A Quiet Day (Except for the Explosions)

As predicted, winds were light today, starting in the southwest, then switching to west, 5 – 15 knots. Although it was sunny, there was a real nip in the air first thing. The barometric pressure continued its slow rise today, reaching 1025.5 before steadying. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for more sunshine and a low of 2o C, while and winds to switch to east, 20 – 25 knots.

Several whale watching boats visited the Ecological Reserve today, stopping by South Rocks to see the sea lions and eagles. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water. A few sports fishing boats passed close by and fished outside the Protected Area. There were more explosions from across Race Passage today and it was unusual that they continued after dark.

Images of sea lions sleeping on South Rock before and after an explosion can be seen below. Three branded sea lions were photographed today; two California Sea Lions #U68 (brand on posterior) and #8240 (brand on left side) and one Steller’s Sea Lion #42DY.I remember #8240 from last fall but had not noticed him until today during this shift. There appear to be more sea lions daily.Tomorrow is census day. At dawn this morning, Alex noticed a small seal, possibly a Northern Elephant Seal and a Sea Otter on the ramp.

Forage fish were active at the surface again today; guessing that they are herring are on their way back out to offshore habitat after spawning. The fish attract the fishers and by late morning there were three adults and 12 juvenile Bald Eagles in the Protected Area. They favour sitting in large groups on South and West Rocks but they also use Great Race in a more solitary way. The Canada Geese seem to be staying away and the large number of eagles may be deterring them from feeling comfortable on Great Race.

Harlequins continue to astound and inspire with their gorgeous plumage and amazing diving abilities. All three species of cormorant Pelagic, Brandt’s and Double Crested were busy in the Ecological Reserve today. It appears that they like to forage where there are convergences and upwelling. They dry their feathers, roosting in the wind and sun on the west end of Great Race, Turbine and Middle Rocks.

Chores were routine today.