Wednesday, June 4, 2008

K & L Pods Return ~ New Calf For K Pod!

Big news from Orca Network: K and L Pod are back! Here is a report from naturalist Megan Young of San Juan Safaris Thank you Megan! You can see more terrific photos by Kelley Balcomb - Bartok and Erin Heydenreich and a short video by Kelley Balcomb - Bartok from the The Center for Whale Research of the whales and the new K-Pod calf on the The Center for Whale Research website.

photo by Kelly Balcomb-Bartok.
This photo was taken under MMPA permit #532-1822.
An exuberant new calf in Kpod lifts his head in a "spyhop"
while playing
several members of it's immediate
family just below the surface.

Welcome back Ks and Ls!!!!!!!!!!! Today was our first superpod of the summer! A superpod is when all three pods join together for socialization and mating. The rain didn't stop us as we headed out to Stuart Island to see Js, Ks, and Ls all traveling together. We saw multiple spy hops and tail slaps as they all grouped together for the first time after a long winter. The animals appeared to be in good spirits and nice and fat.

We even saw a new calf, which appears to belong to K-14, Lea. Newbies are easy to distinguish due to their mottled coloring, wrinkles, and orangeish patches. This little one can't be very old and so we'll call today its birthday - which happens to be our office manager, Pat's, birthday! Happy birthday Pat and new little K baby! Today was not only a treat to see the superpod, we also had a researcher guest on board in Adam U of the Center for Whale Research. He was able to get the inside info on the calf as well as provide us with a fresh outlook on the orcas and the studies involving the orcas. He also shared some of his great photos with us as well as fun whale stories. We do our best to stay 100 yards away at all times, but sometimes the whales choose to come in and say hi. They came in to say hello today right off Turn Point as they surfed through the waves. (Don't worry, our engines were shut down!) We got nice looks at J-42 as she surfed with her mommy right past us with a male from L Pod as well as another J female. Today was a fabulous trip. We saw a superpod, a new calf, multiple Bald Eagles, and all the Speiden fauna. It's hard as a Naturalist to hold some sort of composure when witnessing such a rare and incredible trip. I'll keep you posted on this new K animal and let you know how its doing throughout the summer. If mom is K-14, then this wouldn't be her first calf and hopefully we can keep this youngster around.

Megan Young of San Juan Safaris

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