Orcas Erupt at Point Reyes

April 29, 2014

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.

Orcas in the water off Point Reyes. (Photo by Carlo Arreglo)
Orcas in the water off Point Reyes. (Photo by Carlo Arreglo)

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.

About the Author

Eric Simons is a former digital editor at Bay Nature. He is author of The Secret Lives of Sports Fans and Darwin Slept Here, and is coauthor, with Tessa Hill, of At Every Depth: Our Growing Knowledge of the Changing Oceans.