New Female Elephant Seal

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 10 knots E
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Sky: clear

Mt Baker & Gulls

Ecological

  • There was a new female elephant seal in front of the house this morning. She appears to be too small to be pregnant. Perhaps she already birthed a pup elsewhere and departed, or maybe she is too young to give birth yet.
  • The other four elephant seals remained over by the path all day.
  • Chuckles, mum and pup still on Middle Rock.
  • Spotted about 12 harbour seals on South Rock/swimming nearby.

Maintenance

  • Continued stacking the newly prepared firewood under shelter so it can dry.
  • Picked up plastic and styrofoam from the ramp/jetty area.
  • Vacuumed up hundreds of fruit flies in the basement near the composting toilet. I think from now on this will be a daily chore, rather than a maintenance action worthy of note.

Boats

  • The HMCS Ottawa was out again most of the day.
  • Made the appropriate inquiries into yesterday’s pleasure craft fishing and eco-tour boat observations.

Other

  • There seemed to be some mild DND blasting around noon.

 

 

Weaner deceased

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 12-17 knots E
  • Water: 1’ chop
  • Sky: clear
  • Beautiful day. Mt. Baker was clearly visible.

Ecological

  • When I got up in the morning, I discovered that the weaner elephant seal was dead. His head had been crushed in during the night by several bites. Chunk had blood stains around his mouth, while both the females had blood stains along their bodies. All 4 living elephant seals were across the path from the dead weaner.
  • Chuckles was with the mum and pup on Middle Rock, who still appear to be doing well.
  • In the afternoon Chunk went over to the dead weaner and rolled him over onto his back.
  • Saw a sea lion with the number “2” branded onto its back. The remainder of the sea lion was underneath a pile of the great beasts, so I could not see the full branding number.
  • There appeared to be half as many cormorants today as there were yesterday, but a similar amount of seagulls.

Maintenance

  • Cleared logs off the ramp once.
  • Cleaned bird droppings off the solar panels.
  • Reorganized the dry firewood and started storing the new firewood prepared by Alex.
  • Vacuumed up hundreds of fruit flies in the basement near the composting toilet.

Boats

  • One pleasure craft containing 4 people who were recreational fishing appeared to be just inside the boundary of the rock fish conservation area.
  • Two eco-tour boats came by this afternoon. The first one seemed to go too close to the islands, at one point a mere stones throw away from the dock. The second one also looked rather close at times.
  • Two navy ships were out and about near William Head. HMCS Whitehorse (705) and HMCS Ottawa (341).

Marine Mammals Hauled out on Race Rocks Jan 2014-Feb 2016

 

This graph represents the 6 marine mammal species which haul out on Great Race Rocks in the Race Rocks Ecological reserve.  providing the population numbers and the time of year  CLICK to enlarge. The data was obtained from the Posts on census done by the Ecoguardians at Race Rocks.mammalcraph

The graph below represents the Elephant seal population at Race Rocks Ecological reserve with data taken from the Ecoguardian logs for January 2014 to January 2016. Click to enlarge.

elephantseal2014-2015

First Official Day On The Job

After training last weekend, and a general review yesterday, I, Riley Strother, have now taken over as Ecoguardian from Alex Fletcher.

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots NE
  • Water: 1’ chop
  • Sky: overcast

Ecological

  • The first female elephant seal to give birth left the island at 7:30 in the morning and did not return. As such the first pup has now become a weaner.
  • Chunk appeared to mate with the female who lost her pup.
  • The newest pup is quite vocal and seems to be doing well. Chunk and the other female went along the path after mating to inspect the new mother and pup.
  • Alex was able to identify the number on the yellow flipper tag attached to the newest mother: 5928
  • There was quite a disturbance of seagulls and cormorants today when a raven with a small fish in its beak was chased all around the island by two eagles. Eventually the raven managed to land and eat the fish.
  • Conducted a census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 88
  2. Northern/Stellar Sea Lions: 53 (many sea lions were swimming in the waves and thus impossible to count)
  3. Elephant Seals: 8 (Chunk, weaner, grieving mother, new mum and pup, Middle Rock: Chuckles, mum and pup.)
  4. River Otter: 1
  5. Cormorants: 615
  6. Seagulls: 512
  7. Bald Eagles: 9 (7 juvenile, 2 adults)
  8. Raven: 1
  9. Crow: 1
  10. Oyster Catchers: 6
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 4
  12. Canada Geese: 6
  13. Black Turnstones: 29

Maintenance

  • Cleared logs off the ramp two times.
  • Lowered the boat trailer because the cable coil was quite criss crossed. Managed to recoil the cable in a more orderly fashion.
  • Vacuumed up hundreds of fruit flies in the basement near the composting toilet.

