T49C moon
T49C moon

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T77A
T77A

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T49C off Seabird
T49C off Seabird

Photo by Heather MacIntyre

T49C moon
T49C moon

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Encounter Summary: 

Enroute to encounter incoming residents, “Chimo” encountered two Bigg’s “transients” just off of Discovery Island, British Columbia, traveling slowly WSW. When we got on scene, Heather identified the two male individuals as T049C and T077, more commonly referred to as “the twins”. Even though T049C and T077A have no genetic relation to each other, they have kept a close association with one another and are often seen traveling together. Even though they aren’t related, they both have nicks in their dorsal fins that are nearly identical. You really have to look hard to notice the difference! For some reason, these two have been good companions for some time.

 

While we were on scene, we witnessed T049C  engaging in some social behavior that was a bit unusual. He was rolling on his back, swimming upside down, and slapping his fluke in a relaxed manner! This was very interesting because we had not witnessed a predation event, and most social behavior from transient ecotype killer whales revolves around, or are in response to, a predation event. They have to be quiet and stealthy, in order to exploit their intelligent marine mammal prey, and therefore engaging in loud surface percussive’s (including acrobatics, such as breaches, tail-slaps, cartwheels, etc.) is not usually seen if they are intent on foraging. It was a great encounter; while it was short, we got some great identification photographs! We left the twins traveling southwest in order to catch up with the incoming southern residents in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

11-Oct-15

1

88

16:29

16:40

Chimo

Ken Balcomb

Heather MacIntyre

Bigg's Transient's

Discover Island

48.23.302/123.13.090

48.24.724/123.13.344

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Encounter #88 - Oct 11, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272