This is the largest member of the dolphin family. There are three eco-types of orca making up four populations within our waters around Vancouver Island.
The four populations are:
The two inshore fish eating populations, known as the “northern residents” and the “southern residents”.
The mammal eating population known as “transients” or “Biggs killer whales”.
The offshore fish eating population known as “offshores”.
This is one of the most acrobatic dolphin species in the world, capable of leaps of up to 3 metres. Pacific white-sided dolphins are sighted year-round in our area. They are extremely surface active, social and vocal and can be found traveling in groups of 20 to more than 1000.
Dolphins and porpoises belong to different families both are abundant in our area. The most noticeable difference is that porpoises have a more triangular dorsal fin.
The Harbour porpoise is a cryptic animal. It is difficult to study as it only surfaces briefly and has no distinct markings to tell individuals apart.
Of the six porpoise species in the world, the Dall’s porpoise is one of the biggest and certainly the fastest. They are able to travel up to 55 km hour. When travelling fast they appear to hydroplane on the surface and create a distinct v-shaped splash.
This is the second smallest balean cetacean in the world and seeing one is a real treat!
Sightings of humpback whales are becoming increasingly common. It appears that these majestic giants are rediscovering the inland waters of Vancouver Island as a rich food source along their migration route. In fact, it’s a testimony to the resilience of nature that we saw Humpback whales almost every day last year!
The Steller or Northern sea lion is the world’s largest sea lion species. They are in the area in very large numbers in spring and fall. Male Californian sea lions are occasionally sighted in the area.
Northern elephant seals also range into this area occasionally.
Pacific harbour seals are abundant with peak pupping being in mid-July.
The islands of the Broughton and Blackfish Archipelagos are home to large numbers of black bear, river otters, wolves, mink, raccoons and deer. Wolf sightings are rare but sightings of bear, deer, otters and mink are very common. Often, even while traveling we may see bear and deer.
Populations of river otters and mink live within the Cove itself.
Year-round resident species include the bald eagle, Harlequin duck, great blue heron, pigeon guillemot, rhinoceros auklet, red-necked phalarope and black oystercatcher.
Even within picturesque Telegraph Cove itself, the birds delight visitors. The eagles, herons and gulls wait to tease fishermen and profit from their catch. Rufous hummingbirds zoom from feeder to feeder while Steller’s jays squawk and belted kingfishers chatter.
It is in the late summer and fall however, that the bird life becomes truly extraordinary as winter residents return and migrating visitors alight on the Pacific flyway. Sooty shearwaters return in floods; Leach’s and fork-tailed storm-petrels are common, as are surf and white-winged scoters.
Reservations required – book online
or call 1 250 928 3185 toll free: 1 800 665 3066
BC’S 1st whale watching company looks forward to taking you
out into the wild for a remarkable experience!