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25 September 2007 @ 07:12 pm
Monterey... again  
I had the opportunity to get back to Monterey over the weekend and this time it was out to sea to in the hope to watch some whales. It was supposed to rain that day and for once the weather guys got it right and it rained all the way during the drive from San Jose to Monterey and it rained when got on to the boat. The sky was gray and the waters seemed not all that still unlike last time. So, we traveled for more than an hour into the ocean, some fourteen miles from land and still there was no signs of those elusive mammals. And then we caught the distinctive sight of presence of whales - gulls and other sea birds hovering around close to the surface waiting to pick leftovers of a successful whale hunt. An association of Humpbacked Whales. Three of them.

It wasn't as spectacular as the last time when the whales put on a show, but seeing and hearing them again in the wild was exciting. However, we did see another type of whales after a while...

A Humpbacked Whale. This is the sight that is most often seen when the whale are going off for a feeding dive.

A Sooty Shearwater flies close to the water surface. This is a pelagic bird which is not often seen near the shore - which usually means we were quite some distance from land.

A Red-necked Phalarope. Another usually pelagic bird.

A Brown Pelican was out in the sea as well.

And this was what we saw after the whales - Killer Whales! The world's largest dolphins!

They were a pod of about five transient Killer Whales. To know what transient means, take a look at the wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orca

That huge dorsal fin belongs to the male in the pod. They were after some sea lions perhaps.

More closer to the bay, this fishing boat seemed to be attracting hundreds of birds.

Towards the end of the trip, we managed to catch a glimpse of a pair of Russo's Dolphins.

mamtanaidumamtanaidu on September 25th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
kejnkejn on September 26th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
ooh, you got the fin AND a whale breathing in the same picture!
Yathinyathin on September 26th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
It is perhaps two different whales because when they put their fins out like that they are beginning the dive and that means they need all the air they can carry with them. I guess you folks must be getting quite a bit of whales near the arctic?
kejnkejn on September 26th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
definitely two different whales in your pic.
if a whale finds its way into the baltic sea it's "breaking news" and when it happens it's usually one of the smaller species. there are dolphins here but even they aren't very common around the swedish coasts. the largest common marine mammals we have here are seals. along the coast of norway though (the north sea) whales are more common.
IdahoSwedeidahoswede on September 26th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
What you really need to do now that you are working for awhile in the US is to take a holiday in January/February to Hawaii (the island of Maui is best for this) and then you will really see some whales. They winter there in the protected area between Maui, Hawaii, Molokai and Oahu especially, and I used to see the humpbacks often from my office window.
ashbirder: blueashbirder on September 26th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Great stuff!!! The whales are beautiful and you got some interesting pelagic species too.
Yathinyathin on September 26th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
I saw a Black-footed Albatross too, but missed taking a snap because I was busy trying to save the camera from the rain. :(
(Deleted comment)
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on September 26th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
Also they are not killers;-)
Yathinyathin on September 26th, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
The transient ones are known to be notorious. In fact there is a famous video shot right there in Monterey in which a pod of Killer whales attacks a Gray whale and her calf and kills the young calf and eats just the tongue before wandering away. No one has been to explain that behavior perfectly, but it definitely looked like a killer gang who were up to no good.

I think you can watch that incident in The Blue Planet which usually airs on Discovery.
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on September 26th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
BTW Yathin, that first photo of was a killer photo man;-)
zhenzhizhenzhi on September 26th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)
awesome! when i see whales i always feel elated! :-)
ex_neke on September 26th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
Lovely. :D
Anush Shettyanushsh on September 26th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
ah... the waves and the dolphins.. Lovely saar :-)
depontideponti on September 26th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Wow Yathin. Went to Monterey with you! I enjoyed all the pictures, but the one with all the birds particularly appealed to me for no reason that I can articulate...perhaps because of the way it illustrated the food chain...