Whale Sighting!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots West, later 5 knots South, then 5-10 West
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Shortly before 15:30 as I was counting shorebirds, I heard a loud noise to my right. Glancing over, I was thrilled to see a whale surfacing in the South Channel. I managed to get some photos as it resurfaced farther south-west.
  1. California Sea Lions: 79
  2. Harbour Seals: 69
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 33
  4. Elephant Seals: 3, all on Great Race, 2 young males, 1 weaner
  5. Whale: 1 (I think it was an Orca)
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 269
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 45
  8. Cormorants unspecified: 30
  9. Double Crested Cormorants: 9
  10. Surfbirds: 37
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 27 (15 males and 12 females)
  12. Canada Geese: 24
  13. Black Turnstones: 20
  14. Bald Eagles: 20 (4 adults, 16 immature)
  15. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  16. Rock Sandpipers: 4
  17. Crows: 3

Boats

  • A few eco-tours passed by today.
  • Second Nature came out with food supplies for me.
  • A large navy sailboat passed by north of the reserve.

Visitors

  • Kyle and Jeff came out in Second Nature.

Other

  • One helicopter flew just south of the reserve in the morning.

Change of the time and Elephant pup gone

Weather

Very calm day ,overcast but some sun in the afternoon ,some rain too. A true Spring weather.  South East wind ,3 knots at 8:00 (we have to understand 7:00 of Yesterday usual nightmare for a few days ),Visibility over 13 miles,Atmospheric pressure:102.2KPA.

Vessels

Busier on Sunday :at least 5 boats around :recreational and eco tours vessels.We tried the air pump horn for the too closed one and it was efficient. they left…Made Guy happy!

Overflight

3 times the same helicopter

Ecological

This is really the news of the week : the little elephant seal pup is gone.!We couldn’t believe it and went 3 times around the rocks …We realised at the same time that more geese than the day before were around ! We counted 17  so that means 8 couples and a lonely one  and  for sure many eggs  next month!. The gulls too are everywhere… the nesting season is on. If the solar panels were still clean ,the rocks,roofs and alleys had already some white spots and it has been a lot noisier that even a week ago. The Sea lions with the clear sky Yesterday night were  very loud… Boss was back and 1 juvenile Elephant Seal

Maintenance

We have been busy with the general cleaning of the place . It is our last day.We have to leave this wonderful rock but welcome to Riley !

Census and gale again in the evening

Weather

At 8:00:10 North East wind ,calm and overcast .Rain in the morning and no wind at all around 10AM .The usual calm weather before a storm and  around 6:00PM to 11:00, The wind from West raised steadily from 20 to 40 knots . We noticed that the darkness is coming only after 6H30

Vessel and aeroplans

The morning was really calm so it was easy for me to notice that something was wrong…like a chainsaw running somewhere and looking by the window all around the rock you could see a small grey zodiac, full speed creating a panic all around!!! Finally It headed to Pedder Bay…End of the story. I Coast guard’s helicopter

Census

Eagles :2 but 5 on Sunday

Gulls:320

Steller Sea Lions :22

Californian Sea Lion:60

Elephant Seals:2 juvenile males and 1 pup

Harlequin Duck:21

Cormorants:90

Geese :8 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday!

Pigeons- Guillemots :around 35

Crow:2

Black turnstones:10

Harbour Seals:50

Oystercatchers:8 on Saturday but 18 on Sunday

It is interesting to notice that on Saturday with the coming storm the Island was not as busy as on Sunday where we could see more animals especially birds around.

 

 

 

 

 

Last snow

Weather

When we wake up it was white all around but at 9:00 green again. North West wind ,10 knots,2.8degrees at 8:oo. cloudy to overcast,5miles of visibility,very low tide in the eveningDSC_0056

Ecological

the geese (around 10) are everywhere to be seen ,busy ,noisy and defensive … coupling coming soon…DSC_0035DSC_0115DSC_0111

Maintenance

The soft water tank has been filled again since the Student’s stay.The light level is not big these days,but despites that, we got 25 Amps by hour ..It is very good and this because  all the solars panels are functioning (Since last Summer). We see the difference. We finished to stack the wood in the main house for next Winter and we are getting ready for our coming departure on Monday 13Th

Other

1 Helicopter going towards Sooke. Only 1 watching boat

The pup died

Weather

At 8:00 28 knots from North East. White crest and choppy. Visibility 10 miles.  Temperature :3.8 d. Celsius.It has been windy to the end of the afternoon :35 knots at noon.

Ecological

The pup was still alive around 9AM . He had managed to move just a little bit but later when we came to have a look he was already dead and the birds were already on it.Short life ,actually 1month and 10 days.(This is pretty common and  the mortality is very high with the newborn Northern Elephant seals.) The second one was still sleeping closed to the tower and Chunk was gone. Just the the two pacific other males were there. The geese had been very noisy those last days and it looked like they were preparing for mating. Flowers are everywhere…Spring.

Vessels and plane

We saw 3 watching boats and this was surprising if you consider the wind and sea around Race Rocks yesterday. A plane was above going towards Sooke.Many sail boat around Victoria and we could observe for a long time Amatuana leaving for Spring break.

