Census

Weather

  • Visibility: clear, 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: ranging from 9-22 knots throughout the day
  • Sky: overcast for most of the day
  • Water: calm, a bit choppy at times

Boats/Visitors

  • Didn’t notice much boat traffic today aside from the usual busy commercial freighters
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • More failed mating attempts by the young male elephant seals with the one female on the island.

Census

  • Cormorants – 90
  • Gulls – 275
  • Elephant Seals – 6  (3 adolescent males, 1 adult male, 1 adult female and 1 pup)
  • California Sea Lions – 120
  • Stellar Seal Lions – 93
  • Black Turnstones – 10
  • Canada Geese – 4
  • Bald Eagles – 7

    Three males surround the single female currently on the island

1st Female Elephant Seal of 2018

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: ranging from 10-23 knots throughout the day
  • Sky: sunny with cloudy periods
  • Water: mostly calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had one whale watching boat cruise by
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • The first female elephant seal arrived today. One of the smaller, younger males was very persistent with her but the larger male mostly kept him away.
  • Counted 3 male elephant seals on the island today, 2 adolescents and 1 adult.
  • One elephant seal pup is still sleeping on the north side of the house and letting out the occasional yelps and cries.

 

Two juvenile bald eagles take in the morning view of commercial freighters passing by Race Rocks

The first female elephant seal to arrive

Three elephant seals have a stand off, with the female on the left and the two males on the right.

Elephant Seal Pup & Eagles

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: ranging from 13-22 knots throughout the day and over night
  • Sky: mostly sunny with some cloudy periods
  • Water: mostly calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Didn’t notice much boat traffic today aside from the usual busy commercial freighters
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • The same elephant pup is still hanging around the house. She’s been sleeping in pretty much the same spot for the past 2 days.
  • Lots of bald eagles around lately, counted 7 yesterday. 4 Adults and 3 large juveniles.
  • Large group of cormorants on the south rocks again in the late afternoon
  • Consistent amount of black turnstones around, about 8-12 seen per day

Talkative Elephant Seal Pup

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: ranging from 10-20 knots
  • Sky: sunny with cloudy periods
  • Water: choppy with the wind, 1-3 foot swells

Boats/Visitors

  • Didn’t notice much boat traffic today, one diving boat
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • I counted 4 male elephant seals on and around the island today
  • large group of 30-40 cormorants on the south rocks in the early evening
  • same elephant seal pup has been hanging close to the house and has been very vocal for the past few days, calling out sporadically throughout the day and night.
  • Saw 4 adult bald eagles around today as well as two large juveniles.

Other

  • This will be my last week out at Race Rocks until February, when I return for another month stay. Laas will be back for the remainder of January so you can expect much better quality photography then I’ve supplied! (:

Rainbows & Battle Scars

Weather

  • Visibility: clear, 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: 23-28 knots SW this morning, died down by noon
  • Sky: mostly sunny with some clouds
  • Water: rough this morning with 1 meter swells then calmed down throughout the day

Boats/Visitors

  • Lots of commercial vessels including a large logging barge
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • The male elephant seals continue to fight for dominance. Didn’t notice the smallest of the original 5 around today after he lost a fight yesterday against another adolescent. The winner of that fight got into it with one of the two large males and is still around but has some fresh wounds.
  • Still one elephant seal pup here that has taken a liking to sleeping on the doorstep of my house!

 

A tug pulls a huge logging barge by Race Rocks Island

Family photo!

Huge logging barge being towed by a tug passing by Race Rocks.

Fresh battle wounds after facing a much larger male than himself.

