Posted by: The ocean update | April 18, 2015

Orcas spend another busy week fishing off the Long Beach Peninsula (Oregon, Washington, USA)

tracking-map-OrcaKiller whales spend another week in Pacific County waters

April 18th, 2015. LONG BEACH — A mix of the L and J pods of Southern Resident Killer Whales spent another week ranging just offshore between Cannon Beach, Ore., and Westport, Wash., with most of that time spent off the Long Beach Peninsula and Cape Disappointment.

Satellite tracking of orca L84 in 2015 has continued far longer than previously possible thanks to its tag remaining in place and batteries keeping their charge. Orcas have often been sighted in the biologically rich waters of the Columbia River plume in earlier years, but without tagging it was impossible to tell whether they were staying here or just briefly passing through.

The pod in which L84 travels was observed this winter with members of K pod, but more recently included part of J pod. All are famously popular residents of Puget Sound for much of each year. A female from L pod gave birth to a calf here on the outer coast earlier this year, but there haven’t been public reports of recent sightings of this calf.

NOAA Fisheries West Coast—Science & Management has been issuing updates on outer coast orca tracking every few days, usually delayed by two or three days after observations. This report and accompanying map date from April 16 at 3:15 p.m.·

“14 April update – The whales have continued to spend time off the southwest Washington coast over the past several days. As of the morning of the last update (10 April) the whales were just north of the entrance to Willapa Bay, heading south. They continued south and by the morning of the 11th were off the Columbia River. On the morning of the 12th, they were just south of the Columbia River, but heading north. The morning of the 13th found them between Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay and on the morning of the 14th they were off the middle of the Long Beach Peninsula heading south, approaching the area near the Columbia River by that evening.”

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