Boats

  • Alex and Virginie left in the morning.
  • Surprised to see no eco-tourism boats about on such a nice Sunday.

4th e-seal pup this season

Ecological

  • The female elephant seal that hauled out yesterday onto Great Race gave birth overnight on the lawn between the science centre and the desalinator bunker.  The pup looks big and healthy.  Several birds have been sneaking in to snack on the placenta and umbilical cord.  Also the amniotic sac was visible on the lawn nearby.  The mother has what appears to be a pale green flipper tag with very worn out ID numbers. ( greenish- tag # 5928)
  • Chunk was more interested in mating than in checking out the new pup.
  • A west wind picked up over the day up to 40 knots in the evening gusting close to 50 knots with heavy raiin.

Maintenance

  • Month end reporting
  • Cleaning, packing, tidying for shift end.

pup deceased

Ecological

  • In the morning on Feb 3rd the second pup that had been born on Great Race (on Jan 27) was motionless.  The pup had previously seemed a bit weak and slow compared to others, since mating began there has been a lot more commotion in the area and the pup was often unable to get out of the way.  It is likely that it was either crushed or suffocated under the weight of the adult elephant seals.  The mother stayed close to the body and was pushing and prodding it with her nose throughout the day.
  • A third female e-seal was hauled out onto Great Race in the morning yesterday.  While not as large as the others were before giving birth she is behaving like the other pregnant females.

Vessels: I returned in the afternoon, there was one eco tour after I got back.

Maintenance:

  • Brought the whaler in on Tuesday, Feb 2nd and sent it to a mechanic to work on electrical problems.  There was a problem with the grounding connection and a few of the wiring connections (GPS, vhf and nav lights have been failing) which have been fixed.
  • picked up some “U” bolts from Slegg for a camera mount attachment
  • started month-end records and reporting.

January Seawater

Date Time Sea Jar Hydro- meter     No. Observed Density YSI Salinity YSI Temp °C
Temp. Temp.
°C °C
1 8:50         32.2 8.3
2 9:30         32.2 8.2
3 9:26         32.1 8.2
4 9:47         31.9 8.1
5 10:06         31.9 8.0
6 9:05         32.0 8.2
7 9:30         32.0 8.2
8 10:06         32.2 8.3
9 11:45         32.1 8.4
10 13:10         32.4 8.4
11 13:00         32.4 8.3
12 13:30         32.5 8.6
13 14:30         32.5 8.5
14 15:40         32.7 8.5
15 7:25 8.6 8 10,802 248 32.9 8.5
16 8:00         32.7 8.5
17 8:30         32.6 8.6
18 9:15         32.5 8.5
19 10:10         32.4 8.5
20 9:24         32.3 8.4
21 11:15         32.1 8.6
22 11:30         32.3 8.7
23 13:00         32.3 8.6
24 13:00         32.4 8.6
25 13:15         32.4 8.6
26 14:25         32.4 8.6
27 15:00         32.3 8.5
28 16:00         32.2 8.7
29 8:00         32.2 8.7
30 9:10 8.6 8.5   237 32.4 8.5
31 9:00         32.1 8.5

Orcas, Penis, Helicopter

Ecological

  • Elephant seals: Chunk has appeared to be trying to mate since before the pups were born but today it was the first time I have observed successful copulation with the mother of first pup.  In the photos he seemed keen to go again but she didn’t seem very interested.
  • Orcas: what appeared to be a family of 4 orcas passed through race passage in the morning heading East.  A “Whale Research” vessel can be seen in the photo following them.
  • Fishing: several sports fishing boats with buoys were around the reserve today,  a sure sign that the halibut fishery has reopened for the season.

Other:

  • took measurements for camera mounting housing and hardware
  • Coast Guard Helicopter pilot Captain David Ferguson paid a visit to Race Rocks with 2 crew to do routine maintenance on the light and fog signal.  They came in one of the Coast Guard’s new, shiny Bell 429 machines, which apparently cost about 8.3 Million dollars apiece.

battery maintenance

Ecological:

  • wind south 10-15 becoming south west 15-20
  • Chuckles came back onto the main island overnight, Chunk keeps him away from the females and pups.

Vessels: 4 eco tour. One appeared to be getting too close to sealions on the South rocks and harbour seals on West rock.  We went off island for a couple hours and returned in the afternoon.

Maintenance:

  • topped up deionized water in battery bank, cleaned batteries and started applying anti-oxidation compound.
  • ongoing training of new guardian on island systems and procedures.