Thanks to wildlife photographers, we can follow eight new southern resident Orcas born in the last 18 months.
We’re deep in summer now, when the fish-eating J, K, and L pods traditionally come into inland waters for their preferred food, Chinook (King) salmon. Professional photographer, Clint Rivers, caught Scarlet in mid-leap, the only female of the eight. She’s been delighting amateur photographers as well with her exceptional energy and Olympic level gymnastics.
The New Orcas
As noted in an earlier blog, young Orcas nurse for their first year, so 20 month-old Scarlet’s mom appears to have had enough to eat to provide a good quality and quantity of milk during that time.
Here’s a summary of the new kids, all seen and appearing healthy in the last 5 weeks.
It’s the time for the young ones to be learning to catch their own salmon and so far we can’t tell how much they’re finding. The salmon runs for the summer are iffy and normal sightings of the J and L pods show that they’re more widely dispersed, and K pod has hardly been seen.
*****Update 8-8-16 K pod members seen off West side of San Juan Island
Thanks to a Variety of Wildlife Photographers
Without wildlife photographers, we wouldn’t know any of this. First and foremost are the researchers whose identification photographs are the source for all this tracking. Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, continues with his staff to post and comment on their photos on their site’s Encounters page.
Next, the professional photographers like Rivers use their trained artist eye to especially share the beauty of nature just as it is. Finally, the amateur photography of whale watchers comes with their shared excitement and joy when they experience some of nature’s most moving moments. Thanks also to those that maintain the internet sites to share these photographic gifts; I’ve added those focusing on the southern resident Orcas to the sidebar at the right.
This blog is now packing up its fonts for its August vacation; you can continue to track the Orcas using the whale sighting sources in the sidebar. I myself will be enjoying frequent picnics and watching the salmon runs until the blog returns after Labor Day. May the rest of your summer also include an abundance your preferred food source.
Center for Whale Research photos used with permission.
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