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.

Highest recorded temperature, Fuel inventory, and Supplies

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles, later 15
  • Wind: 5-10 knots, later 25, West
  • Water: rippled
  • Sky: rain and/or sun throughout the day
  • According to the Davis Weather Station, today had the highest recorded temperature at Race Rocks for any February 12th since the station was set up in 2006. Today’s high was 11.6 C, beating last years record of 9.8 C.

Ecological

  • In the morning Chuckles went over to Weaner’s corpse and looked at him, rolled him around, and sat on him. Then he left the island.
  • Chunk came back and rejoined the two females and pup.
  • Middle Rock mum and pup still there.
  • I decided to start calling the new female Lady.

Maintenance

  • Conducted a fuel inventory list for Jeff of Maintenance. Good news: there is more than enough fuel to last until after I leave.
  • Scraped rust off of the two empty 55 gallon diesel barrels and spray painted them to extend their useable life.

Boats

  • Jeff and an assistant came by at about 14:00 to drop off food supplies, a ramp for the diesel tanks, and to have a look at the Davis Weather Station wind reader. Unlike the other day though, the wind reader seemed to be working just fine.
  • One eco-tour boat came by at about 15:00. It seemed to be closer to the sea lions than the guidelines allow.

Too close?

Male Elephant Seals: Island Swap

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-10 knots, at various times from the N, W, S, and E.
  • Water: calm
  • Sky: overcast, then rain, then sunny.

Ecological

  • Chuckles spent the day lying on the grass on the SE corner of Great Race.
  • Chunk attempted to mate with the grieving mother in the morning.
  • After mating, Chunk chased the new female and seemed to wound her slightly, before giving up the chase and going into the water.
  • Chunk spent the rest of the day on Middle Rock with the mother and pup.
  • The newest (fourth) pup is still doing well.

Maintenance

  • Finished stacking firewood under the stairs of the Students’ House.
  • Hauled away many small chunks of wood from near the ramp.
  • Noticed that the wind direction meter seems to be malfunctioning at the Davis Weather Station. Looking into what can be done.

Boats

  • One eco-tour boat passed by at 14:00 heading West, before returning at 15:30. At times it seemed to be closer to the rocks than is permitted.
Closer than the mammal watching guidelines?

Closer than the mammal watching guidelines?

March 15 – Raining

Rain (22.6 mm in total)
Wind: 2-9 knots NE in the morning, 4-29 knots NE to WSW in the afternoon/evening
Air Temperature: Low 6.3°C, High 8.9°C
Ocean Temperature: 9.0°C

The students visiting from Pearson were picked up this morning by Chris in Second Nature. They were a great help around the island for the past week as they helped clean and organize. They also pursued their own projects in diving, photography, identifying the flora and fauna, catching up on their studying and locating the mysterious secret room at Race Rocks.

The day was spent doing lots of odd jobs around the island: securing a large log for firewood, cleaning windows, de-algaefying buildings and computer work.

There were a lot of new puddles formed today in the grass and rocks. 22.6 mm of rain was recorded by the Davis weather station, which is located in the middle of Great Race near the flagpole.

A large river otter was spotted this morning scampering up the jetty beach, then underneath the boardwalk by the tank room.

March 4 – Eagle Gathering

Sunny
Wind: 8 knots NNE in the morning, diminishing in the afternoon and switching to W in the evening
Air Temperature: High 9C, Low 4C
Ocean Temperature: 8.8C

Twelve bald eagles were hanging out on the South Islands this morning. Many of them stuck around for the rest of the day, flying to different perches around the reserve.

Chunk left the main island at some point last night. The female elephant seal is still camped out to the east of the main house.

Courtney and Max visited for a couple hours this morning to do some maintenance on the cameras and other technology. Camera 5 is almost online again. One more replacement part needs to be installed in the coming days. The Davis weather station is back up and running after a few days offline. Thanks to Max fixing the computer that uploads the weather data.

There was more munitions blasting today at nearby Rocky Point.

Three eco tour boats visited the reserve today.

End of Shift

The wind blew from the northeast at 13-26 knots.  A small swell with whitecaps blew in from the northeast.  The barometer dropped from 1024 hPa to 1015 hPa.  The temperature reached a high of 5oC at 15:00.

There were no boats seen within the reserve today.

Everyday there appears to be fewer gulls and sea lions in the reserve.  An official count will happen on Thursday with the census.  There are still a lot of cormorants congregating on the shores of Great Race, as well as Turbine Rock and North Rocks.  The harbour seals are hauling out at low tides on various rocky ledges close to the shoreline.

Today was filled with cleaning and wrapping up some tasks that I’ve been doing while here for the past five weeks: construction in the basement of the Marine Science Centre, sorting out photos, and cutting up firewood that was collected at the shore and piled up by the tank house to get the salt rinsed off by the rain. Tomorrow is a shift change that will see Alex arrive for the winter shift.  I’ve had a great time as the Ecoguardian, learning lots from the species and history of this beautiful piece of land and sea.