Saturday, December 9, 2017

Weather

  • Visibility: Very foggy early morning but cleared right up by 8:30am
  • Wind: 11-16 NE throughout the day
  • Sky: sunny with cloudy periods
  • Water: mostly calm, a bit choppy

Boats/Visitors

  • Had about 7 boats cruise by in the last week
  • had a small tour come ashore last saturday morning of pearson college students

Ecological

  • had a young harbour seal that was on the island for a few days but is gone now
  • there are a pair of eagles hanging around for the last week
  • large male elephant seal was here for 6 days and left last night
  • caught a quick glimpse of what looked like a small sea otter running by the jetty yesterday morning

Other

  • had a very large blast go off from Rocky Point that shook the house and startled birds.

Notes

  • enjoyed my first week here at Race Rocks!

Eleven Elephant Seals

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 miles, later 15
  • Wind: 0-5 knots West, later 5-10 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast, mist in the morning and evening
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • The ten elephant seals were joined by an eleventh. He is very big!

Maintenance

  • Did a bunch of goose work.
  • Sprayed 30 second spray on one side of the main house and then pressure washed it. Not very effective against lichen compared to algae.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by.
  • Noticed the HMCS Regina in the mouth of Pedder Bay.

Navy Submarine!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots North East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Borderline fog in the evening.

Ecological

  • The same ten elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • Through the window I saw a small flock of black songbirds perched in the bushes, but they had flown away before I could take a photo.
  • I went outside to try and find them, but by then they were gone.
  • Perhaps they were red-winged blackbirds? That’s the only predominantly black songbird that has previously been recorded in these parts that would fit what I saw.

Maintenance

  • Finished up and submitted the April report.
  • Hand pumped diesel into the day tank.
  • Goose work.

Boats

  • A few eco-tours came by.
  • One boat was fishing in the reserve, but I have seen it before, and I am pretty sure that it is a First Nations boat.
  • What I can only assume was a US Navy submarine with an escort passed through the strait south of Race Rocks shortly before 18:00.

Census and Students

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots South.
  • From 17:00 onwards, 15-20 knots West.
  • Sky: clear and sunny most of the day.
  • From 17:00 onwards, some clouds and rain.
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • One sea lion was branded U958.
  • Colour wise it looks like a Steller, but if you look at the head I think it was a California.
  • Laura and her class found a sculpin (type of fish) head.
  • Four of what I suspect to be Short-billed Dowitchers today. Fun to watch!
  • Didn’t see the killdeer today, which is unusual.
  1. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 66
  2. Harbour Seals: 60
  3. California Sea Lions: 57
  4. Elephant Seals: 13 (4 on Great Race, 9 on Middle Rock)
  5. Pigeon Guillemots:  269
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 154
  7. Surfbirds: 57
  8. Canada Geese: 17
  9. Black Turnstones: 17
  10. Cormorants unspecified: 14
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 9 (5 males and 4 females)
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  13. Savannah Sparrows: 6
  14. Short-billed Dowitchers: 4
  15. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)

Boats

  • A couple of eco-tours came by.
  • Second Nature came out multiple times, delivering 4 groups of students.
  • On her second last return, she had overheating issues, so Kyle had to come out in Haiku for the last trip.

Visitors

  • Kyle, James, Laura, and 26 students came out to Race Rocks today.
  • The students were doing a walk about with Laura, discussing marine biology for their upcoming final exam.
  • James did some work on the Davis Weather station and got most of it working again.

Other

  • Four DND blasts today.
  • 10:05, 10:07, 11:24, and 11:26.

Short-billed Dowitchers?

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots East, later 5-10 NW
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • The same three elephant seals on Great Race.
  • Around 19:00 I came across two unfamiliar looking birds.
  • While they could be Dunlins, they don’t have the appropriate black belly, and so my guess is that they are Short-billed Dowitchers.

Boats

  • A few eco-tours came by today.

Other

  • There were six DND blast today.
  • Two large ones at 11:33 and 11:35.
  • Two medium ones at 12:40 and 12:42.
  • Two small ones at 14:35 and 14:37.

Amazing Sunset

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: rippled
  • Amazing pink/red sunset!

Ecological

  • Just one elephant seal on Great Race today.
  • Three elephant seals on Middle Rock though.

Maintenance

  • Some goose work.
  • Set up and took away barrels for diesel transfer.

Boats

  • A couple of eco-tours came by.
  • Second Nature came out with diesel.

Visitors

  • Kyle and two English volunteers came out with diesel.
  • I gave the two lads a tour while Kyle transferred the diesel.

Other

  • Some DND blasting today.
  • Medium blasts at 11:30, 11:32, and 12:13.
  • Bigger blasts at 14:47 and 14:49.

Crows and Moon

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind at 7:00: 10-15 knots West
  • Wind at 10:00: 10-15 knots North East
  • Wind at 15:00: 5-10 knots South West
  • Wind at 20:00: 20-25 knots West
  • Sky: mostly clear, rain at 15:00
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • A rather large moon appeared in the early evening.

Ecological

  • One adult elephant seal departed, leaving just the one.
  • The weaner returned by the slightly unconventional route: north side of the jetty.
  • A murder of crows.

Maintenance

  • Some goose work.

Boats

  • A few eco-tours came by today.

Other

  • Some DND blasting today.
  • Blasts at 13:37, 13:39, and 14:15.

New Male Elephant Seal

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles, later 15
  • Wind: 10-15 knots NW, later 5-10 NW
  • Sky: raining/overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • This morning two elephant seals arrived on the middle of the island.
  • One was the weaner, and at first I thought the other was the female.
  • But then I realized it was a new young adult male. A yearling or so.
  • They both slept all day, and had no interaction.

Maintenance

  • Some goose work.

Other

  • One DND blast at 15:06.

 

HMCS Vancouver

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots E/NE
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • The weaner returned. I’m not sure how much longer the term “weaner” applies?
  • Initially I thought the weaner was a male, but now I think it is actually a female.
  • There were three adult bald eagles in the reserve today. I just missed getting a photo of all three flying together.
  • I made a little “trip” to the north-west edge of Great Race.

Maintenance

  • Hand pumped some diesel.

Boats

  • Kyle came out in Haiku with some food for me!
  • A large Canadian Navy ship, the HMCS Vancouver, tied up on the navy buoy at the mouth of Pedder Bay.

The First Aggressive Geese

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 miles in the morning, later 15.
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: overcast and some rain
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • Just the weaner on Great Race today.
  • He has a bit of a snotty nose. I suppose he has a cold?
  • I encountered my first pair of aggressive Canada Geese today.
  • Perhaps the nesting has begun?

Boats

  • The Pacific Scout Pilot boat passed through Race Passage today.
  • No eco-tours that I saw.

Other

  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • There were blasts at the following times:
  • 10:38, 11:05, 13:18, 13:20, 15:19, 15:21, and 15:49.
  • The first few blasts really startled the birds, especially the Pigeon Guillemots.
  • There was one final blast at 21:05. That is very unusual..