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.

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.

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.

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.

Census and 3rd New Weaner

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-30 knots NE, later 15 W
  • Water: 2′ chop
  • Sky: overcast with showers

Ecological

  • Chunk and Chuckles were both on Great Race today, but I saw no interactions.
  • The mother is gone on Middle Rock, making her pup a weaner.
  • Conducted a census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 75
  2. Northern Sea Lions: 32
  3. Harbour Seals: 6
  4. Elephant Seals: 3
  5. Seagulls: 300
  6. Cormorants: 299 (142 on Great Race, of which 87 were Double Crested, 28 Pelagic, 8 male Brandt’s, and 19 unidentifiable to me. 157 on North Rock, too far away to identify.)
  7. Black Turnstones: 39
  8. Surfbirds: 18
  9. Canada Geese: 18
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 13
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 8 (6 male, 2 female)
  12. Bald Eagles: 3 (2 adults, 1 juvenile)
  13. Crows: 3
  14. Ravens: 2
  15. American Pipit: 1

Maintenance

  • Hauled logs off the ramp.
  • Checked the diesel in the tidy tank.

Boats

  • Didn’t see any boats near the reserve today.

 

Weaner’s Derrick Ride

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots North
  • Water: rippled
  • Sky: mix of sun and cloud

Ecological

  • After analysing the elephant seal pup on Great Race, I am fairly certain that it is a male pup.
  • Mum and pups on Great Race and Middle Rock were alone most of the day.
  • For the first time, I saw a bald eagle eating from the dead elephant seal pup out on the rocks.

Maintenance

  • Stacked firewood.
  • Cleared the ramp three times.
  • Started replacing dead light bulbs in the Student’s House.
  • Moved the weaner’s body away from the main house with ropes and the derrick, helped by Chris, Jeff, and 3 volunteers from the college.

Boats

  • Second Nature came by for a couple of hours in the afternoon, crewed by Chris, Jeff, the IT guy, and 3 volunteers. They helped move the weaner and checked up on various electronic systems.
  • One eco-tour came by in the late afternoon.

Other

  • There were 6 more DND blasts today.
  • Two massive blasts that shook the house at 10:15 and 10:17. Birds and mammals quite disturbed, but they settled back down.
  • Two small blasts at 11:31 and 11:34.
  • Two medium blasts at 14:40 and 14:45.
Massive DND blast.

Massive DND blast.

Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles, later 15
  • Wind: 5-10 knots SE, late afternoon up to 33 knots from the West
  • Water: rippled, later wavy
  • Sky: foggy in the morning, overcast in the afternoon

Ecological

  • Chunk spent the day on Middle Rock with the mum and pup.
  • Lady, Grieving mum, mum and pup, were in the same spots on Great Race.
  • Chuckles arrived on Great Race in the late afternoon.
  • Conducted a census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 87
  2. Northern/Stellar Sea Lions: 50
  3. Harbour Seals: 21
  4. Elephant Seals: 8
  5. Cormorants: 742 (of the 742, I think that at least 10 were Male Brandt’s, 131 Double Crested, and 200 Pelagic; my identification is improving, but many were either too far away, or indistinguishable to me.)
  6. Seagulls: 605 (131 had darker plumage and therefore must be immature gulls?)
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 50
  8. Bald Eagles: 30 (23 juveniles, 7 adults)
  9. Black Oystercatchers: 13
  10. Canada Geese: 10
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 8 (4 male, 4 female)
  12. Black Turnstones: 6
  13. Surfbird: 3 (unless they were Rock Sandpipers?)
  14. Raven: 2
  15. American Pipit: 2

Maintenance

  • Did some more cleaning in the Student’s House.

Boats

  • In the morning, one fishing boat passed through the reserve. The occupants did not fish in the reserve; they were going slow and appeared to be observing.
  • In the afternoon, one large eco-tour boat came through the reserve.

Godwit and Guillemots

 

 

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Ecological Happenings

  • Calm overcast day with light winds and settled seas.
  • Allot of driftwood and deadheads floating past in the current around the rocks from the storms and high tides of late.
  • Marbled Godwit spotted on the main island in the afternoon.
  • Pigeon guillemots and Surf scoters observed around the main island to the North and East.
  • The female Elephant seal remains on middle rocks, while the males and smaller Elephant seal remain on the main island.
  • Pod of Orca seen passing to the south, feeding in the straight. Approximately five in group consisting of males (larger dorsal fins), female and a calf. Group of accompanying birds (gulls and cormorants) circling and highlighting their position.

Marine Vessels

  • One Whale Watching boat through the reserve.
  • Courtney visited on 2nd Nature, from Pearson College, dropping off the winter fuel and a set of repaired steps for the jetty.

Maintenance

  • Steps and fuel unloading from 2nd Nature.
  • General tidying and preparation for end of shift.
Cracking Sunrise

Cracking Sunrise

Cormorants taking a rest on some drift wood

Cormorants taking a rest on some drift wood

Pigeon Guillemots

Pigeon Guillemots

Marbled Godwit and Black Turnstone

Marbled Godwit and Black Turnstone feeding

Immature Bald Eagle landing

Immature Bald Eagle landing. Beautiful plumage.

Double-crested Cormorants

Double-crested Cormorants and Thayer’s Gulls

Courtney prepping 2nd Nature

Courtney prepping 2nd Nature to come into the jetty

Male Orca in strait

Male Orca in strait

Female Orca and calf

Female Orca and calf