Hello all, I realise that it has been a little while since I last wrote in the daily log. Things have been busy. Ocean Educations, a three week summer diving program at Pearson College just finished this week and I’ve been busy with that, as well as keeping a German film crew of four from German public TV busy -you may have noticed Tom, Christian, Florian and Michael on the Island this week). They were busy shooting two documentaries at Race Rocks. They left this morning and I’m pleased to say that they acquired some stunning footage, above and below the water, during their stay. Things have quieted down a bit now though, so I hope to be a bit more regular in my entries for these last few weeks of my stationing at Race. Many of you will be pleased to hear that camera 5 has been repaired. Apparently there was a problem in the electrical board inside. I have it on the Island and am planning on re-installing on its mount tomorrow. If all goes to plan, it should be up and running by tomorrow afternoon. Over the last week or so, the sea lions have made quite a return. I ‘d estimate that there are probably around 100 individuals in the Reserve right now, with an equal split between northern sea lions and California sea lions. Their numbers will continue to grow as the summer draws slowly to a close. Slash is still hauled up on Great Race these days, as always. I’ve not seen Misery for a while now, although it ”s possible he’s out on Middle Rock as I saw a couple of elephant seals out there a few days ago. I suspect that Misery got a bit sick of Slash and decided to seek out some peace and quiet. There was also a mature female here for a few days late last week and early this week, but she has since left. The gull chicks are now getting quite large. Many have started to fledge and are beginning to ”test their wings ”. I ‘ve not seen any in the air yet, although I ”ve seen many flapping their limbs energetically as they try to see how their wings work! This week I also found quite a large number of dead and/or injured chicks. I think they are often attacked by other adults from outside their territory. There is actually a chick right outside my basement door that has been there for four days now; my best guess is that it wandered or ran off far from the nest then couldn ‘t find its way back. On the third day -yesterday), I woke up to find it with a broken wing. It ”s quite sad to see it huddling in the damp grass with a broken wing, while a couple of metres away, a mother feeds her three healthy chicks. Quite a stark division. I expect this chick will soon die from starvation or predation. I saw the otter several times this week. I haven ”t seen as many eagles around this week as I have in previous weeks. I ”ll keep you updated to this poor little gull over the next few days. That ”s all for now. Adam’, ’21:20:54 ,
Misery and Slash are still co-habitating on the Island these days, although Slash is definitely filling the alpha male role. It ”s quite interesting, as Misery is very aware that he is not the dominant one and may often be observed scooting down a path or taking the long way into the water in order to avoid a confrontation with Slash. More and more seagull nests are hatching every day. This week I ‘ve been noticing two or three per day. The ones that hatched first are now getting quite big! There are still oystercatcher babies over by the jetty, and they too are getting large. Along the baby line, I ”ve been noticing a number of baby harbour seals around the rocks. We ”re in prime pupping season for them now.’, ‘adam’, ’22:13:15 ,
Elephant Seal pup on Middle Rocks, January 21, 2010.
