Today’s weather was a mixed bag. Early on there was thick fog, which thinned by dawn and cleared in the early morning. Then for a short time it was glorious and fairly calm with winds westerly up to 15 knots. The westerly wind doubled in the early afternoon and by 4:00 PM it was gusting well over 35 knots in the tower. On radio watch for the afternoon’s activities, I kept a weather eye on Pearson College sailing vessel Amatuana as she was blown across to Victoria in no time flat. Nicely done.
Only one whale watching boat was noted in the Ecological Reserve today and when I finally spotted them, they were pounding out through wind and tide towards Race Passage. Their sound alerted me to their presence.
The Northern Elephant Seals are starting to moult and data collection on basic biological parameters began today including non-invasive, length measurements using the marine railway as a big meter stick.
There were 14 visitors first thing this morning. Courtney, driving Second Nature, brought out one of Laura’s first year, marine science classes. It was an early start for these students but they had breakfast en route and were very efficient on shore. They did a quantitative, community ecology activity on the low tide. They were trying to determine if and how the diversity, abundance and distribution of intertidal macro-biota changed with vertical height. They used water levels to measure vertical height, (an ancient Egyptian leveling technique based on the fact that water will always find its’ own level), transect lines to position sampling and quadrats to focus sampling efforts. These photos of the students, were all taken by Laura Verhegge.
Courtney is a big fan of elephant seals and so she was keen to help with the first elephant seal measurements this morning and assisted in working out a way for one person to measure the elephant seals without disturbing them. As of this afternoon the marine railway is the new ruler and first measurements made of a young male were very close to those made earlier with a laser, measuring device. The laser technique required two people, two long boards, a right angle check and eye safety protocols. The laser technique had potential to bother the animal (if it was awake). The new technique is passive, non-invasive and non-threatening.
I saw a juvenile Bald Eagle attack a goose sitting on her nest today. I had suspected this was going on but good to verify. The eagle might have been successful with back-up, but the gander flew in and together with the goose, drove the eagle off. You can guess who I was cheering for. I know it is not science but there is no hockey out here and I am Canadian, eh.