Long term record for harbour seal at Race Rocks

Pam Birley sent this picture today that she took with the remote camera of Six-spot, a harbour seal she has photographed over a several year period. see previous post at http://www.racerocks.ca/6-spot-the-harbour-seal-observed-at-rr-since-2008/

Census day and find “6 Spots” the harbour Seal!


Another calm day with 9 knots,North East wind at 8:00AM ,Calm sea,Cloudy to some sunny periods,Visibility over 13 miles. Sea water :7.1 degrees Celsius


I thought to have seen the famous seal on Turbine Rock this morning. there was a beautiful spotted Seal and actually the first one like that I ever saw…but when I went to do the census I discovered 7 or 8 spotted ones all together on South Island so…I am not sure anymore …Is “6 spots “around or not?…I let Pam to be the expert and the judge . Again Chunk :he spend the afternoon closed to Guy working at the cleaning of the railway (drifting wood again).A lot of activity for the gulls on the fish banks. In the night I have been awaken by the Sea Lions for the first time in those Winter months


3 Watchers  and a police boats going towards Esquilmalt..some small fishing boats closed to Pedder Bay.



Cormorants :90

Harbour Seals :17

Elephants Seals:6 (2 pups,2 females ,2 males)


Harlequin Ducks :8 seen this week

Geese:6 seen this week

Black Turnstones: a few

Sea lions : 200


9 Eagles on South Islands


North east wind at 8:00AM, 12 knots ,over 13 miles of visibility.Pretty chilly morning (4 degrees Celsius ), cloudy and rainy.


So many eagles around and some crows too…I guess they are attracted by the Elephant Seal body still in the rocks but actually they have been everywhere around all the time…juveniles and adults.. Boss  was coming back early from water. The 2 females have almost not moved from the birth spot and gradually the pups got bigger. Pam saw the famous harbour Seal ,”Six Spots”  is his name but we we have not found him yet.


see the shadow of the eagles on South Island


Eagle around



Maintenance and visits

Kyle came Today to get the chain saw that needed some repairs or a new one …The dryer has also some problems.With Guy they had a look at the old and unused generator. it will be hauled out pretty soon. In the afternoon Travis from the college came in his Kayak and stopped for a visit of the place and some chatting with us . The day was just perfect for the crossing : no current and no wind.! One watching boat seen


Gale Force Winds and Peregrine Falcon


  • Visibility: 10 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots NW in the morning
  • By 11:10 up to 25 knots West
  • By 11:25 33 knots, 11:55 40 knots West
  • Post 12:00 steady at 30-35 knots West
  • Late afternoon into darkness 15-20 knots West
  • Sky: mix of sun and cloud
  • Water: 2′ chop


  • 4 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • They were very playful today.
  • Pam Birley spotted a Peregrine falcon with the webcam!
  • She took these 4 photos for us!


  • Back flushed the desalinator.
  • Ran the desalinator.
  • Uploaded June Seawater data to the website.


  • Did not see any boats in the reserve.

Spontaneous Whale Watching!


  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Mt. Baker visible at times today.
  • Wind: 10-15 knots West
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: calm


  • We spied three eagles on Turbine Rock this morning.
  • 14 elephant seals on Great Race today, including both Chunk and Chuckles.
  • As Second Nature was departing Race Rocks sometime after 9:00, Kyle spied several whale watching boats following a pod of orcas outside the reserve.
  • I hopped aboard (sans camera) and we went off to join the fleet.
  • Over the next half hour or so, we watched 5 or 6 orcas as they repeatedly surfaced on their southerly course.
  • Christine (Guy’s wife) took several photographs; perhaps she will share them with us soon.
  • Pam Birley discovered a Black Oystercatcher nest today via webcam. That makes 3 known nests.
  • As Pam noted, it is “not a good spot to nest because the Otter likes to sunbathe in that spot on the rocks.”


  • I did some yellow paint touch up on the jetty.
  • Sprayed more algicide on the students’ house.
  • Shut-down the students’ house.


  • Second Nature arrived around 9:00, and properly departed around 10:00 after our unexpected whale watching trip!
  • Many eco-tours came by today.
  • A few of them appeared to be too close to the sea lions.


