Transient Orcas, Seals & Sea Lions – September 1, 2015
September 1, 2015
This morning we set off into the cloudy horizon with reports of Killer Whales. The We stopped at Race Rocks on the way as the whales were heading towards us. Race rocks is very active at this time of year with 100+ Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks! We then went searching for Orcas and found some of the Mammal eating, Transient Killer Whales. They were identifies as the T101 and T100 families. We were also able to pick out other individuals in the group and could confirm that it was a family with 4 generations! Transients are hard to keep track of because they switch groups and can travel separately from their family so their numbers aren’t too large that they can’t hunt. We were very fortunate to see this family of T101 (great grandmother) her son and daughter (T00) and T100’s 4 children and one grandchild. Because transients are so numerous, move around often ad switch groups, it makes them hard to study and keep track of, and for that reason these whales are not given nicknames just the scientific alphanumeric ID’s.
In the afternoon we looked for the same family of Transient Killer Whales again and during our search we found three humpbacks! The first, named split fin, was very sleepy and doing long dives so we went in search of others. We found two more that were traveling together side-by-side. Humpbacks are very understudied and we don’t know the reason for two individuals to travel together when we often see them solitary. We also don’t know the relationship between the individuals, whether they are siblings, mom and calf, mates, or just friends. So much more research is needed! We then caught up with that same family of Transient Orcas, but it seemed Great Grandma (T101) and her son had left the group and traveled in a different direction, as often transients do.