Maintenance and Generosity

    So far this winter the storms have been relentless. The SE winds have blown up everything from strong wind to gale warnings including storm and hurricane force warnings. On average it seems that these systems will move in for 5-7 days with less than 24 hours of reprieve in between. On top of […]

Winter & Spring Wrap Up; 2010/2011

The winter of 2010/2011 proved to be a dark, cold and windy season with no shortage of precipitation. La Nina was forecast and she definitely took a strong hold. There was rain, snow, hail, sun and wind; storm warnings, hurricane force winds and even a Tsunami advisory! The lack of sun and cold temperatures made […]

Transient Superpod Social

  It was 08:37, on May 16th, when we heard the first orca call on the house speaker.  We were in the midst of a discussion about a huge group of transients that had been observed to the south the day before.  The report spoke of a group of over 30 individuals. We were not […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rub a rub a rub

Yesterday, the group of orcas (A11s with Springer, A36s with A12, A8s) that had been far to the east in Johnstone Strait for several days (probably fishing or looking for fish) returned to western Johnstone Strait.  They arrived at the eastern boundary of the Reserve around 8am, went in for a rub at the Main […]

Ties that bind

Several “A” clan matrilines in Gordon Channel, near Port Hardy, July 11, 2010.  Photo by Donna Mackay. Basic facts about orca society, and the glue that holds it together, have been known since the 1970s, when the “photo-ID” work of Mike Bigg and Ian McAskie, & their collaborators, revealed that “resident” fish eating orcas live in […]

Gone fishing

It seems that the groups who’ve arrived so far (A36s with A12, A8s, A11s) have been finding it easier to be in Nodales Channel, in the far eastern reaches of Johnstone Strait, than in our immediate vicinity.  This is a pattern we’ve seen frequently in the last few years, and think it reflects the general […]