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.

A Very Nice Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles (Mt. Baker visible)
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: clear and sunny
  • Water: calm
  • A very beautiful day, with a nice sunset
  • A good night for stargazing!

Ecological

  • Conducted the weekly animal census.
  • Saw several branded sea lions today.
  • California sea lions: U690, U105, and 8427 (I think I got those correct)
  • Steller sea lions: 420Y and 347Y (those are definitely correct)
  • Also saw one sea lion with a neck ring, presumable from plastic.
  • No harlequin ducks today.
  • One of the male elephant seals was trying to mate with the female.
  • This seems like an odd time of year for that?
  1. California Sea Lions: 728
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 493
  3. Harbour Seals: 48
  4. Elephant Seals: 5 Great Race (4 males, 1 that I think is a female)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 672
  6. Thayer’s Gulls: 247
  7. Glaucous-winged Gulls: 30
  8. Cormorants unspecified: 329
  9. Double Crested Cormorants: 24
  10. Pelagic Cormorants: 11
  11. Brandt’s Cormorants: 2
  12. Black Turnstones: 19
  13. Canada Geese: 6
  14. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  15. Dunlins: 2
  16. Savannah Sparrows: 2

Maintenance

  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • Tidied up a few odds and ends.
  • The usual chores.

Boats

  • A few eco-tours today.
  • One rental boat came through the middle of the reserve.

Visitors

  • No visitors today.
  • Quite a nice, relaxing day today.
  • The kind of day that makes one appreciate being alone.

Sea Lion Corpse Removal

Well well well, the tool bar on this blog post creator has disappeared. No more bullet points or photos. Maybe it’s just a Hallowe’en prank?

The weather this morning was overcast, with calm seas, a gentle breeze of 5-10 knots East, and a visibility of more than 15 miles. Later on the day was marked with periodic showers and winds gusting up to 30 knots West.

The sea lions continue to do their thing, clambering all over the rocky edges of the island, and generally making a nuisance of themselves around the jetty. They keep ramming into the finicky sliding door to the boathouse. There were five elephant seals on Great Race today.

Kyle and Guy came out in the afternoon to drop off some food supplies and help with the removal of the dead California sea lion. What an appropriate task for Hallowe’en. We hooked him up to a rope on the end of the derrick, and hauled him out to sea. Maybe I should have kept the skull for decoration tonight.

Only a couple of eco-tours today.

Well it’s fully dark outside now. I expect I’ll have my first trick or treaters any moment now. I hope they don’t mind bird poop instead of candy; it’s all I have in abundance out here!

The Dunlin!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots East
  • Sky: overcast with showers
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Saw one California Sea Lion with a nasty looking neck wound.
  • Conducted a census today.
  • Several bird species notably absent today.
  • No Harlequin Ducks, Savannah Sparrows, or Black Oystercatchers.
  • The Sparrows have been absent all week; I suspect gone for the winter.
  • I’m sure the Harlequins and Oystercatchers are still around.
  • Only saw two Heermann’s Gulls; I think last weeks group was just passing through.
  • I did see my first Dunlin of the season though!
  • And lots more Black Turnstones than in previous weeks.
  • They like to splash around in the rain puddles.
  1. California Sea Lions: 606
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 181
  3. Harbour Seals: 12
  4. Elephant Seals: 7 (2 on Great Race, 5 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 586
  6. Thayer’s Gulls: 114
  7. Glaucous-winged Gulls: 76
  8. Heermann’s Gulls: 2
  9. Cormorants unspecified: 356
  10. Black Turnstone: 33
  11. Canada Geese: 3
  12. Bald Eagles: 3 (2 adult, 1 immature)
  13. Dunlin: 1

Maintenance

  • The usual chores.
  • Reset the electric fence which has been faring unusually well.

Boats

  • A surprising number of eco-tours today, given the weather, day of the week, and month.
  • I counted at least 10.

Sea Lion house damage

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots West, later NE
  • Sky: Mix of sun and clouds
  • Water: choppy in the morning, calm later on

 

Ecological

  • The sea lions are far less prevalent on the inner part of the island now.
  • Saw California Sea Lion U105.

Maintenance

  • Somehow the sea lions have managed to break a pipe attached to the students’ house.
  • I’m not sure what kind of wire was in the pipe, but it was ripped out and broken.
  • Whatever it is, it seems to run into the disused basement workshop.

Boats

  • Ogden Point Dive boat had divers down in Middle Channel this morning.
  • Saw a sailboat pass by, as well as a few eco-tours.

The Cackling Goose!

Weather

  • The 7:00 weather report (plus developments).
  • Visibility: 10 miles (later 15)
  • Wind: 0-5 knots South (15-25 knots West noon onwards)
  • Sky: overcast and raining (sun in the afternoon)
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • All the elephant seals except for the smallest guy were off island today.
  • I did see 6 of them playing in the water near the jetty.
  • Improved my seagull identification skills today.
  • This was the first day I noticed many Heermann’s Gulls.
  • Fun to watch the lone cackling goose wander with the larger Canadians.
  • Saw one branded California Sea Lion: U975
  • Saw one California Sea Lion with a plastic neck ring.
  • Conducted an all day animal census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 434
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 219
  3. Harbour Seals: 59
  4. Elephant Seals: 7
  5. Seagulls: 1077 (Tentative 85% Thayer’s, 15% Glaucous-Winged)
  6. Cormorants: 375 (Tentative: 30 Pelagic, 25 Double Crested, 14 Brandt’s.)
  7. Heermann’s Gulls: 50
  8. Black Turnstone: 24
  9. Canada Geese: 11
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 10
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 3 (1 male, 2 female)
  12. Cackling Goose: 1
  13. Savannah Sparrow: 1
  14. Bald Eagle: 1 adult on South Rock

Maintenance

  • Extended my new fence set up.
  • Removed the fence in front of the students’ house.
  • It was never very effective, and is less needed now.
  • Ran the desalinator in the afternoon.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by today.
  • One small boat was observed speeding in the reserve.

