LUNGE FEEDING HUMPBACK & ORCA BROTHERS

PORT ANGELES

Highlights

Harbor Seals
Bald Eagles at Ediz Hook
Lunge feeding juvenile Humpback Whale
Breaching  Humpback Whale
T128 & T125A..transient Orcas

    The day was overcast and a few sprinkles fell from the sky but noting could dampen our spirits as we set off from the marina on our wildlife adventure. Harbor Seals were hauled out on the log rafts as we exited the marina extracting what sun they could from the grey skies. Passing the giant tankers we  checked out Ediz Hook and all the sights. More Harbor Seals greeted us at Ediz Hook point along with an adult and an immature Bald Eagle perched on driftwood logs. Rounding the point  numerous small fishing boats were lined up  for opening day of King Salmon fishing and already we could see fish being landed in the boats. A good omen for us.
    We headed northwest and it wasn’ t long before Harbor Porpoise were spotted hunting down herring not far from the Elwha River. As these are extremely shy cetacaens, we left them to their feeding in search of bigger animals. We found a young juvenile Humpback who we have seen a few times before but is a new addition to our area. This youngster kept us amused by lunge feeding showing off his baleen plates and amazing capacity to open his mouth to engulf  his meal. WOW what a sight. Over and over  he lunged, eventually showing us his adorable young flukes so we could  identify him but alas he was not  in our catalog and remains a mystery as of now. Just in case we  were not totally amazed with him , this little guy decided to breach totally out of the water right in front of the boat.Well how could we top that????
    A call came in that Orcas were a little more west of us about an hour away so we  thought we would take the chance on catching up to them. we enjoyed the sights along the coast as a light mist rolled in. When we finally arrived the water had flattened out beautifully and we could see the Orcas dorsal fins from far away. TWO adult male Orcas were traveling west but made a turn to the south traveling as a pair then separating. We had  numerous close surfacings as they  traveled parallel to us. We were able to identify the brothers as  28 year old T128 and his younger  18 year old sibling T125A. They were in a traveling mode with some foraging behavior observed.
    What a truly great day to get a doubleheader with both Humpback and Orcas and be able to spend  time with them as they went about their day. With time growing short, we made our farewells to the brothers and headed back towards home always on the lookout and enjoying all the seabirds on the hunt for fish for their young ones. What an awesome way to start off the Fourth of July weekend!!!!
Naturalist – Lee

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