A Windy Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-30 knots West all day
  • Sky: mostly clear.
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Saw a Steller sea lion branded 365Y.
  • Saw a California sea lion branded U949
  • I’m pretty sure the high winds were responsible for some of the lower bird counts.
  1. Harbour Seals: 114
  2. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 65
  3. California Sea Lions: 63
  4. Elephant Seals: 11 (8 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 251
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 68
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 22
  8. Canada Geese: 17
  9. Black Turnstones: 16
  10. Surfbirds: 5
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 5 (2 males and 3 females)
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 4
  13. Savannah Sparrows: 4
  14. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)
  15. Crows: 2

Other

  • I spent a good portion of the day ill in bed.

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.

The Return of Otter

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North East, then from 15:00 onwards 15-25 knots West
  • Sky: mostly overcast
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • This morning at about 7:00 I spied the Otter wandering along the wooden deck.
  • Later in the early evening I spied him again and got two photos!
  • Saw one branded California Sea Lion: X[?]60
  • Watched fascinated as two crows boldly flew up to two eagles and scampered about next to them!
  • Saw some seagulls muck about in a goose nest. I think they were eating the eggs.
  1. Harbour Seals: 70
  2. California Sea Lions: 70
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 53
  4. Elephant Seals: 9 (2 on Great Race, 7 on Middle Rock)
  5. River Otter: 1
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 172
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 138
  8. Surfbirds: 88
  9. Cormorants unspecified: 49 (all on Middle Rocks)
  10. Canada Geese: 19
  11. Black Turnstones: 14
  12. Harlequin Ducks: 9 (5 males and 4 females)
  13. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  14. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)
  15. Savannah Sparrow: 2
  16. Crows: 2

Maintenance

  • Lots of intense goose work.
  • Pumped one 55 gallon barrel of diesel into the tidy tank.

Boats

  • A couple of eco-tours came by, as well as pleasure craft.
  • In the late morning, several kayakers entered the reserve.
  • Most of them stayed over by the North Rocks, but a few wandered down to South Rocks.
  • Some of them had difficulty dealing with the strong ebb tidal current, and had to renegotiate their route to rejoin the others.
  • Stay safe out there!

The Seals Touch Down

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots NE, later 0-10 NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • In the morning there were 2 e-seals on Great Race, and 6 on Middle Rock.
  • In the afternoon there were 3 e-seals on Great Race, and 4 on Middle Rock.
  • As far as I am aware, there were only 2 e-seals in the reserve yesterday.
  • Most of the addled eggs in the Canada goose nest near the Students’ House were cracked open and strewn about today around noon.
  • I suspect a crow to be the culprit, having seen one hanging around that nest yesterday.
  • Saw one branded California Sea Lion, but I couldn’t make out all the marks. U89[?]
  • Four young bald eagles were unsuccessfully hunting the seagulls all morning.
  1. Harbour Seals: 92
  2. California Sea Lions: 69
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 43
  4. Elephant Seals: 8 (2 on Great Race, 6 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 352
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 111
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 26
  8. Brandt’s Cormorants: 16
  9. Pelagic Cormorants: 12
  10. Double Crested Cormorant: 7
  11. Surfbirds: 50
  12. Black Turnstones: 30
  13. Canada Geese: 18
  14. Harlequin Ducks: 11 (6 males and 5 females)
  15. Rock Sandpipers: 6
  16. Bald Eagles: 6 (2 adults, 4 immature)
  17. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  18. Savannah Sparrow: 1
  19. Unidentified Hawk: 1
  20. Killdeer: 1
  21. Crow: 1?

Maintenance

  • Transferred diesel from the Students’ House tank into the Tidy Tank.
  • Some goose work.

Windy Day for a Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: a steady 20-25 knots West
  • Sky: mostly sunny
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • The weaner was lounging by the house all day.
  • Discovered my first Canada Goose nests with eggs in them.
  1. Harbour Seals: 143
  2. California Sea Lions: 66
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 42
  4. Elephant Seals: 1 weaner
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 221
  6. Surfbirds: 62
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 27
  8. Double Crested Cormorant: 4
  9. Black Turnstones: 29
  10. Canada Geese: 21
  11. Rock Sandpipers: 11
  12. Harlequin Ducks: 7 (5 males and 2 females)
  13. Bald Eagles: 7 (2 adults, 5 immature)
  14. Black Oystercatchers: 2
  15. Killdeer: 1

Maintenance

  • Ran the desalinator.

