Heermann’s gulls in high numbers

Overcast and cloudy for most of the day. No wind in the morning until noon when it starting slowly rising up to 16 knots around 1900h. Strong wind warning in effect for late tomorrow afternoon. A fog belt is coming in now and the horn has just started sounding (2200h).

A group from Victoria of a dozen kayakers paddled around the island this morning. They launched from Weir’s beach.

9 recreational boats in the reserve today                                                                                 5 whale watchers

Two bald eagles visited the south islands this evening joined by an immature eagle and the three stayed there for over an hour. It was unclear which was being more harassed by the other–the eagles or the gulls and oystercatchers.

My father who is visiting counted 574 Heermann’s gulls today which is a notable increase from the 21 recorded on Friday.

Chopped and stacked wood. Ran the desalinator.

July 5

Northwest winds peaked at 15 knots around noon. Overcast skies with some rain near noon.

There were a dozen recreational fishing boats on the east edge of the reserve this morning but a total of five actually passed through today. 6 whale watching boats were in the reserve.

The two male elephant seals have barely moved at all today. While taking the seawater sample this evening, a young harbour seal pup was murmuring lightly while finding its way through the kelp bed off the end of the jetty. The oystercatcher eggs near the jetty have yet to hatch.

A group of 4 kayakers from Port Angeles stopped at the island today for a quick rest before continuing on their way to Victoria.

Installed the VHF antenna today in the guest residence.


Animal census

Overcast today. Some rain in the afternoon. West winds starting low and increasing during the day and then dropping off again in the evening. Barometric pressure staying just under 1016 hPa all day. A few showers and 15-20 knot winds forecasted for tomorrow. Yesterday there were over a dozen whale watching boats in the reserve. Today only 3 whale watchers. Yesterday there were 4 blasts from DND in the morning around 1000 and 1100h.

Animal Census (for today)

Elephant Seal: 2                                                                                                           Harbour Seal: 220                                                                                                               Bald Eagle (immature): 2                                                                                                         Gull: 302 Glaucous-winged + 21 Heermann’s                                                               Pigeon Guillemot: 65                                                                                                       Oyster Catcher: 9                                                                                                           Double-crested cormorant: 7                                                                                         Turkey vulture: 1

Today the two elephant seal males were sparring ALL day. They started fighting in the water near the jetty at 1100h and continued back and forth into the afternoon (around 1400h). When they eventually returned to land they continued sparring, mainly the larger pursuing the younger one. Even now, they are moving around each other cautiously.

Tried to hook up the VHF radio in the guest house today but had some difficulties with the wiring and the weather. Will try again tomorrow. Some continuing internet issues last night and this morning but hopefully they stay fixed for a while this time.

Blasting on DND

Clear skies. Strong westerlies started last night and continued all day today, hovering around 40 knots. Barometric pressure increasing all day. Gale warning for tomorrow.

No boats in the reserve today except for one whale watcher braving the winds. (Looked like the passengers were getting quite soaked!)

Four blasts went off today from 1145h to 1340h on DND (Department of National Defence) land on Bentinck Island.

The gulls are getting a lot more feisty as more eggs hatch.

Filled the batteries today and ran the desalinator.


Post for Canada Day

Low southerly winds under 15 knots for most of the day. Sky partly cloudy with sun. Barometric pressure dropped steadily all day.

Tour boats: 6                                                                                                                            No whale watchers.

I found another oyster catcher nest on the south side of the island. There are two chicks that look like they’ve hatched in the last two days, and one egg that hadn’t hatched as of yesterday evening. There are only two elephant seals (the big males) on the island right now. They both swam and were sparring in the water on the south side of the main island. For the last two nights, the younger male has stayed in the water until well after dark.

Left the island from 1630h-1930h yesterday evening to pick up a visitor.

Orcas and Humpbacks!

Low winds today under 15 knots. Clear skies with some fog in the morning. Barometric pressure has been increasing since Friday.

7 whale watching boats in the reserve (although several more along the border of the reserve).                                                                                                                                    3 recreational boats passed through, and one has been on the SW edge of the reserve for the past two days.

