Weather and Sea Conditions
Light northwest winds backed and veered bringing waves of silver and leaden clouds. Showers were visible from far away, travelling with the wind and tied across the Strait with rainbows, tops of arcs obscured in cloud. In spite of being overcast and chilly, the high was 11o C, there were brief periods of intense sunshine and the UV index was very close to 4 (moderate). Accumulated solar energy was low, about half of what we have been receiving. Just before dusk there was an intense downpour accompanied by winds over the 30 knots. It was short-lived but may foretell of what the forecaster are calling for by late morning. The barometer remained fairly steady today at ~1015 hPa but is expected to drop with the passage of a low that will bring southeast winds and showers tomorrow. Sea conditions were rough at times out in the Strait today but generally there was just a light chop inshore.
No vessels were observed in the protected area today.
Ecological and General Observations
An influx of 14 more Canada Geese kept the established geese busy on their own wild goose chase today. There were many running and aerial chases and clashes. These seem to be new animals with different behaviours than the ones who have been so doggedly determined to nest here for the last six weeks.
Many flocks of 100 to 200 Brant were observed moving through the reserve from west to east and I wonder if these are still flocks that have travelled up the coastal flyway from California and Mexico.
Harlequin Ducks are rafting up in strings of birds and moving around more than they have since I arrived nearly six weeks ago. They are usually so site-fidel that you can almost predict where they will be.
Black Turnstones continue to be the most common shorebirds on Great Race. Seeing them forage everywhere on island is a good reminder that this is essentially an inter-tidal island. Their plumage is looking new and shiny, ready for their big northern migration.
The late spring elephant seal moult is definitely in full swing now and the animals are catching up on sleep and using stored blubber to see them through the moult. Sea Lions continue to haul out on South Rocks every morning. The male Californians are also well established on Great Race in the two haul-outs near the two houses.
Work was routine today and there were no human