Mystery Raptor


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 6-10 NE throughout day
  • Sky: sunny with cloudy periods
  • Water: mostly calm


  • had one whale watching boat cruise by
  • no visitors today


  • saw a large brown raptor of some kind. I think it was a Red-tailed Hawk
  • lots of killdeer around
  • large elephant seal male is still on the island


  • a lot of DND blasts today, very startling for the sea lions.

Couple Killdeer


  • Visibility: 15 Miles
  • Wind: Morning 5-10 NE stayed below 10 most of the day but picked up later
  • Sky: Some clouds with bits of sunshine throughout the day
  • Water: calm


  • quite a few ecotours came around today


  • Counted 9 elephant seals today, I imagine the other two were in the water during the sunny periods today
  • Also spotted two killdeer hanging around the elephant seals in front of the house


Crows & Eggs


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots North
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • For a couple of hours in the afternoon, wind 15-20 knots West, and some rain.


  • Two crows pecked about in an abandoned goose nest.
  • Quite a good day for birding!
  • Three elephant seals on Great Race.


  • Ran the desalinator.


  • At least three eco-tours came by today.

The Seals Touch Down


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots NE, later 0-10 NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop


  • 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?


  • Transferred diesel from the Students’ House tank into the Tidy Tank.
  • Some goose work.

Windy Day for a Census


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: a steady 20-25 knots West
  • Sky: mostly sunny
  • Water: 1′ chop


  • 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


  • Ran the desalinator.


  • At least one eco-tour came by today.

Very Windy


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: at 7:45, 10-15 knots East, then at 13:20 up to 35-40 knots West
  • A peak of 43 knots West at 14:15. Settled at 25-30 knots West after dark.
  • Sky: overcast, in the afternoon periods of sunshine, rain after dark.
  • Water: 1′ chop, later some monster waves from the west


  • Just the weaner on Great Race.
  • Killdeer active as ever.


  • One eco-tour came by.

Two Seals and a Killdeer


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots West, later 5-10 South
  • Sky: mostly clear, a few drops of rain
  • Water: 1′ chop


  • The same two elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • The weaner spent the whole day snoozing beside the house.
  • The bigger fellah hardly moved all day, except the one time he tried to climb up the rock wall, and couldn’t!
  • Saw a killdeer again.


  • Transferred diesel from the Student House basement tank, into a barrel, and then into the tidy tank.
  • Ran the desalinator.

A No Weaner Census


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: rippled


  • Census day!
  • The weaner was gone this morning. Hopefully he is ok.
  • Normally I only ever see killdeer at night, but today I saw a pair off and on all day!
  1. California Sea Lions: 85
  2. Harbour Seals: 44
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 39
  4. Elephant Seals: 1 male
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 269 (same total two weeks in a row!)
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 241
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 57
  8. Surfbirds: 49
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 32 (16 males and 16 females)
  10. Black Turnstones: 22
  11. Canada Geese: 13
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 9
  13. Bald Eagles: 6 (2 adults, 4 immature)
  14. Killdeer: 2


  • Kyle stopped by for 1 minute to exchange the extra security camera for a new Wifi access point.
  • There were several fishing boats literally yards outside the Rockfish Conservation Area.
  • A few eco-tours came by.


  • Installed the new Wifi access point in the Students’ House.


  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • Small blasts at the following times:
  • 10:25, 10:27, 10:45, and 12:34.
  • Larger blasts at the following times:
  • 12:32, 12:53, 14:52, 14:54, and 15:11.

Rainy Day


  • Visibility: 10 miles
  • Wind: 5-15 knots N/NE
  • Sky: overcast with showers
  • Water: calm


  • 4 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • They all headed down to the water in the late afternoon.
  • Saw a pair of killdeer in the nocturnal hours.




  • Added some diesel to the tidy tank.
  • The usual chores.
  • Started preparing for my Tuesday departure.


  • Did not see any boats.

Count Day

The sky was partially overcast early but cleared a bit in late morning. Then it clouded over and finally started to rain as it socked in just before dark. The wind started out east-northeast then turned to west late morning before backing all the way around to southwest. The barometric pressure is rising as I write this log and the forecast calls for clearing in the morning and sunshine. Winds will turn to westerly 10 – 15 knots Friday afternoon.

Commercial whale watching vessels made fifteen observed visits to the Ecological Reserve today. One vessel regularly comes in fast and not slowing until well inside the go slow boundary and then consistently speeds up early. The same vessel can be seen hop-scotching ahead of endangered southern resident killer whales as the pass by and in the reserve, sitting almost on top of the sea otter. It is a large, noisy vessel that reliably pushes the limits of respectful whale watching and will end up by hitting an animal or worse. Most of the operators realize that this sort of behaviour is not sustainable.

Biggs Killer Whales were already being followed by the whale-watching fleet before they came into the Ecological Reserve from the east and milled in and around South Seal Rocks and the breaking rock just off the energy building. There were many sea lions in the water, some craning their necks to see better and others just trying to maintain as much time as possible in the air, by repeatedly leaping airborne. I am not sure if the killer whales made a kill or not but sense that they did. There was some fancy criss-cross swimming by the first three whales, then a little one accompanied by a bigger one arrived on scene. This was followed by a few minutes with all the whales underwater and gull action above, which made me think food leftovers. After that they left, heading south and then southeast, dogged by the fleet. Two vessels came into the reserve while the whales were already inside. It is possible that they were not aware on entering but they did not leave once they were aware of the whales’ presence.

Ecologically, the transition from summer into fall continues. Salmon migration is still strong and birds, pinnipeds and cetaceans abundant. The size of the multi-species feeding flocks on the water, is increasing daily with some aggregations (outside the protected area) appearing to have thousands of gulls.

Thursday is animal census day so here are the numbers for charismatic mega-fauna.

Steller Sea Lion 303

California Sea Lion 578

Harbour Seal 187

Northern Elephant Seal 11

Sea Otter 1

Southern Resident Killer Whale (2 in ER during count week, additional 18 in Race Passage during count week)

Biggs Killer Whale (Transients) 6 today (3 more during count week)

Humpback Whale (3 during count week)

Canada Goose 0 full time (flock of ~25 chased off almost daily)

Harlequin Duck 0

Double-crested Cormorant 25

Brandt’s Cormorants 22

Pelagic Cormorant 6

Unidentified cormorants 17

Black Oystercatcher 5

Black Turnstone 11

Kildeer 3

Glaucous-winged Gull total 453 (325 – adults; 128 – juveniles)

California Gull 847

Thayer’s Gull 180

Mew Gull 24

Herring Gull 0

Ring-billed Gull 2

Western Gull 2

Heerman’s Gull 36

Adult Gull spp (Unidentified) 242

Juvenile Gull spp (Unidentified) 223

Savannah Sparrow 9

Fox Sparrow 1

Unidentified Sparrow 1

Junco 3

Horned Lark (2 in count week)

Pacific Wren 1

Routine chores continue. There were six visitors today. Two very self contained Environment Canada technical service officers came out to do annual maintenance on their weather station up on the tower. If you were looking on camera # 1 you may have had a close-up view of them at work, calibrating, replacing and maintaining their instruments in full climbing gear. Thanks go out to them as well for the help they gave us before leaving the island. Two national geographic photographers came out to get a sense of the diversity of wildlife and of course take photos. Two young people who may potentially become eco-guardians also visited. Thanks go out to Don for helping move fuel, a heavy job. Well done. Courtney drove Second Nature to get them all out here and back safely and she was accompanied by Jasper, volunteer extraordinaire.