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More Orca Sightings on South Oregon Coast, Seen Roving, Hunting Near Brookings

Published 04/05/23 at 7:12 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

More Orca Sightings on South Oregon Coast, Seen Roving, Hunting Near Brookings

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(Brookings, Oregon) – More eyes on the Oregon coast, and more of them with a purposeful focus, are starting to bring more wonders to light. The Facebook group Oregon Coast Killer Whale Sightings has legions of followers these days and it's created an army of eyeballs watching for killer whales out there with some definite levels of expertise. (Above: photos Brookings Fishing Charters)

There have been some stunning captures and reports of orcas on this coastline thanks to that group, yet the latest remarkable spotting didn't come from them this time.

Tuesday, way down near Brookings, Brookings Fishing Charters passed on to Oregon Coast Beach Connection a sighting right around the Mack Arch area, showing three orcas zipping around the waters there. This was 16 miles north of Brookings.

Photo Brookings Fishing Charters

They also reported seeing lots of whales earlier today, April 5.

The boat was too far away to get much clearer photos, thus Canadian researcher Josh McInnes – who runs the Oregon Coast Killer Whale Sightings group – wasn't able to ID them.

Photo Brookings Fishing Charters

“The group of three killer whales sighted off Brookings, Oregon are likely southern resident orcas,” he said. “They were spotted last week in Monterey Bay, California.”

Southern resident orcas are one of three subsets of resident orcas in the Pacific. These are found along the West Coast but are rarer sightings.

Since this sighting by Brookings Fishing Charters, the U.S. Coast Guard station at Chetco River posted a sighting of them, and another report showed them moving northward, getting closer to Lone Ranch Beach near Gold Beach.

So what are they doing around here?

Photo Brookings Fishing Charters

“Brookings, Oregon has a healthy population of harbor seals and Steller sea lions that are prey for transient killer whales,” he told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

Killer whale season is heating up right on time, it seems. It usually gets going about April and then reaches a fever pitch within a couple months. The first major sighting of them happened last week with a large group of them around Newport that included a baby orca. Cute as a button, that story generated some enormous attention along the West Coast. See First Big Killer Whale Sightings for Oregon Coast Season Spectacular - Includes Baby 

Brookings killer whale encounter

The Rated G version of a pod of killer whales and a sea lion off the coast of Brookings this morning, captured on video by Capt. Michael McGahan aboard the charter boat Kraken near Bird Island and Harris Beach State Park. The sea lion tried to hide under the boat as the killer whales approached. The orcas finally caught up with the sea lion.

Posted by Brookings Fishing Charters on Sunday, May 22, 2022

Video taken last year

Last year about this time, Brookings Fishing Charters snagged some unbelievably cool video of orcas in their area, which included some remarkable spy hops. A spy hop is when a whale pops its upper body above the water as it checks out its surrounding. This makes them looking like they're standing for a second or so. This particular group in February of 2022 was chasing a stellar sea lion, and the video showed the sea lion actually trying to hide under the boat for a time.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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