Rainbow!

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles in the morning, 15 later on.
  • Wind: 10-15 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast, periods of sun, periods of rain.
  • Water: calm
  • Rainbow in the afternoon!

rainbow-4-10

Ecological

  • Saw several branded sea lions but they have already been reported recently.
  • X611, U400 etc.

Maintenance

  • Usual chores.
  • Ran the desalinator in the evening.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by today.
  • Noticed four leaving at once in the afternoon.

4-boats-leaving-reserve-4-10

Rainbows and Rough seas

 

Gold at the end of the jetty?

Gold at the end of the jetty?

Ecological Happenings

  • Strong gale force winds in the morning with showers and rough seas. Bright periods later with rainbows. Gale force winds dropping to a fresh breeze before a calmer evening.
  • Fourth elephant seal seen on North East of the main island. This one seems much smaller, though it is difficult to tell at distance.
  • The two males and female that have been here for a few days rehydrated, by taking dips in the ocean, at the jetty before returning to land.
  • Birds found sheltered spots while sea lions either saw out the rough weather in the ocean or braved the rocks. If they could get up.

Marine Vessels

  •  None

Maintenance

  • Stripped and re-built pressure washer pump. Still not operating correctly.
  • Oil leak to generator ‘B’ investigated and found. Part required to fix problem.
New Elephant seal

New Elephant seal

Male and Female Elephant seal

Male and Female Elephant seal

DSC_5692

Hmmn... maybe not

Hmmn… maybe not

Double bow

Double bow

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle

The sun tried to break through

The sun tried to break through…….

Sunset

Sunset

March 22 – Rainbows and Venus

Overcast in the morning, rain and breaks of sun in the afternoon
Wind: NE 3-17, switching to SW 2-14 in the late afternoon onwards
Air Temperature: Low 7.8°C, High 10.0°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8°C

A 2.6m high tide came overnight, sending lots of logs floating through the reserve today. A small dead octopus washed ashore near the energy building. It was noticed by the visiting Pearson students, much to the excitement of their curious marine science minds.

The visiting students returned to the college this morning.

A floatplane flew very low over Great Race this morning. One eco tour boat was seen in the reserve today.

A very bright Venus was visible this evening, soon after the sunset. It was in the west of the sky, just north of the moon.

March 17

Sunny, light rain in the late afternoon
Wind: 3-9 knots NE in the morning, 1-6 knots SE in the afternoon, calm at 18:00, 9-15 W in the evening
Air Temperature: Low 7.6°C, High 10.7°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.9°C

The morning was filled with chores: collecting garbage, tidying, cleaning the solar panels and mistaking a swimming seal for a sea otter (three times). The sea otter, which visited the ecological reserve during the winter hasn’t been seen within the past few weeks.

I was off the reserve for a few hours in the afternoon to drop off garbage and pick up gas, groceries, deionized water for the batteries and cleaning supplies. It happened to coincide with Elizabeth May giving a talk at the college.

The sea lions were very active and vocal leading up to the sunset at 19:21.

There were no boats seen in the reserve today.

Eagles, waves and engine troubles

The barometer continued to rise today, from 1019 hPa to 1024 hPa.  The wind blew from the west and southwest between 14 and 34 knots.  The sky was mostly clear, with occasional brief showers and rainbows.  There was a large swell coming in from the west.

There were no boats seen in the reserve today.

There were four bald eagles seen in the reserve this morning.  Large groups of gulls got to practice their evasive manoeuvres as the eagles flew overhead.  Our UK camera viewer, Pam Birley, spotted a peregrine falcon on the helicopter pad at 15:20.

I was unsuccessful in running the monthly check on the fire pump and refill of the salt water cistern, but not for lack of trying.  I strung all the hoses from the jetty to the underground cistern, only to find that neither engine was willing to start and pump.  I will continue to tinker with those engines.  On the up side, I got to practice unrolling and rolling all the hoses.

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

rainbows

A day of squalls. Sunny periods, followed by sideways rain. Lot’s of rainbows all day.

This photo was forwarded on to me out at Race Rocks from a client on one of the eco-tour companies that operates out of Victoria and is a frequent visitor to the reserve. Because of the challenges in tranquilizing a marine mammal, there is very little that can be done for these animals. However, this incident highlights the fact that eco-tour companies can play a critical role in marine conservation by reporting these incidents and by educating their clients about issues surrounding marine debris. There are some great programs out there that focus on shoreline cleanups. Keep an eye out and volunteer for your local beach  cleanups. They usually happen in the summer and are a lot of fun.

For older posts in the log on the topic of sea lion entanglement or ‘rings’ see this link, and for newer incidences search the tag “entanglement“. For injured marine mammal photos from a previous eco-guardian Ryan Murphy see this flikr site.

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Last days of November, and my shift…

Well my 3 month shift is almost over and plans are being made for Alex’s arrival for the winter. The station is looking pretty good and all systems are working well. The time of the Sea Lion fades and the time of the Elephant Seal begins…

A few pelicans remain including this second banded individual, R41. You can learn more about pelican conservation at: http://blog.bird-rescue.org/ (and many other birds…)

King Misery is quietly staking his territory, going back and forth between here and Middle Rocks. The young male Chunk is about, and being cautious, but Misery hasn’t pummelled him yet as far as I can tell… there are about 8 E-seals in the Reserve.

We have had beautiful and oft-changing weather over this last week. I caught this double-rainbow the other day… Note pelicans on rocks beneath…

Double Rainbow over Pelicans and Gulls

What is your best guess?

Bunting perhaps?

And finally these sparrow-sized birds were about for a few days, feeding voraciously. These are snow buntings, down from their summer range in the Arctic.

 

 

 

 

 

Update and Female Elephant Seal

Rainbow taken by Jake last week

Sorry for the log neglect the past few days. I have been off island a bit and adjusting to a new computer, here is a quick update:

Saturday we were again unable to get off the island due to the weather but made it off Sunday to drop off Jake and stock up on food.  Jake was out for 6 days (had planned on 3) and was good company and a great help while he was here with the solar tilt installation, lots of clean up and putting his carpentry skills to work building shelving and storage space. Thanks Jake!

Yesterday the weather was good (t-shirt) and sea was calm so I made a quick trip off island again to get plumbing parts for a rainwater capture system.

On my return there was a female elephant seal hauled out near the jetty. She seems quite small and not afraid of me at all.  She was quite stubborn about clearing the rail to let the boat back into the boat house.