Last updated: April 17, 2016
Park Wavelengths - Friday, April 1, 2016
Subject: More on Transient Orcas
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers: the orcas may be viewed at the park's Facebook page. T refers to Transient animals. Some orcas are residents who remain in the northwest waters and do not travel further south.
From Dr. Sarah Allen:
I communicated with Dave Ellefrit who studies orcas in PNW (Pacific northwest) and here is what he said about T125A, the male orca sighted at lighthouse.
Up until last Spring, I personally had never encountered the T125's as they are not regular transients in our area. T125A is the son of T125 and, along with his two older probable brothers T127 and T128, is a group of four whales. The group made a couple of appearances to our area in the early 1990's but, to my knowledge, has been absent around here up until 2015. They probably spend more time off the coast or up in northern BC. I could have sworn there was a photo taken of him last spring off Pt. Reyes but that was before I knew who he was (he has grown and got his new large nick after the DFO T ID catalogue came out in 2012) so they may be more regular visitors to your area then was previously believed. The T125's stayed in our area for a couple of weeks in late may/first half of June in 2015. On two of our encounters we had with the T125's, they were hanging out with the T65A's who are very common T's around here. It would not surprise me if they mixed with CA T's while down in your area. I enclosed a couple of photos that shows all four members of the group—they are neat whales! Your email with the video arrived while I was in the middle of writing up this email, so I will look at it today (we have transients around at the moment and may go out on them soon).
T125A & T127 (left) and T128 & T125 (right). Photos taken at Boundary Pass, north of the San Juan Islands, Washington.