Visitors and wildlife watchers in Point Reyes got a rare show from a pod of
transient southern resident orcas this weekend in the waters just off the lighthouse.
Point Reyes National Seashore seasonal guide Carlo Arreglo captured these photos of the pod, which had around 20 orcas in it, on Saturday afternoon.
Update, April 30: NOAA biologist Brad Hanson has confirmed that the orcas are southern residents from the K and L pods, visiting from the Pacific Northwest. Biologist Sarah Allen, acting chief of natural resource programs for the National Parks Service’s Pacific West Region, says the orcas were not seen eating mammals but had been spotted in the vicinity of a gray whale mother and calf.
For more on orcas — and the previous appearances of K-pod at Point Reyes — see Orcas of the California Coast: Deciphering the Culture of Killer Whales, the cover story in the January issue of Bay Nature by National Park Service Point Reyes biologist Sarah Allen.
Point Reyes Ranger Anela Marie Ramos has posted more photos from the weekend here.
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For a lesson in food chain dynamics, go ahead and observe a fruiting toyon bush this winter.
Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish