Crows & Eggs

Weather

  • 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.

Ecological

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

Maintenance

  • Ran the desalinator.

Boats

  • At least three eco-tours came by today.

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.

Very Windy

Weather

  • 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

Ecological

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

Boats

  • One eco-tour came by.

Two Seals and a Killdeer

Weather

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

Ecological

  • 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.

Maintenance

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

A No Weaner Census

Weather

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

Ecological

  • 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

Boats

  • 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.

Maintenance

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

Other

  • 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

Weather

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

Ecological

  • 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.

sleeping-e-seals-13-11

activate-e-seals-13-11

Maintenance

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

Boats

  • 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.

 

 

Charadrius vociferus: Killdeer–The Race Rocks Taxonomy

rm07910killdeer

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus photo by Ryan Murphy, 2010.

ASkilldeer

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus photo by Anne Stewart, Oct 2014

Link to other posts on this website about Killdeers

Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Sub-Phylum Vertebrata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae
Subfamily Charadriinae
Genus Charadrius
Species vociferus
Common Name: Killdeer

Other Members of the Class Aves at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.

 2014, Garry Fletcher

 


A Mighty Wind’s a Blowin’ for Census Day

The barometer dropped all last night from 1015 hPa to 1002 hPa this morning, before it began to climb again towards 1008 by the end of the day.   The wind started from the northeast, but then switched to blow strongly from the southwest from mid morning onwards. The gusts reached 47 knots in the evening.

There were two whale watching boats seen in the reserve.

Once the fog lifted, the census was a bit easier to do. Then the wind blew up and most of the birds hunkered down on the leeward side of the island. I wasn’t able to positively identify all of the individual species of gull. Next week, I will strive to get an accurate breakdown of the number of glaucous-winged, thayer’s, california, western and heerman’s. There are a lot fewer gulls compared to last week, only 14% of the 3224 that were on the reserve last Thursday.

See the photos below for some of the noteworthy species and sights seen during today’s census.

Here are the results of the census:

Steller Sea Lion: 211

California Sea Lion: 404

Harbour Seal: 7

Northern Elephant Seal: 11

Bald Eagle: 1

Canada Goose: 24

Double Crested Cormorant: 14

Pelagic Cormorant: 56

Gull: 450

Black Oystercatcher: 18

Black Turnstone: 26

Surfbirds: 15

Dunlin: 4

Killdeer: 2

Savannah Sparrow: 2

Fox Sparrow: 1

A rainbow appeared as the fog was burning off this morning. Turbine Rock is in the foreground. The pot of gold is Church Point.

A rainbow appeared as the fog was burning off this morning. West Rock is in the foreground. The pot of gold is Church Point.

A savannah sparrow near the burial mounds by the marine science centre

A savannah sparrow near the burial mounds by the marine science centre

Another view of a savannah sparrow near the burial mounds by the marine science centre

Another view of a savannah sparrow

Black turnstone

Black turnstone

Black turnstone on the boardwalk by the crane

Black turnstones on the boardwalk by the crane

A male elephant seal barks and floats beside the jetty.

A male elephant seal floats and barks beside the jetty.

Sandpiper-like birds: durlin, surfbird and black turnstone

Sandpiper-like birds: dunlin, surfbird and black turnstone. Can you identify them all?

A black turnstone and elephant seal share boat ramp

A black turnstone and elephant seal share the boat ramp

Black oystercatchers on the rocks by the surge channel

Black oystercatchers on the rocks by the surge channel

A steller sea lion with the brand "966R." The "R" signifies that it was branded in Rogue Reef, Oregon. I will add more information when I find out.

A steller sea lion with the brand “966R.” The “R” signifies that it was branded in Rogue Reef, Oregon. I will add more information when I find out.  [Updated information from Pat Gearin with the NOAA: The Steller was branded as a pup at Rogue Reef, Oregon in July 2011.  It is a male and so far we have 9 resights from this individual, all from BC.  In 2011, he was sighted at Pachena Point once, and in 2012 he was sighted at Carmanah 8 times.]

Another view of 966R

Another view of 966R

A branded california sea lion with the brand "U596." The "U" or "C" depending on which way you look at it,  means that the sea lion was captured in the Columbia River Area. It was branded in Astoria, Oregon.

A branded california sea lion with the brand “U596.” The “U” or “C” depending on which way you look at it, means that the sea lion was captured in the Columbia River Area. It was branded in Astoria, Oregon.  [Updated information from Matthew Tennis: U596 was branded on August 15, 2014 in Astoria. At that time he weighed ~193 kg. He was seen in Astoria for a few days following the branding and again in the middle of October. This is the first resight for this animal outside of Astoria. They have high site fidelity and being a relatively young animal, it is very possible he will be seen at Race Rocks for years to come.]

A group of steller and california sea lions get bashed by the waves on the south islands.

A group of steller and california sea lions get bashed by the wind and waves on the south islands.

The wind gusted to 47 knots from the south west during the late afternoon, whipping up big waves. The buoy that marks Rosedale Reef can be seen getting tossed around in the background.

The wind gusts reached 47 knots from the southwest during the late afternoon, whipping up big waves. The buoy that marks Rosedale Rock can be seen getting tossed around in the background.

lighthouse moonrise

The lighthouse with the moon rising behind