The Battles Begin

Weather

  • Visibility: 10-15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: light breezes throughout the day, 4-11 knots
  • Sky: overcast this morning then cleared up a bit by late afternoon
  • Water: mostly calm, a bit choppy at times

Boats/Visitors

  • The usual commercial freighter and barge traffic
  • Garry and a friend came out for the annual christmas bird count

Ecological

  • Two of the younger male elephant seals got into a fight/chase with the larger of the two dominating until Bernard (the biggest of the 5 males currently on the island) stepped in and sent them both on the run. With the females heading this way soon it may prove to be a bloody new year with the males fighting for dominance.
  • Large group of oyster catchers, 18-20 strong, hanging around the south west end of the island.
  • Didn’t see any canada geese today for the first time in a while.
  • Garry’s friend pointed out some harlequin ducks in the water I hadn’t noticed.
  • One of the elephant seal pups looks like an older male may have attacked it. It’s head and back are covered with lacerations and gouges.

A Third Male Elephant Seal & Merry Christmas!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles throughout the day
  • Wind: light breeze throughout the day
  • Sky: overcast this morning then cleared up with lots of sun by afternoon
  • Water: mostly calm, a bit choppy at times

Boats/Visitors

  • Only noticed one or two small boats in the distance
  • No visitors today

Ecological

  • A third male elephant seal showed up today but is much younger then the other two and only half the size. The three ended up in the same are as each other for the first time and Bernard asserted a bit of dominance, pushing the other two back from the centre of the island.
  • Another elephant seal pup showed up today too

Other

  • Will do another census tomorrow

Visitors & Elephant Seal Pup

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles, pretty clear all day
  • Wind: consistently windy throughout the day
  • Sky: cloudy with some sun
  • Water: a bit choppy during the day with the winds but mostly calm

Boats/Visitors

  • Had a group of 10 visitors doing a team building exercise on the island for most of the day.
  • Didn’t see a lot of boat activity, one Rockfish diving boat was around for a bit.

Ecological

  • The two large male Elephant Seals are still on the island. They’ve moved closer to each other but I haven’t seen any interaction between the two of them.
  • There is a very young elephant seal pup by the jetty. Our guess of it’s age is around 8-10 months.

 

Other

  • It was really nice socializing with people after 17 days of little to no face-to-face human interaction aside from the occasional food and fuel drop-offs.

 

Eagle vs Crow

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind: 12-15 NE
  • Sky: mostly sunny
  • Water: mostly calm, a bit choppy

Boats/Visitors

  • noticed one larger tour boat cruise by

Ecological

  • elephant seal pup is back
  • seemed to be more stellar sea lions around today than usual on the east rocks
  • saw an eagle snatch a crow chick and fight off it’s parents in flight. RIP lil crow.

Notes

  • the weather has been fantastic this week with lots of sun!

Census day

Weather

  • Visibility: 10 Miles, a bit foggy this morning but burned off by noon to partly cloudy
  • Wind: 10-15 NW got continuously more calm through the day
  • Sky: partly cloudy throughout the day
  • Water: stayed consistently calm

Boats/Visitors

  • A lot of ecotours came through today
  • Had a couple visitors, come by with Kyle this morning and then had Kyle and Guy come back this afternoon to help me out with a couple things

Ecological

  • Census day!
    1. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 35
    2. Harbour Seals: 44
    3. California Sea Lions: 23
    4. Elephant Seals: 13
    5. Seagulls unspecified: 291
    6. Pigeon Guillemots: 152
    7. Cormorants unspecified: 29
    8. Canada Geese: 14
    9. Savannah Sparrows: 0
    10. Harlequin Ducks: 8 (2 female, 6 male)
    11. Black Oystercatchers: 8
    12. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 1 immature)
  • There are 2 more elephant seals than usual! so thats exciting, they stayed scattered today on the path from the lighthouse to the jetty
  • As you can see there have been a decrease in sea lions, they are no longer on the southern rocks and have moved to the main island one group on the north side and another group on the southside
  • There have been an increase in gulls, pigeon guillemots and cormorants, also the harlequins are back, I did not see them last week
  • There has also been an increase in harbour seals, when I counted them they were mostly all on the Middle Rocks but have since scattered about the South Islands as well