Summary: July 10th 2023

Orcas: A42s (Geogia Strait), T087, T124C, T099s

Humpbacks: Argonaut, Ripple, Quartz, Lure

Today, the A42s continued to stay in in the same general area around Savary Island and Quadra Island in upper Georgia Strait.

Meanwhile around 2pm we had a tantalizing report of 15 Northern Residents traveling east near the Deserter Islands northwest of Port Hardy. Beyond this initial report we heard nothing but were still hopeful that the flooding tide later in the early evening would nudge them along. So far it has not happened.

At 6:45pm three humpbacks, Argonaut, Ripple and Quartz engaged in some heavy feeding mid channel just south of the Lab. It was for a while quite spectacular. They would have more to do a bit later.

We knew that Bigg’s orcas were around as the Cliff Research site reported a group heading west around 5pm. Despite the now flooding tide these whales made it into Blackney Pass before 8pm just as, once again, we were setting the dinner on the table. It looked like a fairly large group as we counted 7 including two mature males, a juvenile male, a mum and baby and two other female sized fins. They made it all the way along Parson Island, stopped and engaged in a hunt, most likely their target was a Dall’s Porpoise. There were no calls and eventually they turned back with the current and made their way out of view towards Johnstone Strait. They were, for a time, accompanied by at least one humpback. This was not as unusual as it seems. In the past while Bigg’s orcas have been involved in a hunt we have witnessed humpbacks placing themselves in or near the action often foiling the Bigg’s efforts. Quartz has definitely done this before. At 8:38pm the Bigg’s were back in view trying once again to negotiate Blackney Pass. This time they made a straight job of it despite the opposing current. By 8:45 they were more than half way along Parson Island. By 8:57pm they were opposite the Lab cameras clicking quickly. Having a look later we could identify the large males T087, T124C and the T099s. They were gone from our view by 9:12pm and still moving into Blackfish Sound efficiently.

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