June 24th - T124A's making a kill near Wallace Island

Before the rain yesterday, the waters were churning with excitement down in Trincomali Channel. Our zodiac Cascadia encountered whales just south of Wallace Island and watched them travel northwest through beautiful islets and channels. 

 A glimpse at the white eye patch and white lower jaw as this whale travels through Trincomali Channel. Photo by Val Watson

A glimpse at the white eye patch and white lower jaw as this whale travels through Trincomali Channel. Photo by Val Watson

After some time the whales split into two groups, one hugged the rocky shoreline and the other offshore. It became obvious that these whales were mid hunt! We saw some tail slaps and lots and lots of circling and splashing. Pretty soon gulls flocked down to confirm a kill. One of our surest ways to know if the whales have started eating is if we see the seagulls dive down to snatch remains.

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

Yesterday we also had another scavenger on scene - a bald eagle! This massive bird of prey swooped in to pick up some food and then carried it off just as quickly. 

 Coming in to snatch some scraps from the orca's hunt! Photo by Val Watson

Coming in to snatch some scraps from the orca's hunt! Photo by Val Watson

Bald eagles can see 4-7 times farther than humans and can grip things 10x more tightly. We see them scanning our waters for fish hanging near the surface and scanning over meadows and beaches for small terrestrial prey. Their 6 foot wing span always takes guests breaths away!

 Look at the scraps hanging from this eagle's beak! Photo by Val Watson

Look at the scraps hanging from this eagle's beak! Photo by Val Watson

 Tail slaps during a hunt. Photo by Val Watson

Tail slaps during a hunt. Photo by Val Watson

 An adult female cruises along the shoreline. Photo by Val Watson

An adult female cruises along the shoreline. Photo by Val Watson

We also got to see a large group of cormorants resting on a buoy. These seabirds dive to depths of up to 100m to search for fish! They can push the air out of their plumage, making themselves less buoyant and able to swim deeper with less resistance. That's why we sometimes see them with their wings spread out resting. They need to dry out their soaked plumage after a deep dive!

 Cormorants resting on a poop covered buoy. Photo by Val Watson

Cormorants resting on a poop covered buoy. Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment