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.

Windy Day, Frisky Elephant Seals

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-35 knots West
  • Water: 2′ chop
  • Sky: Overcast with showers, cleared up in the late evening

Ecological

  • The broken Canada Goose eggs from last night were still on the grass.
  • 13 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • 5 on Middle Rock.
  • The elephant seals just outside the house were in a frenzy all morning.
  • Some of them play fought for hours, whilst others tried to mate.
  • Inevitably they all ended up in a big pile of flailing bodies.
  • Saw an injured California sea lion on the derrick rocks.
  • It appears as though it had part of a flipper torn off.
  • Boat motor or predator?
  • There was a tiny harbour seal on the east part of Great Race.
  • It was farther from water then I had ever seen one.

Maintenance

  • Ran the desalinator.
  • Again unfavourable conditions to run the fire pump.

Boats

  • No boats in the reserve.
  • A couple sail boats farther out.

Powerful DND Blasting and Bald Eagle

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots NE
  • Water: 2′ chop
  • Sky: overcast

Ecological

  • The newest female elephant seal was gone this morning.
  • Chunk mated with the current mother on Great Race today. Unlike the other times I have seen him initiate mating, the female did not fight back or try to get away. She seemed okay with it, and her pup lay beside her as it happened.
  • Chuckles spent the day on the south-east corner of Great Race.
  • Status quo on Middle Rock with the mum and pup.
  • Lady left the island at 3:30, just after the 5th and 6th DND blasts.
  • Watched a bald eagle tear away at weaner’s head for over half an hour at dusk. This was the first time I had seen an eagle approach the corpse. Fascinating.

Maintenance

  • Mopped up the remaining water in the Energy Building.
  • Stacked more firewood in the water shed.
  • Cleared logs and debris off the ramp three times.

Other

  • There were 6 very powerful DND blasts today coming from Bentinck Island. They came in three pairs, each pair spaced out from the other. I was outside for the first two and they hurt my ears. I was inside for the final four, and they shook the house considerably.
  • After when I walked around the island, I noticed that nearly all the birds and sea lions had disappeared. There was only 1 sea lion on Great Race, and he appeared to be injured, which would explain why he was the only one who stayed. There were about 10 sea lions left on South Island, and 20 Harbour Seals. No cormorants. The blasting must have scared the rest off.
Smoke from blasting

Smoke from blasting.

Rain and Foghorn

Weather

  • Visibility: 1 mile
  • Wind: 5-10 knots NE
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Sky: fog, rain most of the day

Ecological

  • Chuckles attempted to mate with the grieving mother on Great Race.
  • Chunk appeared to be mating with the mother on Middle Rock.
  • Lady, mum and pup still on Great Race.

Maintenance

  • Continued cleaning in the Student’s House.
  • Discovered a leak in the main house; positioned a bucket to catch the water.
  • Did the old method of water sampling along with the regular one.

Boats

  • One fishing boat passed through the reserve today. It appeared to be going too fast, but conditions were worsening rapidly, so it appeared they were just trying to get into harbour.
Fishing boat speeding?

Going too fast?

Other

  • The foghorn went off today from 12:37 until about 13:00.
  • Discovered quite a bit of water on the floor in the entrance ways to the Energy Building. I checked for leaks in the ceiling but found none; I presume the water seeped in under the door. With near constant rain all day, the entire island is turning into one big puddle.

Some of the water in the energy building

Daffodils and Rain

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots SE, later N
  • Water: rippled
  • Sky: overcast, rain in the afternoon

Ecological

  • One lone seagull has been pecking away at the weaner. Nature at work.
  • Chunk attempted to mate with the grieving mother. Then he left the island at 17:00.
  • Great Race mum and pup, Lady, and Middle Rock mum and pup still present. No sign of Chuckles today.
  • Noticed about 12 harbour seals out on the rocks. It’s not everyday that they’re here.
  • The daffodils started to open up today. Purple crocus and various other flowers have been open for over a week.

Maintenance

  • Started organizing and tidying up the Student’s House.

Boats

  • The HMCS Whitehorse was out near Albert Head in the morning.
  • Two eco-tours came by in the afternoon. The second boat seemed too close to a group of sea lions, half of whom then stampeded into the water.

Male Elephant Seals: Island Swap

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots, at various times from the N, W, S, and E.
  • Water: calm
  • Sky: overcast, then rain, then sunny.

Ecological

  • Chuckles spent the day lying on the grass on the SE corner of Great Race.
  • Chunk attempted to mate with the grieving mother in the morning.
  • After mating, Chunk chased the new female and seemed to wound her slightly, before giving up the chase and going into the water.
  • Chunk spent the rest of the day on Middle Rock with the mother and pup.
  • The newest (fourth) pup is still doing well.

Maintenance

  • Finished stacking firewood under the stairs of the Students’ House.
  • Hauled away many small chunks of wood from near the ramp.
  • Noticed that the wind direction meter seems to be malfunctioning at the Davis Weather Station. Looking into what can be done.

Boats

  • One eco-tour boat passed by at 14:00 heading West, before returning at 15:30. At times it seemed to be closer to the rocks than is permitted.
Closer than the mammal watching guidelines?

Closer than the mammal watching guidelines?

First Official Day On The Job

After training last weekend, and a general review yesterday, I, Riley Strother, have now taken over as Ecoguardian from Alex Fletcher.

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots NE
  • Water: 1’ chop
  • Sky: overcast

Ecological

  • The first female elephant seal to give birth left the island at 7:30 in the morning and did not return. As such the first pup has now become a weaner.
  • Chunk appeared to mate with the female who lost her pup.
  • The newest pup is quite vocal and seems to be doing well. Chunk and the other female went along the path after mating to inspect the new mother and pup.
  • Alex was able to identify the number on the yellow flipper tag attached to the newest mother: 5928
  • There was quite a disturbance of seagulls and cormorants today when a raven with a small fish in its beak was chased all around the island by two eagles. Eventually the raven managed to land and eat the fish.
  • Conducted a census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 88
  2. Northern/Stellar Sea Lions: 53 (many sea lions were swimming in the waves and thus impossible to count)
  3. Elephant Seals: 8 (Chunk, weaner, grieving mother, new mum and pup, Middle Rock: Chuckles, mum and pup.)
  4. River Otter: 1
  5. Cormorants: 615
  6. Seagulls: 512
  7. Bald Eagles: 9 (7 juvenile, 2 adults)
  8. Raven: 1
  9. Crow: 1
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 4
  12. Canada Geese: 6
  13. Black Turnstones: 29

Maintenance

  • Cleared logs off the ramp two times.
  • Lowered the boat trailer because the cable coil was quite criss crossed. Managed to recoil the cable in a more orderly fashion.
  • Vacuumed up hundreds of fruit flies in the basement near the composting toilet.

Boats

  • Alex and Virginie left in the morning.
  • Surprised to see no eco-tourism boats about on such a nice Sunday.