I saw an orca pass through the reserve Saturday late in the morning and then a small pod was surrounded by whale watchers offshore from Swordfish Island. On Sunday another pod of 5-6 (with at least two calves) headed west along Bentinck Island. Today a humpback made its way along the eastern edge of the reserve blowing several times and took the flood current towards Victoria. It dove showcasing its fluke 4 or 5 times.

I got help cleaning the rain gutters Saturday and Sunday. Cleaned and mopped the winch house yesterday. The internet connection has been off since Friday evening in the main residence (which also means the phone has not been working). The weather system was also down yesterday. Rebooted all systems multiple times and got everything working late this afternoon.

Eagle chase

Rare summertime north-easterlies today, increasing from 0-35 knots throughout the day. Barometric pressure dipped to a weekly low this morning but is on the rise now. There has been some rain and the sky has been mostly cloudy. Showers are forecasted for tomorrow.

tour boats: 2

Several times a day a bald eagle or juvenile will come and cause a raucous for all the gulls who all lift into the air and chase the predator from their nests. For the past few days, the oystercatchers have been doing their part and one or two will chase the eagle out of their territory. (The oystercatcher eggs near the jetty have yet to hatch.) More often than not, the eagle leaves empty handed but occasionally it will grab a gull or a chic.

There was a female elephant seal on the jetty this morning but this evening only the two larger males remain on the island.

The sea lion is still in the same spot on the south islands, although he has moved into the water at least twice since yesterday.

Went off the island today (from 1130h-1600h) to collect a ladder from Wayne and do errands.

Did the monthly check on the derrick today.

Illegal fishing in the reserve

North westerlies 20-25 knots most of the morning. After noon the winds picked up considerably. Sky has been changing all day. Sun and clouds. Heavy fog in the morning. Light winds forecasted for tomorrow morning with 15-25 knots later in the day. 1 whale watching boat. 1 illegal fishing boat (recreational) A northern rough-winged swallow was spotted on the reserve today. Today a rental boat from Pedder Bay Marina entered the reserve around 1500h. The driver was moving the boat into kelp beds, where it would temporarily anchor in the seaweed. The men would fish until the boat was pushed out by the current and then would move to another kelp. I called PBM and they sent a boat to come inform them of the eco-reserve boundaries, and the Rockfish Conservation Area,  and reported the incident to DFO. The boat left around 1600h. They caught two fish and released one.

-Checked water level in the cistern.
-Chopped and stacked wood.
-Changed water in the eyewash station.
-Ran desalinator.

Animal Census

West winds around 10 knots for most of the day. Fog this morning and this evening. Barometric pressure has steadily decreased all day. Strong wind warning in effect for tonight and fog is forecasted to persist until late tomorrow morning.

No whale watching boats today. 2 recreational halibut fishing boats along the SE and SW borders of the reserve.

Animal Census
Elephant Seal: 3
Harbour Seal: 191
Bald Eagle: 1
Gull: 323
Pigeon Guillemot: 83
Black Oystercatcher: 10
Double-crested cormorant: 4
Stellar sea lion: 5
Harlequin duck: 4

Two of the large elephant seals were sparring in the shallow water by the jetty this morning around 1100h. I noticed a younger pup that has been here for the past week has small, fresh wounds on its backside that I think are from two days ago when I saw the second largest male attack the pup near the launch pad. Also, a lone stellar sea lion has been resting on the a small rock off the south islands for two days now. He has flesh wounds but they do not look recent as far as I can tell.

-Secured deck boards on winch loading pad.                                                                       -Chopped fire wood.

Six visitors from the college came today from 1200h-1500h.



River Otter visit this morning

Clear day (despite forecast for a thunderstorm). Low winds below 15 knots today, dropping to zero midday. Strong wind warning in effect for tomorrow.

Several cargo ships passed through the strait today, a well as a few military ships.

Left the island this afternoon to pick up groceries and a visitor (which is why there are not exact numbers for passing watercraft).

This morning a river otter was running along the deck from the crane to the jetty. A juvenile bald eagle was sitting on the west side of the main island for a few hours this morning.