Whistling House

There was a big blow last night and I learned that this house can whistle; with three distinct tones, synchronously, very musical. This morning there was a swell from the southeaster and an even bigger groundswell coming in from open sea to the west. Add the tidal race to the mix and you can imagine that the wave patterns created were mesmerizing.

It seemed like the day was in recovery from the storm, with gentle winds from the north-northeast, light rain and overcast. The pattern of barometric pressure change was not so reassuring, falling since noon it is now back below 998 hPa. That is where it was for last night’s big blow. It looks like the forecast is for more of the same.

There were six whale-watching boats observed in the Ecological Reserve today; five Canadian and the almost daily visitor from Port Angeles, called Island Explorer. The big draw, other than Race Rocks itself, were abundant Humpback Whales in the area. It certainly wasn’t the weather. At least two of the Humpback Whales were in the Ecological Reserve .

There were four Elephant Seals on the marine railway today, Gat (#5850-6967) , Flake and two larger animals. They ‘played’ together and then slept together for most of the day. More sealions than have hauled out since about a week ago, were also sleeping soundly throughout the day today, perhaps recovering from last night.

Euju ringneck south2 Oct 22

The three entangled Stellers sealions that are proposed candidates for disentanglement were all attending, two of them hauling out close to the living-room window of the science house.


Euju ringneck west 2 Oct 22

Euju ringneck west Oct22 Euju hi-top ringneck Oct22

When I was doing the seawater sample I noticed a couple of Harlequin Ducks foraging on the north side of the island. I would like to see them on the underwater camera.

Hadu M & F

More shorebirds were observed foraging on the abandoned sealion haul-out today; Dunlin, Western Sandpipers and Sanderlings were foraging with the Black Turnstones. The smaller birds were kneading the substrate with their feet and probing. That area is completely covered in a mat of sealion hair from their moult.

sand tapping

Even though it was a dark and gloomy day, the solar panels managed to keep up with operational, electrical use. The generator is just cooling now after topping up the batteries for the night.

Sea Scouts

Moderate West wind, easing in the afternoon. Low West swell. Patchy clouds.

A group of sea scouts came out for a tour today. They left out of Victoria Harbour on a schooner called Passing Cloud (Operated by Outer Shores Expeditions). They spent a couple hours on the island. Learning about the animals, the history of Race Rocks, and taking a look at the world from the top of the lighthouse.

mammal count

10kts NE wind. Cloudy, but still no rain.
Tour boats: 5
Dive boats: 2

Marine Mammal Count
Stellar Sea lion: 272
California Sea lion: 396
Harbour seal: 78
Elephant seal: 8

Harlequin Duck: 4
Sanderling: 1


Sanderling (Calidris alba) and a Black Turnstone


Another breakfast eagle sighting this morning.


Sea lions on the North-Eastern flats of Greater Race Rock

-tidied boat shed


Christmas Bird Count at Race Rocks: Dec.29, 2012


This gallery contains 2 photos.

In most years since 1997  we have been able to contribute to the Christmas Bird Count for the Sooke/Victoria area. This website contains all the past records: This year, Garry Fletcher was picked up with the station boat by the … Continue reading

Animal Notes and Census

A few days ago we had two unusual visitors to our waters. Two Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) spent several days on Great Race and North Rocks. Brown Pelicans, though the smalles of pelicans, are enormous birds weighing up to 6 kilos and measuring up to 135 cms with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters.

A visitor from warmer climes….

Northern vacation to Race Rocks….

We have had two other unusual visitors in the last week. I discovered a Barred Owl in the boathouse attacking a Starling (another recent arrival), and Pam our avid photographer friend from England got several pictures of Peregrine Falcons that came through hunting sparrows and starlings. Pam’s pictures can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66339356@N00/sets/72157628747376295/

Another tagged e-seal showed up in the boathouse yesterday.

Might as well hang out somewhere cozy…

Tagged 7225

 Animal Census Nov 8 2012

Species Current Population (Est)
Stellar/Northern Sea Lion  30
Elephant Seal  7
Harbour Seal  200
California Sea Lion  50
Glaucous-winged Gull  150
Herring Gull  300
California Gull  30
Heerman’s Gull  80
Black Turnstones  100
Surfbird  6
Pelagic Cormorants  40
Brandt’s Cormorant  30
Killdeer   6
Dunlin  16
Harlequin Ducks  20
Canada Goose  14
Bald Eagle  3
Black Oyster-catcher  40
Sanderlings  8
Starlings  8
Race Rocks Eco-Guardian  1
Rhinoceros Auklet  100
Common Murre  100
Sparrows  20
Brown Pelican  2
Barred Owl  1
Peregrine Falcon  2