A surprise: helicopter on the rock

From the 15th to the 17th

Weather

Those last 3 days the weather was calm ,wind from Eastern and an overcast and grey sky with some very light rain.We never had the forecast gail and pouring rain that had been announced.Slowly the air temperature get higher between 6.5 and 9 degrees and the water temperature around 7.

Ecological

Most of the time we counted the same 5 Elephant Seals . they got along pretty well now and could be seen almost every where ,even closed to the tower or in the middle of the rocks. Only the younger spent regularly in the water and I guess went fishing. The 2 pups has been quiet ; one more active than the other (the bigger one ) and the other one who was for a few days away ,never left again. Many geese between 12 and 14 and eagles steady around

Maintenance

The water sampling house is now cleaned, inside too and all around the jetty …We try to get the rocks rid of wood and brought  logs and branches to the crane area to be cut later.The East wind brought so much wood that our work is far from finished

Other

Almost no traffic on the water …just one or two watchers. On friday around 10:30 I decided to go on the the top of the tower mainly for exercise..and as I was half way I heard a big engine..I understood that it was an helicopter but I realized how closed it was . I rushed to the top and discovered the culprit on the launching platform…It was the Coast guards  coming to do their annual check up.  2 engineers verified all the systems : They were supposed to come earlier this week but the weather was not good enough.They stayed 11/2hour and were gone. They explained that first they wanted to land like usual closed to the tower but an elephant seal was on the spot so they had to go around and back and DSC_0048that explained why the noise inside the lighthouse was so strong! It made my day!DSC_0047DSC_0051

Watchers back

Weather

12 knots North East wind at 8:00,Cloudy,Visibility:13miles,Calm day, Air Temperature :6 degrees Celsius.

Ecological

Between 5 and 9 eagles steady on the Rocks. Lovely Harlequin Ducks.

Maintenance

Worked on the old generator . all the parts are now loose; Ready to be hauled out soon.

Other

Helicopter closed and a plane far above.

2 watcher boats in the passage.

Boat shed roof repaired

Weather

Very nice weather 15 to 20 knots East wind . calm day

Ecological

Now every 2 hours  the baby got fed and everything looked fine. the baby was not moving easily  and was crying a lot maybe from frustration or to get attention. It was really nice to see everything from the window .

Maintenance

Kyle came with his wife and helped Guy on the boat shed roof. it badly needed repairs and patches of shingles before the heavy rainy days expected next week.

Marine activity

One whale watcher boats with freezing people ! and a plane above in the afternoon

 

Swell, Sea Lion, Sooth

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots N, later down to 5-10 N
  • Sky: overcast, then a rather sunny afternoon.
  • Water: 1′ waves, 3′ swell on the rocks

Ecological

  • A rather large sea lion encroachment today.
  • I think the powerful swell against the rocks was driving them inland.
  • 5 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • One of them spent the day lying in the mud on the NE part of the island.

e-seal-29-10

Maintenance

  • The sea lion encroachment caused major fence discombobulation.
  • Spent 1 hour resetting the fence.
  • The usual chores as well.

Boats

  • A few eco-tours came by today.

Other

  • A float plane flew over Great Race just after 15:00.

Indian Summer?

Weather 

Fall to stay…I said that a few days ago so it may be an earlier indian Summer! The sea this end of week was flat like never before with no wind . An exception for Saturday which was beautiful with a gust to 30 knots at the end of the afternoon. for Friday a summary:Wind 6 knots at 7:00AM,Visibility beyond 20 miles,South wind,Temperature: 10 deg.celsius, Barometric pressure:102.7KPA clear to cloudy and foggy for a while from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM .For Saturday: 15 knots in the morning ,West wind,calm ,Visibility :30 miles Pressure:102.7KPA, Wind was expected :30 knots in the afternoon and we got it from 7:00 to 8:00PM with a gust at 34 knots.Sunday a mirror the whole day and sunny and clear.

Ecological 

The sea lions are everywhere on the rocks and now we can see more and more beautiful and some huge Steelers.We even saw an entangled Californian : 1rst one this year : very sad!.Geese are back between 5 and 13 depending and some Pelagic Cormorants too. Gulls with young ones are almost all gone .

Census 

Sea Lions:550 to 600(with the swimming ones)

Gulls : 420

Oystercatchers:2

Geese: 13 seen

Eagles :0

Pigeon-guillemots: 0

Elephant-Seals:2 seen this week on Main

Black Turnstones: 40

River Otters:1(seen this week)

Pelagic Cormorants :20( seen this week)

Eagles:0

 

Maintenance

Guy and Kyle finished installing the Seawater pump . Some hoses were still missing and now it works well and easy.

We had an interesting experience coming back with the water bucket for the daily sample. When we went we had to make jump around 40 sea lions on the jetty .They all went but on our way back ,a pretty big one managed to come back and didn’t want to go or move and was aggressive . So we had to wait for a few minutes and finally we throw the bucket and the water and at that point he went! So now we have found the trick : A broom  If you have a broom they are afraid so we take a broom with us,even when we go ashore for when we come back .

Other

Usual plane and watching boats …many fishing vessels closed to the entrance of Pedder Bay and Sooke