luck in June with four J pod encounters, one K pod, and one K's and L's. Looking at the chart below, you can see that May sightings of SRKW's have decreased over the last 12 years. This downward trend parallels the decline in the abundance of the spring Chinook salmon run on the Fraser River, B.C. -an important food source for the SRKW's.
May sightings compared to other months are typically low. The grapgh below shows the sighting trends from 2015. So far this May we have had four encounters: two with J's and two with transients.
Below is the Log book entry for today's date, 40 years ago. Those of you who spend your time watching whales, will understand the enthusiasm expressed by Ken when they receive the sighting report. Many of you can probably relate to that feeling!
When we haven't seen the whales for while, we have a long standing joke at the Center about needing "a whale fix" :)