Fog all day

Consistent fog since sunrise. West winds between 20-30 knots for most of the day and on the rise. Barometric pressure increasing since Thursday night. Gales forecasted for tomorrow afternoon.

No boats today (although maybe because of zero visibility).

5 Canada geese arrived on the island today. Chunk and Cheeky did not visit the water today but recently Cheeky has been visiting after dark.

Started inventory of safety kits on the island. Filled up on gas yesterday at Pedder Bay Marina.

Animal Census

Low winds all morning that rose quickly to 30 knots after noon but is now descending again. Barometric pressure still decreasing since Sunday. Winds forecasted to stay between 10-20 knots for tomorrow.

10 whale watchers

Animal Census
380 Gulls (Glaucous-winged + Heermann’s)

59 Pigeon guillemots
1 Elephant seal
2 Stellar sea lions
2 Bald eagles
140 Harbour seals
18 Black oystercatchers + 2 chicks
1 Spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularius) 
I conducted the census when the tide was rather high which may account for the fewer number of harbour seals, which appear in larger numbers at low tides when they rest on the outer rocks.
One float plane passed over the reserve this afternoon.
No sight of Cheeky today, our second largest male elephant seal.

 

Elephant seal shots

Chunk and Cheeky sparring near the jetty

Chunk and Cheeky sparring near the jetty

Cheeky hurrying up the boat ramp away from Chunk

Cheeky hurrying up the boat ramp away from Chunk

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Chunk and Cheeky sparring in the water near the jetty

Chunk snoozing next to a gull's nest

Chunk snoozing next to a gull’s nest

 

Cheeky showing his flexibility

Cheeky showing his flexibility

 

Winds between 10-20 knots all day. Barometric pressure has been decreasing since Sunday. Forecast calls for same winds as today.

 

2 whale watching boats

1 sailboat

1 float plane flew over around 1400h

 

 

Business as usual in the reserve today. Gulls are becoming evermore aggressive as eggs continue to hatch and chicks begin to wander away from the nests. The oystercatcher eggs next to the jetty finally hatched today! Like the gulls, the red-beaked parents are also very aggressive.

Ran the fire pump today to fill the cistern.

July 8

Lots of fog all morning. Winds have picked up this afternoon reaching nearly 50 knots.

2 whale watchers today

Yesterday Garry and Helen gave a group of visitors a tour of the island. I took the whaler in in the afternoon to drop off my parents who have been visiting. (I’m going to miss the extra help. Thank you!)

Washed down the batteries and scrubbed off the grease. Checked the water level in the cistern.

 

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.