Back Online

Saturday evening as the storm was subsiding, the communication lines went dead out here at Race Rocks. After trying all the normal fixes on my side, I was informed via cellphone that the problem lay at Pearson College. The College had lost power from some internal breakdown, and so no internet or phone line was being sent my way over the air. Once things were up and running again this morning, I was able to reestablish connection to the internet and phone lines.

Rather than submitting a log entry for each missed day, I will simply provide a summary of each day’s main events. And pictures as always!

Saturday 15 October 2016-Fierce Storm

  • Day began at 7:00 with winds of 15-20 knots NE.
  • 9:45 30 knots East
  • 13:00 35 knots East
  • 13:30 45 knots East
  • 14:30 50~ knots East!
  • 15:20 45 knots East, communications down.
  • 16:50 communications returned.
  • 17:00 30 knots East
  • Around 18:30 communications down for good.
  • 19:00 15 knots West
  • 20:30 30 knots South-West
  • One month remaining in my shift.

Sunday 16 October 2016-Pelican

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Saw a single brown pelican today!
  • Failed to get a picture though.
  • Branded California sea lion 8465.
  • 8 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • A small group of California sea lions began sleeping on top of the e-seals.
  • To my surprise the elephant seals don’t seem to mind.

Monday 17 October 2016-Peregrine Falcon!

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 5 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • In the early evening a pigeon flew into a window, presumably breaking its neck.
  • Immediately a Peregrine falcon swooped down to inspect its prey.
  • I assume the falcon was the reason the pigeon hit the window at such a speed.
  • The falcon then flew way up into the sky, before returning to make off with the meal.

Tuesday 18 October 2016-Bio-mimicry Visitors (and Alex!)

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0 knots
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm
  • A rainstorm appeared from about 10:00-12:00.
  • A rather sunny afternoon!
  • Kyle came out with Alex Fletcher and a biology group.
  • The 6 visitors were studying bio-mimicry.
  • How can humans improve our technology by copying successful animals?
  • The organization that they are involved with is one of our donors.
  • They were very interested in the sea lions, seals, and birds.
  • 11 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • Saw 3 brown pelicans; this time got a photo!

Delayed Storm

Weather

  • Overnight: 20 knot winds and some rain.
  • The 7:00 weather report.
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 2′ chop
  • Some clear skies at noon.
  • Around 15:30 the wind picked up to 25 knots NE and the rain restarted.
  • About 20:15 the wind shot up to 35-40 knots NE.

Ecological

  • The elephant seals were very active today.
  • There is a dead California sea lion near the derrick shed.
  • Census day.
  • Large decrease in the number of sea lions and seagulls.
  1. California Sea Lion: 294
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lion: 96
  3. Harbour Seal: 28
  4. Elephant Seal: 9 (6 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagull: 365
  6. Cormorant: 145
  7. Black Turnstone: 12
  8. Harlequin Duck: 12 (9 males, 3 females)
  9. Canada Goose: 7
  10. Black Oystercatcher: 10
  11. Savannah Sparrow: 5
  12. Bald Eagle: 1 adult on North Rock

Maintenance

  • Emptied the gross water in the rain barrel.

Boats

  • Did not see any boats in the reserve today.

Return of the Harbour Seal

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles in the morning, 15 during the day.
  • Wind: 20-25 knots NE, down to 5-10 in the afternoon, then back up to 25.
  • Sky: overcast and rain followed by some sun in the afternoon.
  • Water: 2′ chop

Ecological

  • Saw three branded California sea lions: 7960, 8985, and U503.
  • Yesterday’s Harbour Seal near the jetty returned for another plank.
  • Saw an unidentifiable whale surfacing south of Rosedale Rock.

Maintenance

  • The usual chores
  • Couldn’t fully fix the electric fence near the energy building since the elephant seals who were lying on parts of the fence refused to move.

Boats

  • Saw a Search and Rescue boat along with a few eco-tours.

Fierce Winds

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 35-40 knots SW, later W, and then down to 10-20.
  • Sky: mostly clear with some early evening rain.
  • Water: 3′ chop, calmer in the evening.

Ecological

  • Saw a California Sea Lion branded 8465,
  • Saw a Steller Sea Lion branded 873R.
  • One harbour seal hauled out on a rock near the jetty.
  • I was surprised it wasn’t immediately scared off by the sea lions.

harbour-seal-1-7-10 harbour-seal-2-7-10

Maintenance

  • Had to get the internet and phone back in operation this morning.
  • Electric fence work. The elephant seals are fond of knocking it all down.

Boats

  • Hardly any boats today on account of the weather.