A Bigg’s appreciation post. My sense of wonder soars when I think about these whales. Their behaviour so intriguing, calculated, swift, and mysterious. Here is a small selection from the 2015 season. Click for caption and whale ID.
J47 “Notch” breaching. He was travelling with J41 “Eclipse” and J51 when this was taken. It was interesting to see him tag along with mom and calf, and on a few occasions J51 surfaced next to him instead of mom.
Biggs killer whale T65A3 pursuing a harbour seal until abruptly deciding to end the chase when he/she grabbed it from the surface and pulled it under. And a bonus of T65A2 spyhopping shortly after the kill was made.
Who would have thought a killer whale crotch shot would be so interesting to people?
Anyway, there have been rumours going around of J51 being a male, and I thought I would clear the air. This is the photo I took of him on April 14th. This image was sent to the CWR, so wait for them to say whats up, but it sure does look like a male to me.
The L12s with L25, L85, and the L22s. This group is not uncommonly splintered off from the rest of Lpod, when they do choose to make an appearance in the Salish Sea, they often spend days at a time foraging the bottom half of San Juan Island and off the banks of the eastern Juan de Fuca. They are very intriguing. This was painted the year that the L22s (the three whales on the far right) exhibited an atypical pattern, where just the three of them (mom L22 “Spirit” and her two big boys L79 “Skana” and L89 “Solstice”) stayed within a relatively small area for days at a time with no other southern resident orcas in the area. The three of them went slowly back and forth, back and forth along the west and south side of San Juan Island. It was concerning to see a pattern like that from just three whales. Days passed, and the three took off in the middle of the night, only to reappear again weeks later with the rest of Lpod, but this time, without L79, who was never seen again.
They are an interesting assemblage of whales, and I lose sleep at night imagining why they choose to associate the way they do. Why does L85 (the last remaining individual of his family) choose to travel with L25 so often? Why do the L22′s hang out with the L12s so much? We will likely never fully understand, and thats what I love <3
From left to right: L25, L85, L41, L77, L119, L113, L94, L89, L22, and L79 (RIP).
Looks like J-51 is a boy! Also, it seems that J-41 Eclipse is his mama, not J-19 Shachi, as he has been consistently seen with Eclipse and yesterday Shachi was sighted with other whales away from this pair!
Eclipse will be 10 in July.
However, J-49’s T'ílem I'nges mom, J-37 Hy’Shqa, became a mother around Eclipse’s age, and she was successful at it, too.