Turkey Vulture


  • The 8am weather report.
  • Visibility: 10 miles, 15+ later on
  • Wind: 10-15 knots North, continuous 25-30 knots W noon onwards
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Last night the foghorn sounded off between 23:00 and midnight.
  • This morning there was a pleasant rainbow over the reserve.


  • At around 13:45 a Turkey Vulture appeared over Great Race.
  • It flew around the island for about 15 minutes, engaging in many aerial battles with the seagulls.
  • Apparently their appearance in the reserve at this time of year is uncommon.
  • There remained the same 3 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • In the late afternoon a harbour seal was planked on a rock near the jetty.


  • 3 eco-tours came by in the afternoon.


March 21 – Scaffolding and a Turkey Vulture

Light rain and partially cloudy in the early morning; sunny for the rest of the day
Wind: W 6-27 knots
Air Temperature: Low 8.4°C, High 11.4°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8°C

The visiting group of students toured the island and helped run the desalinator. In the afternoon they did a leadership initiative of setting up two levels of scaffolding and scrubbing the algae from the west wall of the Marine Science Centre. They did an amazing job of looking out for everyone’s safety and cleaning the walls.

A turkey vulture was seen in the early afternoon hovering by the Eco-Guardian’s house. It flew north towards Bentinck Island. They are rarely seen here at this time of year. Occasionally they pass through in the fall, on their southern migration routes.

There were two eco tour boat seen in the reserve today.

Camera 2 Reconnected

The weather changed many times today. It started out foggy with no wind, then cleared with a light north wind. Then it clouded over and blew a little more from the southeast. By late after noon there was light rain, which continued into the evening while the wind shifted back to the northeast. The barometer remained fairly steady until this evening when it started to fall. The forecast for the weekend is cloudy with showers and a strong wind warning for central Juan de Fuca Strait.

Only one whale watching boat was noted in the Ecological Reserve today and it arrived in front of the jetty at the exact time that Second Nature arrived with students from Pearson. Second nature tied up to the jetty and conducted a working dive installing the underwater camera (Webcam #2). Half the team dealt with mounting and connecting the camera while the rest of the crew ran the cable out and secured it along the way. Everyone was well-briefed top-side and it was probably a thrilling dive with the many sea lions in the water all around the divers. Students Stuart, Alex and Sean were in the water with Chris and Courtney led Joliene, Sarah and Yam. Riikka was dive marshal and had a crew of three who made sure that everything went according to plan. The camera is installed and connected and we should be able to view it again shortly.

I didn’t spend much time on ecological observations today but as I was wheel barrowing gear around in the morning, I looked up and saw a big flock of Turkey Vultures. They seemed to be coming from Rocky Point and heading across the Strait to Washington State. They seemed to be using the light tower as a navigation aid. I counted and the group included 102 birds. Five of them turned around just after Race Rocks, maybe they had forgotten their passports.

Today was a clean-up and re-group day here. I tidied up after the electricians and moved and packaged up the waste and debris from the oil change on the Lister generator. The solar panels were washed, fresh water made and electricity generated. Just before the dive was over I launched the boat and went to pick up Alex.

Carrier, Vulture, Relief Guardian

Today a relief guardian came out to take my place for about a week.   A pair of Turkey Vultures  landed on the island and an air craft carrier passed by in the distance behind Rosedale Reef.  Oddly, on close examination this carrier appears to be carrying cars not aircraft on its upper deck.


turkey vulture
See this file on Turkey Vultures at Race Rocks


A Turkey Vulture was flying about in the strong winds,

Thursday, June 06, 2002
Good Evening
TEMPERATURE: Max. 12.0 C  Min. 11.0 C  Reset 11.0
MARINE LIFE: Early this morning one Bald Eagle flew around the Gulls nests, spending around 10 minutes looking for prey, despite the constant harassment by the Gulls. The eagle flew of to the west, and was out of site. Perhaps an hour later two Bald Eagles were spotted hunting together, they brought down a Glaucous-winged Gull and one eagle was seen carrying a Gull wing away. There was also other interesting bird action mid-morning. A Turkey Vulture was flying about in the strong winds, attempting to find food. The winds were a challenge for the vulture, with the bird struggling in the gusts. It was particularly noteworthy that the Black Oyster Catchers made a great effort to harass the vulture. This was caught on video just before the divers entered the water and can be seen at http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/archives/vidbenmovie.htm The divers reported an abundance of sperm and eggs in the nutrient rich water off the docks.
HUMAN IMPACT: No whale watching activity within the reserve today. Indeed the strongs winds, 25-35 knots, kept most vessels away. Hyaku docked twice, bringing equipment and materials for the web-cast and conduit repairs. One major disturbance was the Defence Forces Blasting on Bentinck Island which clearly frightened the Sea lions into the water, Around 10 of the 12 Sea lions disapeared within the first two blasts, approximately 10:30am, and have not yet returned. (Note: As of June 18- they have not retruned- will not be back until August now. ) .The three blasts with only a few minutes spacing sent shock waves that rattled the house and were not at all pleasant.
posted by at 9:45 PM
Good MorningWEATHER: Sky Partly Cloudy  Vis. 12miles  Wind West 25-30knots Sea 2-3 foot chop and risingposted by at 6:42 AM

Turkey Vultures often land here during the fall migration—

Thursday, March 28, 2002
Good Evening
TEMPERATURE: Max. 8.1 C Min. 6.0 C Reset 7.1 C  Rain 2.6 mm
MARINE LIFE: 4 Bald Eagles – 3 mature, only one pair of Geese today. Another wet and windy day but did have some visitors of note-just before noon 4 Turkey Vultures landed on the ridge just west of the Learning Centre. The other birds were somewhat wary but did not try to drive away the big vultures as they do with the eagles.The geese were very curious and waddled over to have a look all the time waving their necks back and forth. Unfortunately by the time the geese made their way from the flagpole to where the vultures were, they had taken off towards Bentinck Island.Turkey Vultures often land here during the fall migration but this is the first time I can remember seeing them in the spring.The small elephant seal is still hauled out on the ramp,it’s nose just 3 metres from the boat house door, quite comfortable and unconcerned with us passing by even just inches away.
HUMAN INTERACTION: The College boat in with supplies and to pick up the power washer for return to campus.
posted by Carol or Mike S at 6:06 PM

Good MorningWEATHER: Sky Cloudy �� Vis. 15 Miles �� Wind South West 21 Knots �� Sea 3 Foot Moderate

posted by Carol or Mike S at 6:34 AM