  • Kyle, Guy, Christine, and their daughter arrived at 9:00.
  • Guy and Christine were dropping off some gear for their upcoming shift.
  • Maya, Tazi, and Ali departed on Second Nature.

Tazi, Maya, Ali

Ali, Maya, Tazi, Mt. Baker

Glorious Food and Weather


  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots NE, later West
  • Sky: mostly clear, sunny, warm!
  • Water: calm

Mount Baker!



  • 15 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • They spent much of the afternoon playing in the water near the jetty.

Like a pack of sausages!


  • Goose work.
  • Added one entire 55 gallon barrel into the Tidy Tank.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.


  • One small pleasure craft came through the reserve today.
  • It looked like it might have been too close to the harbour seals on Turbine.
  • Kyle and Guy brought me two boxes of food today. Much appreciated and needed!


  • I know this isn’t really related to the reserve, but I hope that Pam Birley, our honorary eco-guardian, is enjoying the celebrations of Leicester City’s first ever English Premier League win! Cheers to all you do for the reserve, and your city!

New Weaner on Great Race


  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots E, later up to 48.6 knots W
  • 48 knots falls into the “storm” category. Only “violent storm” and “hurricane” are higher on the scale. The house is shuddering.
  • Water: 2′ chop, later at least 5′
  • Sky: overcast and some rain

Large waves 1


  • The mother elephant seal on Great Race was gone this morning, making the fourth pup a weaner. He is much smaller than the previous weaner was, and over on Middle Rock the mother is still with her pup, who was born approximately 8 days before, and is quite larger. All this makes me think the mother has left prematurely?
  • In the morning Chunk spent some time chasing the weaner, but he was too slow to catch him and he gave up, later heading over to Middle Rock.
  • Chuckles showed up on Great Race afterwards and has been watching the weaner.
  • At one point I found the weaner chewing on a wire cord underneath the big old yellow diesel tank by the Energy Building.
  • Today was the first day that I saw a great blue heron at Race Rocks! Not a first in general though, or for Race Rocks.
  • Pam Birley also noticed the heron and she took some photos with the webcam.


  • Stacked some firewood.


  • Heard one small DND blast at 10:30.

River otter and e-seals

I received this photo today  of a river otter who likes curling up and going to sleep just down the slope from the remote control camera 5 from Pam Birley. Odd behaviour considering that they are usually very secretive out there on the island.

PBrivotterJan2315 I am just doing up my final notes for my oral presentation to the NEB Kinder Morgan TMX hearings in Burnaby on Thursday, and have noted that river and sea otters have not been recognized by the consultants of the oil company as being significant marine  mammals  in the Strait of Juan de Fuca . Only the Humpback and Southern Resident Orcas and the Northern Sealion are considered as representative of the marine mammals in the path of tanker traffic.  So we are supposed to believe that the Northern Sealion is a proxy for all the other marine mammals in terms of impact.

We had pointed out in past submissions that the elephant seal birthing colony is rather unique also, but no separate recognition has been forthcoming for harbour and elephant seal birthing colonies.

Today I had a look at the E-seals on the lawn using  Camera 1 with the following pics.
G. Fletcher


Rissa tridactyla: Black legged kittiwake

PB-Black-legged -Kittiwake2

Black-legged -Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla In the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

We received an e-mail today from Pam Birley of Leicester England with the photos of this Kittiwake she had taken using the remote controlled camera 5. This is a new photo record for Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Rissa (Stephens, 1826)
Species: tridactyla
Rissa tridactyla
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.


Sleepy sea lion


Light cloud cover this morning and mostly sunny in the afternoon. Wind was variable – light in the early morning picking up towards the afternoon to as high as 16kts @ 17:00. Barometer was up a little to ~1012hPA. Forecast is for winds steadying between 10-15kts, and a chance of showers this evening and Sunday.

Boats in the reserve

15 Pleasure vessels, one of which was fishing in the reserve. After failed attempts to make contact on VHF16, DFO will be notified. There were also 3 tour boats and trawler activity around the reserve.

Ecological happenings

  • New Californian Sea Lion tag sighted (C733) – no photo yet
  • Two gulls spotted with broken wings
  • Harbour seal hanging out close to RR docks

No visitors today.