© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Bigg’s Killer whale spyhopping to look at its surroundings during our trip today.
Transient Killer Whales
What an exciting day today! We encountered hunting Bigg’s or Transient Killer whales on both our morning and afternoon trips today.
In the morning, we headed out down south towards Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and found a pod of Transient Killer whales that were making lots of splashes at the surface of the water — a telltale sign of feeding Killer whales. These are marine mammal eating Killer whales and their main prey species include: Harbour seals, Harbour porpoises, California sea lions and Steller sea lions, and other smaller cetaceans. After staying with the hunting Killer whales for a bit, we realized what they were hunting: a Harbour porpoise! They worked together to hunt the ~6 feet long cetacean. We saw the whales spyhop and breach as well.
During our afternoon trip, we found whales even closer to Victoria. We found another pod of Killer whales that was working together to hunt a Harbour seal around the William Head dock. We also saw them spyhopping multiple times as well. When searching for prey, Transient Killer whales are very quiet under water. They do not vocalize in order to prevent alerting their marine mammal preys that can hear them well.
To view more images from today’s trips, click on the following links.