Drizzle, Fog and Steaming Sea Lions

It was a wet, drizzly, foggy day at Race Rocks but very calm. For most of the morning, the wind varied little from  east northeast at less than 5 knots. It only picked up to 10 – 15 knots as it swung around to north northeast in the evening. The forecast for Thursday is similar and while winds are expected to rise to 25- 35 knots southeast on Friday. Periods of rain, cloud and showers are on the horizon in spite of the barometer rising (overall trend) since late Monday.

It was a quiet day on the vessel observation front and only three whale watching vessels were noted in reserve. One ‘sports’ fishing vessel came through at very low speed, well positioned away from the animals.

There was some cetacean activity noted during the day as visibility increased to over 5 nautical miles. This included two Humpback Whales feeding near Rosedale Reef just outside reserve to the south, a Minke Whale just east of North Rock and Dall’s Porpoise to the southwest.

On Great Race, the Sea Lions were steaming today as air temperature hovered around 12 degrees C. and the cooling rain was evaporated off. Part of their haul-out at this time of year is a physiological need to warm their skin during the moulting process, thus the tidy rows of animals pressed against each other and the piling on top of each other to share their body heat. Some California Sea Lions have taken to rock climbing these last few days. They are well established above the boathouse now and at the base of the cliff under camera 5, so the logical (to them) extension was to move further up and there were three of them up by the helicopter pad today. I suspect that they will really like the heli-pad, if they make it that far.

There were six Northern Elephant Seals hanging out in the water around the jetty today.

Adult Glaucous-winged Gulls and this years young, continue to frequent their nesting territories much to my surprise. I have seen them chase off Thayers Gulls. The “visiting” gulls roost in peripheral areas away from the nest sites. A family of four Canada Geese continue to make the island their home.

Chores were as usual and there were no visitors.