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

Harlequin Ducks are Back

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  15-25 NE in the morning 5-10 NW in the afternoon
  • Sky: partly cloudy throughout the day
  • Water: choppy, about 1 metre waves

Boats/Visitors

  • Had some ecotours cruise by

Ecological

  • Saw the Harlequin ducks for the first time in months
  • still plenty of sea lions but less everyday
  • haven’t spotted an elephant seal today but I’m sure they are around

Census October 26th

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  0-15 SE
  • Sky: clear most of the day
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had plenty of ecotours cruising by

Ecological

  • Not as many sea lions today, they might have peaked by now but last year they didn’t start leaving until mid november
  • there were a couple injured sea lions plus a dead one
  • only saw one elephant seal today but I’m sure the others are around
  • So many stellars, mostly on the outer rocks
  • there was also an eagle
  • haven’t seen the otter or any oyster catchers
  • also saw a few humpbacks out there (not included in census)

Notes

  • plenty of solar input today

Census

  • Stellar Sea Lions – 235
  • California Sea Lions – 421
  • Harbour Seals – 18
  • Elephant Seals – 1(seen) I’m sure there are at least 3 or 4 more around
  • Gulls (unspecified) – 456
  • Cormorants – 713
  • Black Turnstones – 22
  • Geese – 8
  • Eagle – 1

Census Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  0-10 NE
  • Sky: Overcast
  • Water: calm, sort of, there was a bit of a swell out there

Boats/Visitors

  • Kyle dropped off a food order and helped with some facility work other than that there were the usual ecotours

Ecological

  • More sea lions than last week
  • Same 5 elephant seals
  • a lot of birds, gulls, turnstones, oystercatchers, geese, cormorants and an eagle
  • Still not sure if the sea otter is out there, he is very hard to see from here

Notes

  • DnD was blasting today
  • The new generator is working great, just need more fuel

Census

  • California Sea Lions – 512
  • Stellar Sea Lions – 141
  • Unspecified Gulls – 620
  • Cormorants – 228
  • Black Turnstones – 26
  • Oystercatchers – 22
  • Geese – 16
  • Eagle – 1
  • Harbour Seals – 30
  • Elephant Seals – 5

Census day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  0-10 W
  • Sky: cloudy throughout the day and a but of a drizzle this morning
  • Water: calm, but the current was running pretty good

Boats/Visitors

  • The new generator was set up today so we had a few people to come in and set that up which is great

Ecological

  • even more sea lions this time, of both stellars and californias
  • also 2 more elephant seal showed up this morning, both female

Notes

  • tried to set up the electric fence again by the generator room but the sea lions tear back it down in minutes
  • Saw the sea lions today that was darted a couple weeks ago and he is still healing (pictures in gallery)
  • And the sea lion that currently has a band around its neck is still around
  • There was a stellar that I thought might have something around his neck but it was just a gash, possibly from other sea lion?

Census

  • Stellar Sea Lions – 62
  • California Sea Lions – 456
  • Elephant Seals – 5 (all female)
  • Harbour Seals – 128
  • Gulls (unspecified) – 524
  • Cormorants – 367
  • Black turnstones – 32
  • Sparrows – 43
  • Oyster Catchers – 6
  • Sea Otter ( I can’t sea it very well but I’m sure it was around ) – 1

Census Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  10-20 NE
  • Sky: clear all day
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had some visitors come by from Eagle Wing Tours

Ecological

  • The 3 female elephant seals are still here
  • Spotted some California Gulls today too

Notes

  • There was another sea lion with a band stuck around his neck, will alert DFO so they can come out here and help out the sea lion, the last pictures are of this sea lion
  • It was pointed out to me that I have not been including the sea otter in my census, I admit I have a hard time spotting him from here so I often forget about him

Census

  • stellar sea lions – 42
  • california sea lions – 286
  • gulls – 324
  • oyster catchers – 8
  • black turnstones – 18
  • sparrows – 32
  • harbour seals – 87
  • sea otter – 1

An Elephant Seal

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind:  10-15 SW
  • Sky: cloudy this morning had a bit of fog then cleared up in the afternoon
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had a few ecotours and personal vessels cruise by today

Ecological

  • plenty of stubborn sea lions along with one female elephant seal mixed in with them

Notes

  • It was nice to see an elephant seal around, I walked around taking a few pictures today
  • The sea lions were very stubborn today, I couldn’t fix the fence by the student house because they would charge me whenever I got close

Windy Day

Weather

  • Visibility:15 Miles
  • Wind:  20-30 NW today
  • Sky: cloudy today with bits of sunshine
  • Water: choppy at least a metre at one point

Boats/Visitors

  • Some ecotours braved the ind and came around today

Ecological

  • plenty of sea lions around and a bird I have not identified yet but included photos

Notes

  • Very windy today and even a little bit rain but not as much as we would’ve liked

Census Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles throughout the day
  • Wind:  0-10 NW throughout the day
  • Sky: clear all day
  • Water: calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Mostly just whale watchers and other boats cruising by on this beautiful sunny day

Ecological

  • plenty of sea lions around but not as many as I thought there would be

Notes

  • DnD was blasting again today
  • I finally have a full fresh water tank so hopefully it rains soon so I can start pressure washing and cleaning the pathways and buildings off
  • Significantly less sea lions I expected I suspect many of them went for swim while I was doing the census because it was a rather hot day today but here are the numbers are I have right now

Census

  • Stellar Sea Lions – 68
  • California Sea Lions – 97
  • Harbour Seals – 72
  • Gulls – 153
  • Cormorants – 73
  • Black Turnstones – 21
  • Sparrows – 24ish, hard to see and fast to fly off

I am Back and the Census

Sorry about my last 10 days being absent but I am back now and here is an updated census.

Weather

  • Visibility: Pretty clear 15 Miles throughout today
  • Wind:  0-5 SW with small range all day
  • Sky: Sunny all day
  • Water: pretty flat but the current is very visible and moving

Boats/Visitors

  • I came in today and so did a few students to have a look around, we also had an engineer to come look at the new generator

Ecological

  • quite a bit of sea lions, I don’t see the elephant seal sticking around anymore and I have not seen any oyster catchers today. Also the sea otter in the north kelp patch is back

Census

  • Stellar Sea Lions: 142
  • California Sea Lions: 186
  • Elephant Seals: 0
  • Harbour Seals: 28
  • Unspecified Gulls: 153
  • Pigeon Guillemots: 0
  • Cormorants: 18
  • Canada Geese: 12
  • Oystercatchers: 0
  • Black Turnstones: 48