Sightings Report: August 21, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

2pm: 

We found our humpbacks out in the shipping lane, where a mother and calf were feeding together. We saw fluke dives from both and I noted that it was the same pair of whales we had been seeing for the past few days. 

 The whale's blowhole and dorsal fin.

The whale's blowhole and dorsal fin.

The calf floated on its side with one pectoral fin and one of the lobes of its fluke sticking up in the air. 

 The calf floating on its side.

The calf floating on its side.

A large container ship came in the shipping lane while we were observing the whales. A few times the calf came within 100 yards of us while diving. 

 A common murre chick with its father.

A common murre chick with its father.

We had beautiful weather and floated in neutral in 60 feet of water to watch these whales feed. On our way back in we had harbor porpoises and harbor seals. Near Alcatraz we saw a California sea lion with a halibut in its mouth being mobbed by a swarm of western gulls. 

 Brown pelican in flight.

Brown pelican in flight.

5pm:

We headed out to the same spot we had found the whales on the last trip and found a single humpback there. As we were waiting for it to resurface, I spotted a breach on the other side of the shipping lane. We decided to head to that spot. 

 A humpback fluke with an interesting shape.

A humpback fluke with an interesting shape.

Across the shipping lane at least 7 humpbacks were feeding in groups of 2-3. A few calves were present. I noted in particular one group of two adults and one calf feeding together and surfacing in synchrony. 

The whales were feeding in 84 feet of water and many fishing boats were working within one mile of our spot. We saw several more spouts on the horizon, indicating that there were likely at least 10-12 whales in the general area. 

Each of the groups of whales had a huge cloud of birds diving over them. The bird activity was mostly comprised of brown pelicans and western gulls. 

 Birds and spouts.

Birds and spouts.

We saw two lunge feeds, which was very exciting for the birds. One whale with a gnarled fluke turned on its side, showing us one pectoral fin and half of its fluke. 

 Humpback pectoral fin.

Humpback pectoral fin.

As we left the area, I spotted one more breach on the horizon. 

On this trip we also saw California sea lions resting on the shipping lane buoy and some harbor porpoises with their calves. 

 Sea lions rest on the buoy in the shipping lane.

Sea lions rest on the buoy in the shipping lane.

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic and NOAA using the Whale Alert app. 

***If you were on one of these trips and have photos, send them in to info.whalegirl@gmail.com! I'd love to add them to this post for others to enjoy (with credit to you). Thank you!***