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.

Return of the Harbour Seal

Weather

  • Visibility: 5 miles in the morning, 15 during the day.
  • Wind: 20-25 knots NE, down to 5-10 in the afternoon, then back up to 25.
  • Sky: overcast and rain followed by some sun in the afternoon.
  • Water: 2′ chop

Ecological

  • Saw three branded California sea lions: 7960, 8985, and U503.
  • Yesterday’s Harbour Seal near the jetty returned for another plank.
  • Saw an unidentifiable whale surfacing south of Rosedale Rock.

Maintenance

  • The usual chores
  • Couldn’t fully fix the electric fence near the energy building since the elephant seals who were lying on parts of the fence refused to move.

Boats

  • Saw a Search and Rescue boat along with a few eco-tours.

Fog ‘n Whales

Weather

  • Visibility: ranging between 0 and 15+ miles today.
  • Wind: 0-5 knots, at various times from the N, S, or W.
  • Sky: cloudy and often very foggy.
  • Water: calm.

Ecological

  • At least 3 orcas swam along the edge of the reserve from West Rock towards the North Rocks this afternoon.
  • They were followed by several boats.
  • Noticed a few elephant seals mingling with the sea lions near the energy building and on the ramp.

Maintenance

  • Reset the electric fence in the morning.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • The usual stuff like toilet maintenance, sea water sample, and generator.

Boats

  • When it wasn’t foggy there were several ecotours in the reserve today.
  • Several times there were three boats quite close together viewing the sea lions.
  • At times I wondered if perhaps some of the ecotours were both technically in the reserve (not allowed when whales are present) and too close to the whales (see above photos).

Other

  • Three pairs of DND blasting today.
  • 11:47 and 11:49.
  • 1:28 and 1:30.
  • 2:24 and 2:26.
  • The Fog Horn was active much of the night and often throughout the day.

Sunny May Day on the Rock

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots NE, then S
  • Sky: clear and sunny!
  • Water: calm
  • Welcome springtime!

Ecological

  • The usual 15 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • Thought I saw whales out West at sunset. I definitely saw something coming up for air and blowing jets of water.

Elephant seal salad

Maintenance

  • Wrote the April month end report today amongst the usual chores.

Boats

  • 5 eco-tours came by today.
  • Some of them appeared to be too close to the harbour seals on Turbine Rock.
  • The viewing distance for boats near marine mammal haul-outs has been accepted by the Ecotour community to be 100 metres.

Other

  • DND blasts at 10:14, 10:16, and 10:20.

Strong Winds

Ecological Happenings

  • One whale (possibly humpback) spotted today, close to the reserve
  • Active salmon feeding (birds and Sea Lions)

Marine Vessels

  • Four tour boats today. We encourage boats to maintain a speed of 7kts max when within the reserve. Take the time to travel slowly out of the reserve when heading back to Victoria, and watch for wildlife!
  • Three pleasure vessels

Other

  • Four students made a brief visit to the reserve today
  • Strong winds of up to 36 kts today

Fencing Success!

Weather

Fog early this morning, turning into a fine day. Varying winds of up to 11kts between North and East directions. The barometer got up to 102.6, dropping back to 102.4. A strong wind warning is in effect for tonight and tomorrow (Wednesday), as well as forecast showers.

Boating activity

  • Helicopter over the reserve early morning
  • 5 tour boats today (2 of which were travelling quite fast within the reserve)
  • Only one pleasure craft spotted

Ecological happenings

  • One whale spotted between RR and Port Angeles

Maintenance

  • Several attempts were made at rewiring the electric fence around the dock ( 2nd time lucky!). We now have zero – as opposed to eight – Sea Lions on the dock)
  • Paths on RR were swept
  • We have commenced a critical equipment check for the island

No visitors today.

Balaenoptera acutorostrata: Minke Whale–The Race Rocks Taxonomy

Minke whales are being seen more frequently in recent years off Race Rocks .  See the posts on Minke whales sighted from the Ecological Reserve.
(We are still waiting for a picture of whales in the Ecological Reserve.)

For reporting Minke whales, go to  the Northeast Pacific minke whale project.

The BC Cetacean Sightings Network has a good description and images:

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Species: B. acutorostrata

 

Other Members of the Class Mammalia at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.

 

Unusual use of the solar panel water bucket

It has been a gorgeous summer day, not too warm here with the fresh breeze coming from the ocean. We found another Chick’s dead body under the gasoil tank, which makes the total number to 5 dead ones. We guess that is the job of a river otter because they have all the same look, guts facing the sky? We had Whale watchers as usual around, 15 in the day and in the strait a navy vessel, a tugboat pulling a wood load, and 2 RCMP zodiacs could be seen. Those last days it’s just evident that we have a bigger birds population and new species too like 5 Harlequin Ducks swimming in the south rocks and a flock of around 50 shore birds that could be sandpipers. The young middle size elephant seal was spotted swimming alone in the south rocks which were a pretty busy place, animated all day long by the new little harbor seals. This young one came back and spent the night behind the boat shed. Around 10 AM I saw the spout of whales a few times closed to the green buoy .I never saw the animals by themselves and pretty soon no more spouts.Going to double check the solar panels in the afternoon (getting dirty quickly enough !) I discover for my pleasure that the 5 geese had their neck in the soft water bucket under the panels. Those ones are everywhere ,all the time going back and forth. They even went swimming in the race currents. Amazing busy birds!

 

Lagenorhynchus obliquidens: Pacific White-sided Dolphin–The Race Rocks taxonomy

10614312_10152440678352194_8515761111297904797_nThis image is from the website of the 5 Star Whale-watching Company.

We have seen these dolphins in the waters off Race Rocks, but have yet to get a picture of them on location in the Ecological reserve.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Lagenorhynchus
Species: L. obliquidens

Other Members of the Class Mammalia at Race Rock

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams. Garry Fletcher, 2014

 

Animal Census

Low winds today picking up in the afternoon/evening. Clear skies for most of the day. Forecasted winds of 15 knots for tomorrow morning rising to 30 in the afternoon.

DSC_0501

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Census (by Anne):

Steller Sea Lions 229
California Sea Lions 388
Harbour Seals 81
Glaucous-winged Gulls 301 (including 29 chicks)
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Pelagic Cormorant 1
Canada Goose 11
Black Oyster Catcher 11
Black Turnstone 1
Greater Yellow legs 1
Very large mixed species feeding groups to the west southwest of reserve including 100s of Rhinoceros auklets, Common Murres, Heerman’s Gulls and California Gulls.

37 whale watching boats

5 recreational boats

3-4 trips from Second Nature

Baleen whale this morning spotted feeding in the same place as yesterday evening, to the SW end of the reserve.

Anne continued with training today. James from Hybrid Plumbing came out to fix the water heater this morning. Changed cartridge filters on desalinator. Prepared for shift change.