Monday, October 31, 2016

10-31-16 Group A and Group B - Updated and Thoughts


It is the end of October in 2016.

Whales with a J Pod alpha-numeric designation:
One whale from Group A of J Pod died this year.  Samish J-14
Two whales from J Pod Group B died this year.  Polaris J-28 and her youngest offspring Dipper J-54.
Observed by NOAA researchers in mid-January in Puget Sounda new baby, given the designation by the Center for Whale Research as J-55, was seen between Samish J-14 and her daughter, Hy'Shqa J-37 and on the other side of Samish was Samish's other daughter, Suttles J-40 (Group A).  Anyone one of these three could have been the mother (or not).  But we may never know because the calf was never seen again.  
Those without a J Pod alpha-numeric designation:
One deceased baby that Tsuchi J-31 (Group B) was pushing around. 
She was likely trying to get the baby to breathe.
This was observed by NOAA researchers in mid-January in Puget Sound.  

'Group A' and 'Group B' have changed a lot.  However, there is still that bond within those groups - or there appears to be.

Reflecting back on what has occurred during 2016 through October...
Was it Samish who had that calf, J-55, in January and she never recovered?  But Samish looked healthy and energetic all the way up until she disappeared.

Was there something wrong back in the beginning for Polaris (in December when she had her baby) and that is why only the two family groups of Group B, the J17s and the J22s, stayed in these waters and spent time in unusual places in the early part of the year?  Note: J-17 and J-22 are cousins, so these two families together makes it even more significant (to me anyway).
When J Pod came in and basically stayed, it was early July. 
It was Granny's Group - Group A that came in first.
Next was part of Group B - the J17s and the J22s.
Then the J11s  - Group B - this year showed up with L Pod whales!  
Looking back at what the J11s have done...this year 2016 and last year 2015 they spent time with with Group A...then Tsuchi J-31 part of the J11 family had a calf (assumed) in January 2016 (see above - calf with no alpha-numeric designation).  It always makes me wonder if one had anything to do with the other.

After Samish J-14 went missing this summer Se-Yi-Chn J-45 and his sister Suttles J-40 seemed to travel together and they also were with their older sister Hy'Shqa J-37 and her offspring J-49.  And they were seen with many others.  They will be making adjustments with the loss of their mother.  They belong to Granny's Group - Group A...

There were times Group A and B were together, including the J16s who sometimes go off on their own. They still are maintaining those close affiliations which they have had for a long, long time, and likely always will.

So are Group A and Group B still just that?  Yes, but...  If nothing else it helps you know who to look for and if you don't find them, then you start expanding to the other Group or possibly even to K or L pod...just like the J11s did earlier this year.

See the July 2012 post on this blog for the listing of who was originally in Group A and Group B.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

4-9-16 Who is Where Now


Though it is early in 2016 there was a recent split in J Pod.  
This has only been since March 24th.
How long it will continue remains to be seen.

'Group A' and 'Group B', an easy way to list them instead of listing each individual, have gone through some changes since they began this in 2010.

And now the newest change, though it may be short in duration, is very interesting.
There is no answer as to why, only speculation.

All of J Pod has been seen together in 2016.
They have passed through these local waters several times but have not stayed long, which is considered normal for the early part of the year. (See blog posts on Whale of A Purpose details of encounters, etc.)

Last fall all J Pod was mixed.  Whereas they had traveled most often as the two groups, even when traveling together, that had changed.

In December, another calf was added to J Pod, J-54, belonging to Group B.

The J11s, of Group B, were seen traveling closer with Granny J-2 and Onyx L-87, which seemed unusual.  This was noted more than once.

Now in March 2016, the J17s and J22s remained in the inland waters while the rest of J Pod, including the J11s, left and headed west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As of this post, today is the 17th day the J17 and J22 family groups have been the only J Pod whales known to be in the inland waters. The remaining members of Group B and all of Group A have not been seen again...yet.

So is there still a Group A and a Group B?

We'll have to wait and see. 

See the July 2012 post on this blog for the listing of who was originally in Group A and Group B.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

11-1-15 How They Traveled Most of 2015

As of late October 2015

Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, and the J14s were consistent. However, that included the K14 family group who traveled with them almost consistently into October.

The J19s
Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41 and now she had her first offspring, J-51.
They did some switching between Group A and Group B whales.
It seemed that Notch, J-47, of Group B liked being with little guy J-51.
The first time both Group A and B whales were in the same general vicinity when these two were seen together.
The second time (that I saw) J-51 (group A) and J-47 (Group B) were playing as little kids will do. Their mothers were nearby.  All four were at the back of Group A and toward the front of Group B. That day J-47 and his mother went with Group A.  That is the first time I am aware of the J17 family group (Group B) splitting (J-35 and J-47 belong to the J17s). And they stayed with Group A.

After that the J19s switched back and forth between Group A and Group B throughout the season.

The J16s
The family with two new offspring - J-50 and J-52 - were, as usual, independent and on every encounter one had to see if the J16s were present.  Sometimes they were miles from the rest of J pod.  And the next sighting they might be with J pod.

For the most part Group B traveled together.  However the J22s sometimes split off and spent time with some L pod whales. 

By October J Pod was traveling as a full pod, plus Onyx L-87.

Now with 4 new offspring in J pod (and 2 in L pod) I sometimes wonder if the kids are 'in charge'.  Don't we humans try to keep the kids happy and want to give them time to play with other youngsters.  I wonder if the orcas do that too.  It sure looked like it during far.  November 1, 2105

I'm guessing that with offspring in three different family groups in J pod:
J16s - 2 babies
J17s - 1 baby - 10-24-15 first seen (belongs to J-47's family)

J19s - 1 baby
...there may just be lots of play dates in the future and Groups A and B might be all mixed up!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1-21-15 How They Traveled In 2014

During 2014:
Group A and Group B were still just that.  
However, in 2014 they mixed it up a bit.

A sample:

Group A and the J22s
    Everyone else was out

Group A and the K14s
    Group B was out

Group A Minus, the J22s, and the L12s
    Everyone else was out

Group A Minus up in the Strait of Georgia
    J16s down by Whidbey Island
        Group B was out

Late in the year all of J Pod traveled together.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1-22-14 A & B - Is It a Thing of the Past?

January 22, 2014
Group A   Group B   and of course Onyx L-87
Is it a 'thing of the past'?

It may be, but we'll have to wait and see.

What I find most interesting is that this past season with such a lack of salmon, instead of 'let's split up for a better chance of finding food' they were together more than they were split....and of course they just weren't here.

Looking back to 2010, which was a hugely abundant salmon year, the whales had split for most of the season.

Was it all social?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Have Group A and Group B Traveled in 2013?

In the beginning of 2013 Group A and B were split.  The J16s were seem with Group B on every encounter in January, making them Group B+ for the sightings in January, 2013.

As the year moved on Group A and Group B traveled together the majority of the season.  In fact there seemed to be more mixing of the Groups when observing J pod, especially during the last part of the season.
Group A and Group B whales may have ended their split...time will tell. 

There were other unusual splits throughout 2013, that included some K pod whales as well, but nothing that would lend itself to attaching a 'shortcut' name to them.