Encounter #55 - June 18, 2016

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 288

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Vessel:

Observers:

Pods/ecotype:

Location:

Begin Lat/Long: End Lat/Long:

18-Jun-16

3

55

1343

1344

Chimo

Ken Balcomb

Bigg's Transient whales

Constance Bank

48 20.14N/123 19.236W

48 20.10N/123 19.24W

Encounter Summary: 

While conducting Encounter 54 with L pod Residents heading east off Victoria, a report came in of Transient whales heading out on a near collision course on the southeast edge of Constance Bank. “Chimo” diverted for a few minutes to check them out, and they turned out to be the same individuals that had been seen two days ago in Speiden Channel north of San Juan Island (Encounter 53). Because they had already been identified and catalogued as being in the area, only quick proof-of-presence photos were taken before “Chimo” returned to the Resident Encounter.

 

The Transients were travelling in a close knit group and heading southwest outbound, passing within one mile of the Residents heading east inbound. This is one of those rare occasions where the Resident and Transient ecotype whales nearly overlap in habitat use in time and space. Usually, they seem to alternate coming into the Salish Sea. The Residents, of course, and coming into the area following ‘runs’ of salmon (primarily Chinook), and the Transients are coming into the area in search of marine mammal prey. By evolving completely different diet patterns and preferences, the two ecotypes can exist in sympatry, without competing with one another. In reality, the Transients are assisting the Residents by removing other predators on the salmon – nature’s way of keeping ecosystem balance.