‘2010-01-17’, ‘Elephant Seal’, 4, ‘Both Slash and Misery have been hauled out on Great Race Island this past week. Misery prefers to take the higher ground to keep a strategic advantage against any of Slash ”s aggression. Misery has new bite wounds on his flank, though nothing like what Slash inflicted on him in the spring. Slash has a small cut on his nare and a small puncture wound on his hood/trunk. Pam Birley has captured and shared some photos on her flickr site which depict one of their territorial disputes in action! Both males trumpet -gurgle-burp) throughout the day, but most often at night. Neither male visibly responds to the other ”s calls. A small female has been seen frequently hauled out in the small cove formed by the gut on the South side of the island. She is much too small to mate or to climb from there up onto the rest of the island. Misery has been spending a lot of his time lounging around the Energy Centre, about 10m from the small female. Slash left here last night to join a large adult female on Middle Rock. I do not know if she is one of the three identifiable adult females who have visited Great Race Island this year, though she is the best candidate for another baby so far this season.’, ‘Ryan’, ’12:34:44 ,
-2009-12-30 ‘Elephant Seal’, 4, ‘A more or less constant number of elephant seals in the reserve this past week. Both our adult and sub-adult males -Slash and Misery) have been spending most of their time on Great Race Island. Misery has been napping near the lighthouse for most of the week while Slash has been moving around Great Race Island and going back and forth between here and Middle Rocks where two or three females are hauled out.’, ‘Ryan’, ’08:23:02
‘Two peregrine falcons were observed at the reserve today. One had taken position near on the lighthouse itself and its territorial calls first alerted me to its presence. Another bird had perched on the rocks to the SE of Great Race Island. No hunting was observed.’Ryan’, ’15:52:00 ,
‘Slash has been making short trips into the water and over to Middle Rocks but remains mostly hauled out here at Great Race Island. Two adult cow elephant seals are on Middle Rocks today, and a third female is here on the E side of the main island.’, ‘Ryan’, ’15:53:05 ,
The baby elephant seal is present outside the concrete pad again today. Its back is covered in small wounds and every move it takes seems to be an effort. It spent all day sleeping beside the jetty. Wondering if it is sick or in poor health..The number of sea lions (both stellar and California) is growing daily. Most are hauled out on the NE corner of Gr. Race and on Middle Rock. Some are also on the southern rocks as well. A flock of four Canada Geese was present on the island for a few hours this morning. Seagull chicks are still growing, with many spreading their wings and starting to lift off from the ground. Carcasses in various stages of decomposition have been found scattered across the island this week, with two new ones beside the cistern spotted yesterday. Slash has not been seen for a week now. A number of infractions from recreational boats occurred today, including viewing animals from less than 100 metres, fishing and traveling at speeds greater than 7 kts. Recreational boaters are reminded that violation of the Marine Mammal Regulations (rev. 2006) may constitute a fine up to $100 000. Adam, 21:25:22
Ryan has observed a lot of aggression on the part of the young male which had previously been named Misery by Mike Slater.
The baby was born beside the helicopter pad, and has spent the first day there, trying to nurse. The interference by the aggressive male has made this difficult.
January 30, 2009: This is what we believe is the first elephant seal pup to be born at Race Rocks. It arrived last night or early this morning. See the daily log also for updates. Ryan and Adam have dubbed the pup NINENE, after the WSANEC (Saanich people) moon that it was born under, meaning, child or offspring
Adam Harding took this video at close range from the top of the helipad.The second one was taken on the morning of February 1 from inside of the Marine Centre on Great Race Rocks
In the weeks that followed, Nine went through a In the month following the birth, the pup Ninene, which Ryan observed was a female , went through an incredible amount of trauma while being attacked viciously by the young male Misery. Here we document the process. It is not a pleasant site and at the time of writing, it is still not certain whether this pup will survive. After 4 weeks, weaning took place and the mother left permanently. On the California pupping beaches, the pups normally stay on the pupping grounds often guarded by a male for 5 to 8 weeks longer, without feeding. Then they get hungry and go to the water to feed on their own in shallow protected water . If Ninene makes it that far it will be quite exceptional. Caution: may not be suitable for children.
|Bruises showing on the pup.||Male grasping the pup|
Elephant Seal Male Aggression Videos
The trauma of her first four weeks when she was nursing were minor compared to what happened when her mother left and she was weaned. The young male we have called “Misery” turned on Ninene and beat up on her severely, so much that we considered she was very close to death. Ultimately she was saved by Slash, our old elephant seal, possibly her father, who took on the young male. The following images are not the worst of what we had to watch while this drama unfolded.
On April 7 we were forwarded an e-mail from Dyanna Lambourn, a Marine Mammal Research Biologist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Lakewood, WA with this picture by Duane Benedict of the Port Angeles Police Department of a Northern Elephant Seal pup that showed up in Port Angeles on April 2nd. She indicates “I suspect it is probably the pup from Race Rocks… I went to the Race Rocks website and it appears that “NINENE” left around that same time. The pup is hauled out in downtown Port Angeles and the plan is to relocate her to the tip of Edis Hook on US Coast Guard Property today. Hopefully the pup will also be tagged.”
A wintery day at Race Rocks and Ryan takes a few pictures of Slash