Long term record for harbour seal at Race Rocks

Pam Birley sent this picture today that she took with the remote camera of Six-spot, a harbour seal she has photographed over a several year period. see previous post at http://www.racerocks.ca/6-spot-the-harbour-seal-observed-at-rr-since-2008/

All kinds of weather today


  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind: 20-25 SW in the early morning came down to nothing around noon and then picked up to 25 in the evening
  • Sky: Cloudy, rained a little bit but was also very sunny at times
  • Water: waves in the morning and then calm waters and then back up in the evening


  • a few ecotours while the weather was nice this afternoon


  • the 10 elephant seals I counted stayed scattered around the pathways and not just in front of the house

west wind

Weather: N wind in the morning under 10 knots becoming West wind at noon over 40 knots.

Ecological: Sent update report on injured elephant seal, she has become less responsive. Follow up communications about e-seal and possibility of intervention by VanAqua MMR.

Maintenance: starting to clean and pack in preparation for end of shift.


Gale Warning


At 5:00AM Wind:17 knots from West ,Visibility:8 to 10 miles,Sea:choppy. At 6:30 no wind and foggy :Horn on.Wind getting Southwest and raising later.Gale warning in effect for the night.Air temperature at 5:00:12.5 degrees celsius.and 9.5 at dew point.From 6:30 to 1:00 the horn has been honking despite the 18 knots wind.All the sudan it was pretty foggy on one West/North side but totally clear on the South side of the rocks and just the time to spot a humpback whale fishing around the green boyd:beautiful scenery.a little too far for good pictures.In the beginning of the afternoon we could observe some large patches of fog but later the wind picked up to 30 knots and no fog anymore for the day.


When we had finished with the solar panel cleaning I went around looking for the nest Riley was speaking about,the one we couldn’t find with James the other day .Finally I found it with 2 eggs in it an by the way I discovered a  hatching goose and the male close by.She was amazingly hidden and protected by 2 rocks and hard to see…so that means that we have 5 geese instead of 3 and maybe more pretty soon. Guy saw on South Rocks 5 huge Steeler sea lions and one had the word ROB on its left side.No time to get pictures ,they jumped hastily.

Did you have a look on the oystercatcher nest? beautiful especially by night !

I realized that I have seen no pelagic cormorants this year.  12 elephant seals in the morning on main ;none on the other Rocks.We will do the census as soon as the weather will be good enough.


7 to 10 eco-tour boats and the first one not before 11AM. Around 18:00 a big US coast guard vessel at the border line.


We restart the new camera connection.

Guy finished to repaired the starboard corner of the whaler :water infiltrations in the hule in that spot.

I brought to date the freezer. Windows need attention as soon as possible !





Human Impact on Sealions: Fishing Flashers, Entanglement, Boat strikes

In this post we have put together many of our references to the impacts that humans have inflicted on our California and Steller or northern sea lion population which hauls out at Race Rocks.  It includes images of fishing flashers and entanglement in commercial fishing gear, especially plastic net-binding hoops, as well as examples of strikes by boats which have injured sealions, often resulting in limb amputations. It is our hope that the fisher community can be more aware of how harmful their actions or negligence can be on marine mammal populations.  


We see this event all too often at Race Rocks. Fishers must take responsibility for removing fishing gear from the water when marine mammals are nearby. Not only is it expensive to loose equipment, the impact on these sea lions is uncertain. If the animal succeeds in breaking the leader for the flasher, then the animal only has to contend with the hook down in the stomach. It is not known how this effects sea lion mortality.


Dec. 13 2006


Feb. 2006


Feb. 2006


This Northern sea lion was photographed on August 15, 2007 by Roth Wehrell. UVIc


A flasher on one of the sealions at the docks

Entanglement in Commercial Fishing Plastic bindings on Nets.

This section shows plastic neck rings from commercial fishing nets around the neck of a sea lion.
Please write your Fisheries governing departments to request that all plastic bands used in the fishing industry for binding fish nets by made of biodegradable material.


Neck rings on middle island

Oct26 2015

Oct26 2015


Sept. 9,2009-

This northern (steller’s) sea lion showed up on Middle Rock in February of 2009 . Note the ridge formed by the ring toward the head end. Photo by Ryan  two neck rings and three brands appear in the same photo from the tower. GF

Aug 31, 2009

Aug 31, 2009

Sept. 2, 2009

Sept. 2, 2009- Ryan Murphy photo

Sept. 1999

Sept. 1999 Carol Slater took this picture of a California beside the docks.

These two tags will bring up the other posts on Marine mammal Injuries and Entanglement.

See other photos from the excellent collection of Ryan Murphy on Flickr

See this reference: Entanglement of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in marine debris: Identifying causes and finding solutions

Kimberly L. Raum-Suryana, , , Lauri A. Jemisonb, Kenneth W. Pitcherc
Elsevier: Volume 58, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 1487–1495
Entanglement in marine debris is a contributing factor in Steller sea lion (SSL; Eumetopias jubatus) injury and mortality. We quantified SSL entanglement by debris type, sex and age class, entanglement incidence, and estimated population level effects. Surveys of SSL haul-outs were conducted from 2000–2007 in Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia. We recorded 386 individuals of all age classes as being either entangled in marine debris or having ingested fishing gear. Packing bands were the most common neck entangling material (54%), followed by rubber bands (30%), net (7%), rope (7%), and monofilament line (2%). Ingested fishing gear included salmon fishery flashers (lures: 80%), longline gear (12%), hook and line (4%), spinners/spoons (2%), and bait hooks (2%). Entanglement incidence was 0.26% (SD = 0.0064, n = 69 sites). “Lose the Loop!” Simple procedures such as cutting entangling loops of synthetic material and eliminating the use of packing bands can prevent entanglements.


As the Northern (Steller) and California sea lions started to return to Race Rocks in the fall of 2009, Ecoguardian Ryan Murphy noticed what may be a significant increase in the number of encounters they have had with humans. Ryan took  these pictures at the time.

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.


Third elephant seal born on Middle Rocks

Alex noted in his last log that he had heard another pup out on middle island and was able to see it from the tower. Today we have a clear shot at it from camera 1 . The pup seems quite lively. The unfortunate thing is that every year there has been a pup born out there, the next big storm washes it off, so as far as we know there has never in the past 8 years been a surviving pup from the middle island.  Here’s hoping for no storms for the next few weeks??? not likely..