|Northern shoveler [Paul Heuber/All About Birds]|
The aptly named Northern Shoveler has a shovel-shaped bill that quickly sets it apart from other dabbling ducks. It is a medium-sized duck that tends to sit with its rear a bit higher out of the water almost like its bill is pulling its front half down. Northern Shovelers often have their heads down in shallow wetlands, busily sweeping their bills side to side, filtering out aquatic invertebrates and seeds from the water. Northern Shovelers forage in shallow wetlands, coastal marshes, rice fields, flooded fields, lakes, and sewage lagoons. They nest along the margins of wetlands or in neighboring grassy areas. (All About Birds)
Orca recovery task force urges partial moratorium on whale watching, study of dam removal
From dam teardowns to a temporary moratorium on whale watching of southern residents by any boat, a governor’s task force on orca recovery released its first round of recommendations Friday. Task-force members said at a news conference at the Seattle Aquarium that bold action is needed to save the critically endangered population of killer whales from extinction. Only 74 southern resident orcas remain. The recommendation will depend on significant new funding from the state Legislature as well as new legislation to take effect, so the wish list is a long way from becoming reality for the whales. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Whale-watch limits, seal kills, other bold steps needed to save orcas, panel tells Inslee (KOMO) And also: Final Orca Recovery Recommendations Include Temporary Whale Watching Ban Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX) And also also: The Orca Task Force finally has a plan. Will it work? Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)
Puget Sound orcas are in town, chasing chum salmon and wowing ferry riders
Southern resident orcas are making waves all over Puget Sound, in a rare extended visit that began Nov. 4 that hasn’t let up yet. The orcas have been traveling the central Puget Sound waters, wowing ferry riders, shore-based whale watchers, and orca fans from Tacoma to Vashon Island to West Sound. About 40 J and K pod whales were cavorting all day long Thursday off the south end of Vashon, near the Tahlequah Ferry dock, the former Asarco Smelter site, and Commencement Bay, making their way back north toward Seattle by day’s end. After spending most of the day scattered in small groups, the pods gathered for a sunset finale, cruising right by Pt. Robinson Park on Maury Island, as islanders stood in astonishment on the beach to watch. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)
Dead newborn orca calf washes up near Vancouver Island
Officials say a dead newborn orca calf washed up on the shores of Nootka Island off Vancouver Island Friday. KCPQ-TV reports Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans is performing a necropsy to determine cause of death and also its ecotype, whether it's a southern resident, transient or other type of orca. Ken Balcomb, founder and principal investigator at the Center for Whale Research, told Q13 News he does not believe the dead newborn is from the endangered southern resident population. (Associated Press)
If you like to watch: Otter dances. Otter poops. Researchers dig in
Three otters gather on a patch of grass on the Green River in Kent. They waddle. They sniff. And then two of them do a poop dance. “We have wonderful footage of what we call the scat dance,” said Michelle Wainstein, a wildlife biologist who studies the poop of otters along the Green and Duwamish Rivers. "They will do a little prancing with their back feet and lift their tail up a bit and do their thing.” John Ryan reports. (KUOW)
A Record-Breaking Dive by a Hungry Killer Whale
Big factory ships arrive from around the world—Britain, Norway, Chile, New Zealand, Spain—in search of the Patagonian toothfish, the most lucrative catch in the storm-tossed southern Atlantic Ocean. Awaiting their arrival off South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are two pesky competitors—killer whales and sperm whales. The opportunistic hunters have learned to steal the fish off the fleet’s longlines, and they’ll go to great depths to do it. Researchers tracked one adult female killer whale to a world-record depth of 1,087 meters. That’s well beyond the previous best for a killer whale of 767 meters, set in 2013 off the Prince Edward Islands in the subantarctic Indian Ocean. “This killer whale just blew that record away,” says Jared Towers, lead author of the new study. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)
Killer whale thriller hits bookstands
“Lost Frequency, A Novel of Sound, Speed, Power and Greed,” by Barry Swanson, features the endangered Southern resident killer whales. Swanson is a marine naturalist, a steward of the environment and a singer and songwriter. He lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest on the Salish Sea... A page-turning philosophical thriller, “Lost Frequency” confronts animal rights, human nature, artificial intelligence and the perils of technology turned loose. (Pendrell Sound Press)
Tsawwassen First Nation hold ceremony for dead humpback whale
Tsawwassen First Nation held a ceremony to honour a dead humpback whale that washed up on shore Friday. The whale, which appears to be juvenile, was towed away by the Coast Guard for a necropsy. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is investigating. It is unclear whether the whale, which washed up not far from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, was hit by a boat, or whether it died from an illness. Andrea Jacobs, executive council for the Tsawwassen First Nation, said about six members gathered on the beach to hold a traditional aboriginal ceremony to honour the young whale’s life. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Increase in heron nests seen at March Point
The 15.5 acres of protected great blue heron habitat on March Point is lush with ferns, moss and tall trees dotted with heron nests. In recent years, the number of nests has increased throughout that area called the March Point Heronry. The heronry is partially owned and partially held in conservation easements by the Skagit Land Trust. Land trust staff said they believe the increase in nests is due to herons moving into March Point as nesting habitat is lost in other areas. An annual nest count the land trust has done at March Point since 2002 has documented as few as 258 nests and as many as 757 — the tally reached this year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
State Sen. Christine Rolfes sees ongoing need to tackle climate change
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Climate change will likely emerge as one of the top five issues facing the Washington Legislature next year, predicts state Sen. Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge Island, a key leader in the state Senate. The issue is not going away, she told me, despite (or perhaps I because of) voter rejection of a billion-dollar climate change initiative on last week’s ballot. “If you are in elective office and you are aware of threats to the climate and the future of the state, there is a moral imperative to do something,” she said, “even though this particular proposal didn’t pass.” Still on the table are a multitude of ideas for clean power, cleaner transportation and greater energy efficiency, she explained as we sat down to coffee on Monday at a Bainbridge Island establishment...."
Pesticides and Orcas: Making the Connection Dec. 4
Lisa Hayward and Clement Furlong of the University of Washington Superfund Research Program (UW SRP) will present the story of a surprise discovery in genomics that suggests marine mammals may be much more vulnerable to organophosphates like chlorpyrifos than previously recognized.Their talk will cover evidence both of orcas' vulnerability and also of their exposure in Puget Sound. Brought to you by The Whale Trail, the program begins at 7 pm at C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW. $5 suggested donation; kids under 12 get in free; Brown Paper Tickets
Shannon Wright Named Executive Director of RE Sources For Sustainable Communities
The Bellingham-based environmental group announced the hiring of Shannon Wright as its executive director this weekend. A 20-plus-year leader in the environmental movement, Shannon previously served as executive director of Communitywise Bellingham and worked to help defeat the coal terminal at Cherry Point.
Finishing touches: Adventuress in final phase of restoration in Port Townsend
Local marine tradespeople are in the process of the final stage of the restoration of Adventuress, the National Historic Landmark schooner based in Port Townsend that will enter her 106th year of service in 2019. The tall ship has undergone a decade-long restoration that cost more than $1.5 million. The Capstone Deck Project is the last piece to be completed. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 254 AM PST Mon Nov 19 2018
TODAY SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 11 seconds.
TONIGHT SE wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.
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