Gray whale #49, Patch
California sea lion, harbor seals, harbor porpoise
Lots of bald eagle action
Osprey, Caspian terns, common loon, great blue herons, and a red-necked grebe
Jetty Island was a bird sanctuary this morning with the low tide exposing the tide flats and feeding opportunities for a variety of birds. We spotted two osprey, a bunch of bald eagles, and several great blue herons there. The eagles were circling around right at the end of Jetty Island as if they had some food they were interested in. We circled around a California sea lion hanging out on a buoy and he sat up and barked at us a few times before we aimed out into the open water to look for whales. It didn’t take too long before I spotted a whale swimming in between Whidbey Island and Hat Island. He disappeared for a while then popped up near the north end of Hat Island. We could tell right away that it was Patch, #49!
Patch was acting a little peculiar in the beginning in that he was arching his back very high, but not raising his tail flukes. It wasn’t until he swam over toward the Hat Island shoreline that he finally raised those flukes in the air! Next he swam along the shoreline all the way around to the southeast end of the island where he finally raised his tail flukes a second time, taking everybody by surprise. Around the corner of Hat Capt. Scott had him lined up with Mount Baker in the background! Eventually we had to say goodbye to our old buddy, and head back toward the dock. Naturalist Bart Rulon