Boats

  • At least one eco-tour came by today.

Some Work

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots North, later 15-20 West
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm in the morning, later a 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Two elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • Adult male and the weaner.
  • They both went down to the water by evenfall.

Maintenance

  • Hand pumped more diesel into the day tank.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • Topped up more of the battery bank. Over half finished now!

Boats

  • Only saw one eco-tour.
  • A few fishing boats just outside the reserve.
  • DND zodiac out and about during blasting.

Other

  • Lots of loud DND blasting today.
  • There were blasts at the following times:
  • 10:48, 10:50, 11:10, 11:25, 13:36, 13:38, 13:56, 14:19, 14:34, and 14:51.

A No Weaner Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • The weaner was gone this morning. Hopefully he is ok.
  • Normally I only ever see killdeer at night, but today I saw a pair off and on all day!
  1. California Sea Lions: 85
  2. Harbour Seals: 44
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 39
  4. Elephant Seals: 1 male
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 269 (same total two weeks in a row!)
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 241
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 57
  8. Surfbirds: 49
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 32 (16 males and 16 females)
  10. Black Turnstones: 22
  11. Canada Geese: 13
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 9
  13. Bald Eagles: 6 (2 adults, 4 immature)
  14. Killdeer: 2

Boats

  • Kyle stopped by for 1 minute to exchange the extra security camera for a new Wifi access point.
  • There were several fishing boats literally yards outside the Rockfish Conservation Area.
  • A few eco-tours came by.

Maintenance

  • Installed the new Wifi access point in the Students’ House.

Other

  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • Small blasts at the following times:
  • 10:25, 10:27, 10:45, and 12:34.
  • Larger blasts at the following times:
  • 12:32, 12:53, 14:52, 14:54, and 15:11.

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.

Ecoguardian Changeover

Weather

  • Guy et Christine’s 8am weather report.
  • Visibility: 13 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots West
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

03-13 Waves

Ecological

  • The elephant seal weaner was back on the grass between the buildings.
  • One juvenile male spent the day sleeping by the tower.
  • A second young male appeared in the afternoon and pestered the weaner.
  • I was pleased to spy several oystercatchers, a pair of harlequin ducks, two bald eagles, and a raven, amongst the usual seagulls, cormorants, and black turnstones.

03-13 Weaner and male

Maintenance

  • Guy, Christine, and Kyle gave me a tour of the facilities.
  • Various little changes here and there, but overall no massive differences.
  • Unpacked and settled in to the house.

Boats

  • Kyle and Second Nature brought me out around 12:30.
  • They departed at 1:20 with Guy et Christine.
  • 3 eco-tours came by in the afternoon.

03-13 Eco-tour 1 03-13 Eco-tour 2

Visitors

  • Kyle

Other

  • I am excited to be starting my fourth lengthy shift out at Race Rocks.
  • This is Riley Strother signing off and wishing you a goodnight!

Sea Lions, Boats, & Other Stuff

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles (Mt. Baker visible)
  • Wind: 5-10 knots West
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Two California sea lions with neck rings. Poor guys.
  • Two sea lions with brands.
  • California: X168
  • Steller: 678
  • Saw a few California sea lions with head injuries, as well as one Steller.
  1. California Sea Lions: 678
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 533
  3. Harbour Seals: 37
  4. Elephant Seals: 5 on Great Race
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 449
  6. Thayer’s Gulls: 235
  7. Glaucous-winged Gulls: 20
  8. Cormorants unspecified: 357
  9. Brandt’s Cormorants: 10
  10. Pelagic Cormorants: 6
  11. Double Crested Cormorants: 4
  12. Black Turnstones: 20
  13. Canada Geese: 5
  14. Dunlin: 1
  15. Savannah Sparrow: 1
  16. Bald Eagle: 1 adult

Maintenance

  • Ran the saltwater pump into the cistern for 5 and a quarter hours.

Boats

  • A handful of eco-tours came by today. At least 5.
  • One of the boats caused a minor sea lion stampede on the east part of Great Race.
  • My photos only show the tail end of the stampede.
  • Much more happened between the “pre stampede” photo and my end shots.