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Orcas spotted near Seattle

The dorsal fin of one orca whale is seen as another swims behind in Puget Sound at sunset Monday as seen from West Seattle. (Associated Press)
The dorsal fin of one orca whale is seen as another swims behind in Puget Sound at sunset Monday as seen from West Seattle. (Associated Press)

SEATTLE – More than a dozen killer whales swimming past West Seattle gave residents a spectacular sight Monday as the sun set.

Howard Garrett of the Orca Network said six identified from photos represent all three Puget Sound pods – J, K and L. He said this is the farthest south the orcas have been seen this year, and it may indicate a typical fall shift.

The orcas spent May-September around the San Juan Islands, apparently feeding off Fraser River chinook. Garrett said this time of year they follow chum salmon south into Puget Sound.

The Greenbank-based Orca Network received hundreds of photos from Monday’s sightings.

The southern resident orcas are listed as an endangered species, and the Center for Whale Research estimates a population of 85 in three pods.



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