Plectrophenax nivalis: Snow Bunting –The Race Rocks Taxonomy

Laas Parnell took these pictures of Snow Buntings on November 9, 2017. Pam Birley had been the only one to take pictures of them previously in 2005 and 2007 on the remote cameras at Race Rocks.

This is a very pale Snow Bunting . Snow Buntings are uncommon around Victoria and best seen in late fall-early winter, so any bunting in February is unusual. This is only the fourth Snow Bunting record for the Rocky Point Bird Observatory checklist. The last picture is a poor image through a blurry remote camera 5 housing,but the only one we have so far of a male snow bunting which was taken by Pam in March 2007.
Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Sub-Phylum Vertebrata
Class Aves
Order Passerifomes
Family Emberizidae
Genus Plectrophenax
Species nivalis
Common Name: Snow Bunting
Other Members of the Class Aves at Race Rocks.

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Images of Snow buntings by Laas Parnell–Ecoguardian at Race Rocks

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taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.
Garry Fletcher

Warden’s report Race Rocks September 2017

I was able to get out to Race Rocks Ecological reserve with Guy today and went with former student Joao Luis de Castro and Yan Corriveau. I  wanted to check on what changes have occurred on Great Race Rock Island  since my last visit. Since it was an exceptionally dry summer, the effect on vegetation was evident. The spread of hauled out sealions into parts of the island traditionally not invaded also has left a significant impact on vegetation. It will be important to  follow up on vegetation recovery once the rains start.

This year the sea lions have hauled out and inhabited many parts of the island formerly not used as a haulout . I am concerned that erosion because of obliteration of most of the plants in the area of the First Nations burial cairns could be detrimental to the cairns. It will be inprtant to check on this once the sealions have left again.

The lack of precipitation since May has resulted in a shrinking of the stonecrop that covers the top of the Reservoir. I had never seen it quite this dry before.

 

The sealion haulouts at Race Rocks do not segregate by species as they do in some other parts of the coast. Note the cookie-cutter shark bites on the California Sealion on the right hand picture.

 

Garry Fletcher, Sept 25, 2017

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/

Translator Added

I have added a translator for 8 languages to some of the website pages. If there are other languages that you wish to add, let us know and we will edit the script for the drop-down box below:

Christmas Bird Count-1

We had lined up several people to go out today for the annual Christmas Bird Count, unfortunately the gale warning and the increasing wind from the North East made it impossible to get anyone out . With an impending storm the birds often disappear and such seems to be the case today. The following general pictures showing the few groupings of birds were taken from the tower camera 1  at mid-day. Alex will provide on the ground details later.

Scorpaenichthyes marmoratus: Cabezon–The Race Rocks Taxonomy

Scorpaenichthyes marmoratus

cabezonCabezon are normally benthic or bottom-dwellers, living among rocks and seaweeds in tide pools. Sometimes they live just below the water’s surface among the marine plants. Their coloration allows them to remain well camouflaged. Their habitat is most likely rocky, sandy and muddy bottoms, living in areas with a depth range of 0 to 200 meters. Moreover, young cabezon feed on small crustaceans like amphipods, shrimp, and crabs. The adults feed on crustaceans, marine worms and mollusks, including clams and abalone. They can swallow a whole abalone and later regurgitate the indigestible shell; therefore, their tropic level is that of a secondary carnivore. In addition, the limiting factors that will affect the development and growth of this population in a certain habitat will be the presence of enough light, temperature and the availability of food and living space.

Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Scorpaeniformes
Family Cottidae
Genus Scorpaenichthyes
Species marmoratus
Common Name: Cabezon, Scorpion Fish

The cabezon ( literally big head in Spanish ) is a benthic fish that lives among the kelp holdfasts and rocky areas, usually very close to the bottom. It is often so confident of its camouflage that it will not move when approached by divers. Note the multi colored eye. These fish will lunge at almost anything that moves on the bottom. Dissections of their stomachs reveal amphipods and small crabs, pieces of kelp (and even rocks they have grabbed when foraging for other invertebrates.)

Their maximum length and weight are 99.0 centimeters and 14.0 Kilograms respectively. This organism can be seen in the Eastern Pacific, which covers the areas from Southeastern Alaska to Punta Abrejos, in Central Baja California, Mexico. Race Rocks is located in the centre of this range. In this map we can see the range of this fish.

mapReference The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) BioBot
http://www.elasmodiver.com/BCMarinelife/BCML%20Chordata.htm

 

http://www.racerocks.ca/category/species/class-actinopterygii/
Other Members of the Class Actinopterygii at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.

 

October,2009 : Original text by Diomedes Saldana Greco

Larus glaucescens: Glaucous-winged gull– The Race Rocks taxonomy

gullfeedLarus glaucescens is omnivorous, feeding on carrion, fish, invertebrates, seaweed and food stolen from other birds. One of the main sources of food for Glaucous-winged gull are the softer bodied invertebrates exposed during the low tide time at Race Rocks. It is also typical of their behavior to take their hard shelled food, such as clams, or gastropods and drop them onto rocks to break them open for eating.

This species is the only species of gull that nests on Great Race Rock. From June to September, there could be over 150 nests on the island. The adults also overwinter at Race Rocks, but occasionally disappear from the islands for a few weeks. They start their complicated behaviours aimed at establishing territories and bonding with mates as early as February or March. Their eggs are laid in June and hatching takes place in early July. In the 2002 season, 100 birds fledged successfully, after several years of failed nesting, probably due to fish shortages in the surrounding waters.

