A Windy Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-30 knots West all day
  • Sky: mostly clear.
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Saw a Steller sea lion branded 365Y.
  • Saw a California sea lion branded U949
  • I’m pretty sure the high winds were responsible for some of the lower bird counts.
  1. Harbour Seals: 114
  2. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 65
  3. California Sea Lions: 63
  4. Elephant Seals: 11 (8 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 251
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 68
  7. Cormorants unspecified: 22
  8. Canada Geese: 17
  9. Black Turnstones: 16
  10. Surfbirds: 5
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 5 (2 males and 3 females)
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 4
  13. Savannah Sparrows: 4
  14. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)
  15. Crows: 2

Other

  • I spent a good portion of the day ill in bed.

Helicopter Generator Swap

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North
  • Sky: mostly overcast, some rain in the evening.
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • There were eight elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • That is the most I have seen out here during this current shift.
  • Three of the younger males enjoyed a spirited bout or two.
  • The rest of them snoozed off in pairs or alone.
  • The birds and sea lions were definitely disrupted by the helicopter.

Maintenance

  • Kyle and four men from the Coast Guard removed the old Generator B.
  • A Coast Guard helicopter then dropped off a new generator, and took away the old one.
  • They then placed the new generator in its spot.
  • I helped out with various auxiliary tasks, but mostly just took photographs.
  • Tidied up loose tools after everyone had departed.

Boats

  • Second Nature.
  • A few eco-tours.

Visitors

  • Kyle, the four Coast Guard men, and Ian and Stephen.
  • They all departed in the early afternoon.

Other

  • Coast Guard helicopter overflight.

 

Census and Students

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots South.
  • From 17:00 onwards, 15-20 knots West.
  • Sky: clear and sunny most of the day.
  • From 17:00 onwards, some clouds and rain.
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • One sea lion was branded U958.
  • Colour wise it looks like a Steller, but if you look at the head I think it was a California.
  • Laura and her class found a sculpin (type of fish) head.
  • Four of what I suspect to be Short-billed Dowitchers today. Fun to watch!
  • Didn’t see the killdeer today, which is unusual.
  1. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 66
  2. Harbour Seals: 60
  3. California Sea Lions: 57
  4. Elephant Seals: 13 (4 on Great Race, 9 on Middle Rock)
  5. Pigeon Guillemots:  269
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 154
  7. Surfbirds: 57
  8. Canada Geese: 17
  9. Black Turnstones: 17
  10. Cormorants unspecified: 14
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 9 (5 males and 4 females)
  12. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  13. Savannah Sparrows: 6
  14. Short-billed Dowitchers: 4
  15. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)

Boats

  • A couple of eco-tours came by.
  • Second Nature came out multiple times, delivering 4 groups of students.
  • On her second last return, she had overheating issues, so Kyle had to come out in Haiku for the last trip.

Visitors

  • Kyle, James, Laura, and 26 students came out to Race Rocks today.
  • The students were doing a walk about with Laura, discussing marine biology for their upcoming final exam.
  • James did some work on the Davis Weather station and got most of it working again.

Other

  • Four DND blasts today.
  • 10:05, 10:07, 11:24, and 11:26.

The Return of Otter

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5-10 knots North East, then from 15:00 onwards 15-25 knots West
  • Sky: mostly overcast
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • This morning at about 7:00 I spied the Otter wandering along the wooden deck.
  • Later in the early evening I spied him again and got two photos!
  • Saw one branded California Sea Lion: X[?]60
  • Watched fascinated as two crows boldly flew up to two eagles and scampered about next to them!
  • Saw some seagulls muck about in a goose nest. I think they were eating the eggs.
  1. Harbour Seals: 70
  2. California Sea Lions: 70
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 53
  4. Elephant Seals: 9 (2 on Great Race, 7 on Middle Rock)
  5. River Otter: 1
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 172
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 138
  8. Surfbirds: 88
  9. Cormorants unspecified: 49 (all on Middle Rocks)
  10. Canada Geese: 19
  11. Black Turnstones: 14
  12. Harlequin Ducks: 9 (5 males and 4 females)
  13. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  14. Bald Eagles: 2 (2 adults, 0 immature)
  15. Savannah Sparrow: 2
  16. Crows: 2

Maintenance

  • Lots of intense goose work.
  • Pumped one 55 gallon barrel of diesel into the tidy tank.

Boats

  • A couple of eco-tours came by, as well as pleasure craft.
  • In the late morning, several kayakers entered the reserve.
  • Most of them stayed over by the North Rocks, but a few wandered down to South Rocks.
  • Some of them had difficulty dealing with the strong ebb tidal current, and had to renegotiate their route to rejoin the others.
  • Stay safe out there!

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.

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.

Film Crew Boat Tour

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots N/NE in the morning, down to zero in the evening
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • The weaner did more wandering around today.
  • I observed/listened to a pair of bald eagles talking to each other.

Maintenance

  • Checked and topped up over 1/4 of the battery bank.

Boats

  • Kyle brought out a small film crew in Second Nature to film the Steller sea lions.
  • However it was too choppy at the jetty to land, so they simply did a boat tour instead.
  • A couple of eco-tours came by later on.

Whale Sighting!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots West, later 5 knots South, then 5-10 West
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Census day!
  • Shortly before 15:30 as I was counting shorebirds, I heard a loud noise to my right. Glancing over, I was thrilled to see a whale surfacing in the South Channel. I managed to get some photos as it resurfaced farther south-west.
  1. California Sea Lions: 79
  2. Harbour Seals: 69
  3. Steller (Northern) Sea Lions: 33
  4. Elephant Seals: 3, all on Great Race, 2 young males, 1 weaner
  5. Whale: 1 (I think it was an Orca)
  6. Seagulls unspecified: 269
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 45
  8. Cormorants unspecified: 30
  9. Double Crested Cormorants: 9
  10. Surfbirds: 37
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 27 (15 males and 12 females)
  12. Canada Geese: 24
  13. Black Turnstones: 20
  14. Bald Eagles: 20 (4 adults, 16 immature)
  15. Black Oystercatchers: 6
  16. Rock Sandpipers: 4
  17. Crows: 3

Boats

  • A few eco-tours passed by today.
  • Second Nature came out with food supplies for me.
  • A large navy sailboat passed by north of the reserve.

Visitors

  • Kyle and Jeff came out in Second Nature.

Other

  • One helicopter flew just south of the reserve in the morning.

Grey day before the gale

Weather

East wind ,9 knots calm . Despite the quiet atmosphere the current has been very strong with a big swell coming from East . It would have been impossible to land Today and it has been a grey day cloudy with a low sky .It has been foggy on Sooke and Vancouver Island You could feel the change of weather and the gale expected for the night. At 7:30 PM the wind was already between 29 and 34 knots.and 42 at 9:00PM and 43 at 10PM

Ecological

The colony of Guillemots is back(around 70) around the jetty like usual fishing in the strong currents of the outgoing tide.There were still some Stellers Sea Lions but not more than 15 but very closed on the rocks under the yellow tanks. The geese were getting so busy and noisy . You could see them on the most surprising spots of the island. We had to clean the alleys again . they put so much mess..dropping everywhere.

other

No eco tour boats  and a blast from DND