More sea lions

Winds between 5-15 knots for most of the day. Barometric pressure peaking midday. A few showers forecasted for tomorrow and risk of thunderstorms tonight.

18 whale watching boats

3 recreational fishing boats

A float plane did laps around the island this morning around 0900h taking counts on some marine mammals. Another one passed through the reserve this afternoon.

More than two hundred sea lions on the main island now and more on Middle Rock. I noticed today that although the population on the main island is mixed Stellar and California, there is a higher density of Californias on the main island and a higher density of Stellars on Middle Rock. A tagged elephant seal arrived today but I could not get close enough to its tags without frightening it.

The PSYL coordinators arrived around 1900h this evening and will be here two nights.

Branded sea lion 183R shows up at Race Rocks

Our viewer from England, Pam Birley,  sent us this image image of a branded Northern Sea lion (Steller’s) that she had taken with the remote control camera 5  today. She noted that this is the first time this particular one has shown up in her records which she has been keeping for several years now.

For other posts on branded sea-lions, see this link:

For our taxonomy file and gallery of images on this sealion see our archived file:

Also for an explanation of why the tagging program goes on see this link also on our website:

Branded Northen sea lion # 183R

Branded Northern sealion # 183R



Rhinocerous auklet

Clear in the morning and overcast a bit in the afternoon. Low winds getting up to 10 knots in the evening. Barometric pressure dropping during the day. Strong wind warning in effect for tomorrow and forecasted fog.

7 whale watching boats

5 recreational fishing boats

The was a Rhinocerous auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) in the water off the north side of the island. Haven’t seen many of these this summer. There was also a small flock of Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) on the SW end of the main island just after sunset.

Worked on the tank shed a bit today. Talked with Environment Canada and Coast Guard regarding maintenance issues. Everything is now in order.

Sea lions are here

Mostly clear skies. Fog late morning into early afternoon. Winds between 10-15 knots most of the day. Barometric pressure rising the first half of the day and falling in the afternoon/evening.

6 whale watching boats (hard to say with fog though)

2 recreational fishing boats (PBM rentals)

2 recreational dive boats

Down to three elephant seals on the island currently. The sea lions have crept further up the east side of the island. There are an estimated 60-70 on the island now. The fence is still deterring them from the jetty, etc. Big moon tonight (supermoon tomorrow) but still the bioluminescent phytoplankton is visible!

Animal Census

Northwest winds dipping down to 10 knots midday and back up to 15 knots in the afternoon. Barometric pressure climbing since late Thursday. Forecasted fog for tomorrow and winds from 10 to 25 knots in the afternoon.

Animal Census:
272 Gulls
32 Guillemots
4 Elephant seals
381 Sea lions (Steller and California)
3 River otters
2 Double-crested cormorants
273 Harbour seals
13 Black oystercatchers

The otters appeared in the early evening again, taking at least two gull chicks. The sea lions, both Steller and California, have started making their way onto the main island. The electric fence is set up to deter them from the jetty, the winch pad (and hydraulic pipes) and the main residence.

We’ve had issues with one of the inverters in the generator room this week which have meant limited power, internet and phone access.




Northwest winds increasing from midday to 35 knots this evening. Barometric pressure in a downward trend since Wednesday at noon. Some fog this morning. 20-25 knot winds forecasted for tomorrow with some fog.

37 whale watching boats

11 recreational fishing boats

3 recreational boats (including a dive boat)

A pod of orcas passed through the reserve on the north side of Middle and Turbine Rocks. There were at least 7-8 of them in front heading east through the channel with a few more trailing a few hundred metres behind. Four elephant seals on cite at the moment. No eagle visits today but a number of California sea lions have started arriving.

Topped up the batteries and did the monthly report.

Juvenile Bald Eagle visit

Northwest winds dipping to 10 knots around midday. Barometric pressure decreasing since mid-morning. Intermittent fog until noon. Forecast calls for fog until noon tomorrow and gale wind warning in effect.

6 whale watching boats

7 recreational fishing boats passed through

Business as usual on the reserve today. A juvenile eagle visited the island this afternoon. Yesterday I was off the island from 0900h to 1700h to pick up two visitors and get groceries in town and the crew was out again to finish with replacing windows. Cleaned off the cable that we pulled out from the water that goes to video cam 2.

4 DND blasts

Fog on and off today. West winds picking up this afternoon to 35 knots. Clear skies most of the day. Barometric pressure peaking at midday for the last three days. Winds supposed to reach 30 knots tomorrow.

9 whale watching boats (although maybe more I couldn’t see through the fog)

4 blasts from DND in the first half of the day.

There are 5 elephant seals here now. They like to spend lots of time on the ramp and sleep on top of each other. The seal with the bloody mouth seems to be doing much better. The blood looked like it was coming from the gum.

We had a crew come out today and replace a number of windows in the keeper’s residence and the science centre. Chris and I went diving to retrieve the underwater video camera for its annual maintenance.

Animal Census

Fog on and off since yesterday. West winds rising since the morning from 10 knots to over forty. More fog forecasted for tomorrow and 20-25 knot winds.

4 whale watching boats this morning

Animal Census:

710 Gulls*
15 Pigeon guillemots
4 Elephant seals
142 Steller sea lions
421 Harbour seals
8 Black oystercatchers
6 Canada geese
There are a large number of gulls because of the California gulls which make a large majority (~550). There seems to be a much lower number of Glaucous-winged gulls this year from last. I notice there are a lot more dead chicks, be it the evening visits from the otters or the bald eagles that visit several times daily. There has been no sight of Chunk since Sunday night. Currently there are two young males, a female, a stubborn seal that refuses to lie on its back. This stubborn seal was bleeding from its mouth pretty badly leaving a small pool of blood on the ramp yesterday evening. This morning there was still blood on its face though it seemed to be a bit better. Because the bleeding was perpetual I assume it is more than a simple abrasion but I cannot see the wound well enough to be sure.
Several blasts have gone off on DND land this morning and yesterday.
Some sea lions have started using the jetty as a resting spot so I started putting up the electric fence.


California gull

Northwest winds dropping from over 30 knots this morning to 3 knots and them picking back up to 20 knots by early evening. Barometric pressure dropping since mid-morning. Strong wind warning in effect and fog expected for tomorrow.

7 whale watching boats

6 recreational boats

1 personal watercraft (aka Jet ski, Sea-Doo)

Another elephant made its way onto the island yesterday, bringing the total number to 6. In the past week, I have noticed a number of California Gulls (Larus californicus) on the south side of the main island. They are distinguishable from the Glaucous-winged gulls by their black plumage and yellow feet. (Click here to view a photo from the Race Rocks taxonomy page: A bald eagle visited today and yesterday. It plucked out a gull chick yesterday but I did not see it make a catch today.