Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mary and Susan's whale and bird watching trip around the San Juan Islands in Washington State, June 30th.

We boarded a boat at Anacortes about 1 1/2 hours north of Seattle. We spent 5 hours around the islands searching for whales and birds. We saw the Orca Whale, which I have pictures of below. We also saw the Minke whales and harbor dolphins. In addition to the birds pictured, we also saw the Pelagic Cormorant, Common Murre, Heermann's Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Great Blue Heron, Black Oystercatcher, and Bald Eagle. I am sure I have forgotten some...I don't have my list at hand. All but the heron, eagle, and Double-crested Cormorant were Life Birds for us. It was a marvelous trip. I took many pictures, but these are not mine. These were taken by Bart Rulon, who was a naturalist on the boat and his camera lens was about as long as my arm. His pictures are way better than mine!

Orca Whale "Spy Hopping"

Orca breaching the water! They were incredibly fun to watch.

Orca whale again. These whales have distinct markings, as in the white under the tail. These whales all have names and the naturalist could tell them apart!

Another Orca Whale! There were many to see!

There were several of these rock islands covered with birds. There were mainly Double-crested and Brandt's Cormorants, with a few added gulls.

This is a Pigeon Gillemot. Another bird for the Life List!

Rhinoceros Auklets were everywhere. They are related to the puffin. But the Tufted Puffin in the picture below is the bird that we were searching for. We saw two on this trip.

Near the center of this picture is the Tufted Puffin. Right near the end of our five hour trip through the San Juan Islands, this marvelous bird flew into a group of birds floating by the boat. What a treat!

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