orcalab blog

Category: Summer Report

endless summer

Signs that Fall is here are everywhere. It’s dark when I get up at 6am, the first hint of a new day on the horizon; the forest floor has turned gold and green as the cedars shed their summer cloak; honeysuckle leaves litter the boardwalks and garden ground; bright red honeysuckle berries are being plucked […]

Sadness and sentiment – the start of summer 2011

A rare April encounter brought the first hint that the A5 pod might have suffered an unexpected loss. The young adult female, Nodales (A51), was not with her family, though all the A5 matrilines were present.  She and her 2010 baby were both missing.  Denial, and no further sightings of the group until much later, […]

as the seasons change

Suddenly, it’s winter!  We’ll try to tell you more about what happened during the fall, soon, but for the moment, just want to share with you our experience of the full moon eclipse at the winter solstice, the first such in 372 years.  We were in Victoria, and the moon appeared only briefly, between dark […]

the return of summer

The forest floor is starting to go reddish-orange around here, as the cedars shed their summer cloak, and the mornings have a distinct chill about them that comes with fog and feels like fall.  So we know the season is changing.   From what has been happening with the orcas lately, though, you’d think we were […]

when the (resident) orcas are away

It’s been rather uncanny over the years, to note how often the space left by absent resident orcas is filled by transient orcas, who somehow manage to show up and save a thin whale watching day.  It is difficult to know whether this is a real phenomenon, or an observational artifact.  One might  reasonably suppose […]


When used in relation to British Columbia’s Northern Resident orca community, the term “superpod” refers to a gathering of more than 50 orcas that includes families from all three of the community’s “clans” – A, G, and R.   Pretty much every year, superpods come together in the Johnstone Strait area, creating a truly impressive spectacle […]

party animals

“Party animals” the I15s are, and apparently ever have been.  Their social behaviour now is no different than it was years ago, when the females in the group appeared to draw male attention so consistently that we called them “the love pod”.  The group’s then young boys have since grown or are growing up, so […]

some sockeye

The word “some” sometimes means more than a little, as in Winston Churchill’s famous “some chicken, some neck” rejoinder to the comment that Britain would be pummeled into surrender within 3 weeks of an invasion during the early days of Word War II. During the last week, we’ve seen a perfect illustration of this semantic, […]

July: a long way between bites

This summer (2010) in Johnstone Strait seems “normal” in some ways, but there have been worrying aspects to what is happening too.  The first arrivals came pretty much when we expected them, early in July (3rd).  As usual, they were an “A” clan matriline, this time the A36 brothers, Plumper (A37) and Kaikash (A46).  They […]

A mother and daughter

Simoom (A34) was born in 1975, so she is 35 years old and in the prime of her life as a female orca.  In a way, Simoom’s is a very ordinary orca story – a girl growing up in a tight-knit family, having kids at a normal age, thriving as a member of her extended […]