In September, the clean looking feathers of the neck and head take on a mottled gray appearance as they undergo an annual moult.


The following pictures were taken by Ecoguardian Christine Ouradou in July of 2016 and appear in logs from that time.

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gulljuvenIn this picture by Evan Ferrari , the young juveniles, capable of flight, still hang around for a daily feeding from their parent

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom :Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum :Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family :Laridae
Genus: Larus
Species :glaucescens
Common Name:  Glaucous-Winged Gull

The Glaucous winged Gull,
In June of 2000, David Mesiha and Satoshi Kimura (PC yr 25) made videos of different aspects of gull behavior while staying on the island. Thus started the archiving of videos for racerocks.com

June 1-16 : Aggression between males is frequent. This takes the form of plucking grass in a standoff and in beak pulling. In this way territories are defined as the nests are being built.

May 1: Breeding in the colony has started and will continue throughout May and June.

This video was taken in early July, 2001, from the north window of the Marine Science centre at Race Rocks. It shows the second day in the life of a sea gull chick. The parents feed the chick a small fish, probably herring or needlefish.
In June, 2016,  Lester Pearson College set up a live camera to follow the development of one of the Glaucous-winged Gull nests with eggs in the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve . Also the camera had infrared night vision.

All entries on this website tagged with Glaucous-winged gull

Other Members of the Class Aves at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.

Original text by Juan Pablo Hoffmaister, PC student Dec. 2001

Ocinebrina lurida : Lurid rock snail–The Race Rocks Taxonomy

snailcol2-1

Ocinebrina lurida : Lurid rock snail. The orange snail on the left is probably Ocenebrina. The others are various litorine snails.

Physical description:
Small,size to 1 1/2 ” (38 mm) solid shell with up to 6 whorls; fine close spiral treads crossing 6-10 axial ribs; Oval aperture with 6-7 teeth or more within outer lip height. Shell height most commonly is up to 40 mm, however usually less, with six to ten large low axial ridges crossed by prominent spiral ridges. Colors range from white, pale yellowish, dark brown, or red. It has a canal well developed, and its aperture is oval.
Classification
Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Gastropoda
Sub class Prosobranchia
Order Neogastropoda
Family Muricidae
Genus Ocinebrina
Species lurida
Common Name: lurid rock snail

Global Distribution

Ranges from Sitka (Alaska) to Punta Santo Tomas
(Baja California). 57° N- 32° N, in the Pacific Ocean.

Habitat
Low intertidal zones, visible amongst the fucus and other algae at low tide.It is common on and under rocks and in crevices, commonly, clinging to rocks.

Feeding
The lurid rock snail is the natural predator of the giant chiton, Cryptochiton stelleris . It has been observed feeding on gumboot chitons, where it uses its radula to cut through the dark outer layers on the dorsal surface of the chiton’s girdle in order to eat the yellow tissue beneath. They feed on a number of prey items, ranging from bivalves to other gastropods
Reproduction
They have separate sexes. Fertilization of the egg occurs in seawater. Eggs cases are attached to water.

Interesting facts
It may be confused with Amphissa, because its shell shows a similar mixture of fine spiral lines and axial ribs. It’s less slender than Amphissa,  its canal is better developed, and its aperture is not at all the shape being oval rather than nearly elliptical. The yellow-brown or orange-brown coloration, and the fact that the axial ribs cross the body whorl, enable one to distinguish it from a small specimen of searlesia. Often confused with larger rock snail, Ocinebrina sclera,

References

http://members.shaw.ca/bcshells/bcframe.html

http://people.www.edu/staff/cowlda/KeyToSpecies/Mollusca/Gastropoda/Prosobranchi/
Order_Neogastropoda/Suborder_Rachiglossa/Family_Muricidae/Ocenebra_lurida.html

Peterson Field Guides Pacific Coast Shells Percy A. Morris Houghton Mifflin Company Boston 2nd edition 1980 Canada

Shells & Shellfish of the Pacific Northwest Rick M. Harbo Harbour Publishing 1997
Other Members of the Phylum Mollusca at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.

 

Transect Peg Locations on Great Race Rocks

Expand this map of Great Race Rocks in order to see the numbered pegs in red around the shoreline. Some of these pegs were intended as intertidal locators, and some as subtidal tethering pegs. The ones with question marks still need to be located to be sure.

Some of the  pegs were established pre-1980 and some were established after 2000.

centrelargeandislepegs
Peg 1: off west side of jetty end- subtidal
Peg 2: off point of bay west of jetty–subtidal
peg 3: further along north side– subtidal
peg 4: off base of cliff– subtidal (proved impractical because of high current)
peg 5: inter and subtidal
peg 5a:later installation- inter and subtidal
peg 5b: later installation-inter and subtidal
peg 6: for tidepool locator and intertidal and subtidal
peg 7: for subtidal minimal use
peg 8: for subtidal not used
peg 9: for subtidal not used
peg 9 : for subtidal not used
peg 10: for subtidal not used
peg 11: subtidal not used as too close to old outfall.
peg 12 inter and subtidal
peg 13: used for annual intertidal algae stratification lab exercise.
peg 14: subtidal- outer extreme North East corner.
peg 14b: inter and subtidal concrete mound with stainless steel hole for peg – inter and subtidal
peg 15: large boat mooring post — used for intertidal lab exercises
peg 15a: inter and subtidal concrete mound with stainless steel hole for peg – inter and subtidal

To be added later: links to webpages with data from these pegs: