Pigeons – guillemots back

Weather

Very light wind,not stable going from  West to East,calm sea, Sky:overcast to cloudy and rainy (light).Visibility :10 miles, Air temperature:3.9 degrees Celsius.

Ecological

Today for the first time this winter we saw a flock of guillemots :30 around.Chunk was gone fishing but back in the evening .12 geese almost all the time on the Rock.

Vessels

One watching vessel and a big fishing boat heading to the Ocean.

Census

Pigeons -guillemots:35

Elephants Seals : 5 to 6

Gulls :650

Californians Sea Lions :235. One tagged: no 486

Steelers sea Lions:55

Geese:12

Eagles:6 to 9

Harlequin Ducks:7

Harbour Seals:27

Cormorants:110

Sunny Day

Weather

  • 7:15
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • 10:45
  • Visibility: 10 miles (fog to the South and West)
  • Wind: 10-15 knots NE
  • Sky: sunny
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Nice sunset!

Ecological

  • Saw 6 Harlequin Ducks today!

Maintenance

  • Ran the desalinator during the afternoon.
  • Stacked some firewood.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • The usual chores.

Boats

  • Didn’t see many boats today despite the nice weather.

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.

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.

Census Day!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots SW
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm
  • Beautiful sunrise today!

sunrise-1-29-9 sunrise-2-29-9

Ecological

  • Saw four branded sea lions today.
  • One Steller branded 998R.
  • Three California’s branded X611, 88, and U22[?].
  • Conducted the weekly census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 486
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 169
  3. Harbour Seals: 151
  4. Elephant Seals: 7 on Middle Rock
  5. Sea gulls: 1020
  6. Cormorants: 20
  7. Savannah Sparrows: 20
  8. Harlequin Ducks: 4 (2 male, 2 female)
  9. Black Oystercatchers: 3
  10. Bald Eagles: 2 adult
  11. Canada Geese: 2
  12. Black Turnstone: 1

Maintenance

  • The usual chores were accomplished.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours today. Nothing unusual or problematic to report.

Other

  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • Most of today’s blasts were louder than those from earlier this week.
  • 9:34, 9:36, 10:07, 10:09, 10:38, 10:40, 11:14, 11:46, 11:48, 12:11, and 13:14.

Beautiful Day to Remember

 

End of Shift.  Tomorrow Riley will arrive for his shift and we will be off. All the best, Riley, for your stay in this amazing hotspot of living activity and tidal rushes. The people of BC are lucky to have Race Rocks protected under BC Parks’ highest level of protection as an Ecological Reserve. It was a pleasure working with the classes of biology and marine science students this week and a treat to be in this special place.

Weather and Sea Conditions  Winds: Light and variable;  Sky: Morning low overcast slight mist cleared to sunny in afternoon;  Visibility: Mostly good ~10 – 15 nm;  The accumulated solar radiation today was 250 Langleys, the equivalent of a little over 2900 Watts per square meter. The UV Index was high at 7.4;  Barometer: 102.7 kPa and falling Sunday evening;  Forecast: Wind easterly 5 to 15 knots becoming light Monday afternoon then increasing to west 20 to 25 Monday evening. Strong wind warning in effect.

Vessels in Ecological Reserve   Whale watching vessels: 12 were observed working in Ecological Reserve (ER). All were professional, providing a good model for other boaters transiting the ER.

Sport fishing vessels: A total of 11 sport fishing vessels were observed in the ER today. Three were noted speeding in the ER and two vessels were observed fishing for hours, in the closed to fishing, Rockfish Conservation Area. Photos were taken, processed and filed. There were approximately 70 sports fishing vessels fishing to the west and then drifting by to the east, all but five appeared to follow rules.

Ecology  The first three Harlequin Ducks of the season were spotted today, one male and two females. They have returned from their alpine summer breeding habitat for a coastal winter. A Great Blue Heron was observed fishing, standing on a dense raft of Bull Kelp. A thorough search for the Sea Otter turned up nothing. Enormous mixed species feeding flocks were observed in Race Passage in the afternoon. There are fewer sea lions ashore during the day right now and there have been dietary shifts visible in their feces, which are hard to miss. One animal was observed feeding on what appeared to be a Coho close to a kelp bed on the west side of Great Race.

Visitors  None.

Sustainability  Although it was gray in the morning by 14:00 there was enough sunlight that we made fresh water with solar energy powering the de-salinator.

Maintenance and Operations  Regular chores and clean-up.

 

A Windy Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots West in the morning, picking up to 30-35 by noon.
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 3′ chop

DSC_6368

Ecological

  • I oversaw an enthusiastic day long census with Maya, Tazi, and Ali.
  • Discovered a new Black Oystercatcher nest with 3 eggs!
  • Maya and Tazi discovered a new Canada Goose nest.
  • I begin to suspect that our new elephant seal male is actually Chuckles.
  • If he did nothing but eat for 3 months straight, that would explain his girth.
  • Saw a Steller Sea Lion branded 9628.
  • We found a blood star, and Maya showed us various chitons.
  • Maya and Tazi did a transect.
  1. Harbour Seals: 190
  2. California Sea Lions: 42
  3. Steller/Northern Sea Lions: 39
  4. Elephant Seals: 15 (13 on Great Race, 2 in the Southern waters)
  5. Seagulls: 225 (Glaucous-winged)
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 82
  7. Canada Geese: 36 (14 on Great Race, 22 flyovers)
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 8 (plus 2 nests with a total 5 eggs)
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 3 (2 male, 1 female)
  10. Cormorants: 3
  11. Barn Swallows: 2

Maintenance

  • We cleaned the solar panels.
  • Finished cleaning the boathouse floor with T.S.P.
  • Repainted some rusty propane tanks.
  • Sanded the westward facing bench by the Students’ house.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by in the morning, but as wind picked up they disappeared.

Black Oystercatcher Nest!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 25-30 knots West in the morning
  • The rest of the day 15 knots West.
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 2′ chop

Ecological

  • Finally discovered a Black Oystercatcher nest!
  • 2 eggs are inside the “nest”.
  • Their nests are made of rocks and shells.
  • Census day.
  • I don’t seem to see any Black Turnstones or Surfbirds anymore.
  • Also less Bald Eagles.
  • And the Otter has been gone for a while.
  1. Harbour Seals: 117
  2. Northern Sea Lions: 32
  3. California Sea Lions: 22 (one branded U 687)
  4. Elephant Seals: 20 (17 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls: 327
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 114
  7. Canada Geese: 21 (14 resident geese, 7 stopovers)
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 10 (plus 2 eggs!)
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 8 (6 males, 2 females)
  10. Cormorants: 4
  11. Barn Swallows: 2
  12. Bald Eagle: 1 immature
  13. Savannah Sparrow: 1

Maintenance

  • Rust painting.
  • More thistle weed whacking.
  • You can cut them down like you’re the Queen of Hearts, but they grow back.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.

Boats

  • Four or so eco-tours came by today.

A Visitor From Afar

Weather

  • Visibility: 10-15 miles today. At times quite hazy.
  • Wind: 15-25 knots West
  • Sky: clear and sunny
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Conducted a census today.
  • Found a tiny dead harbour seal on the rocks.
  • A flock of geese arrived in the late afternoon.
  1. Harbour Seals: 91
  2. Northern Sea Lions: 35
  3. Elephant Seals: 22 (17 on Great Race, 5 on Middle Rock)
  4. California Sea Lions: 20
  5. Seagulls: 275
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 130
  7. Canada Geese: 20! (although for much of the day only 10)
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 8
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 3 (2 females, 1 male)
  10. Cormorants: 2
  11. Bald Eagle: 1
  12. Rock Sandpiper: 1
  13. Unidentified large bird on Middle Rock; Owl?: 1

Maintenance

  • Removed lots of algae from the boat house.
  • (Re)discovered that the pressure washer does not work.

Boats

  • About 4 eco-tours came by today.
  • Chris dropped off and picked up my friend Greg O’.

Visitors

  • Greg O’, the tree scientist of Vernon, came by in the afternoon for a 3 hour visit!

Greg O come for a visit!

Other

  • A couple of big DND blasts in the afternoon.

SUP’ers and Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots South in the morning, 15 knots West in the evening
  • Sky: clear and sunny
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • Conducted a census.
  • Surprised I didn’t see any Black Turnstones today.
  • Saw one Northern sea lion branded 524R.
  1. Northern Sea Lions: 93
  2. California Sea Lions: 59
  3. Elephant Seals: 20 (15 on Great Race. 5 on Middle Rock)
  4. Harbour Seals: 6
  5. Seagulls: 355
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 101
  7. Canada Geese: 18
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 10
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 6 (5 male, 1 female)
  10. Cormorants: 4
  11. Bald Eagles: 4 (1 adult, 3 immature)
  12. Rock Sandpipers: 2
  13. Crow: 1

Maintenance

  • Cleaned more exterior windows.
  • More goose work.

Boats

  • 12 eco-tours today!
  • Some of them appeared to get too close to the sea lions.
  • Three uninvited SUP’ers (stand up paddle boarders) came by Great Race today.
  • After a short rest and a quick chat I sent them on their way again.

Other

  • Five DND blasts today.
  • Two medium blasts at 10:13 and 10:15.
  • One big blast at 10:17.
  • Two medium blasts at around 12:10.