Green with Shades of Blue

March 17 was a windy day on Race Rocks. The early morning east northeast wind  kept intensifying and it was blowing 25 – 30 knots northeast by noon. It kept up for the rest of the day. The barometric pressure started to drop from a high of 1026 hPa, in the afternoon. The forecast includes a gale warning, with the easterlies continuing under sunny skies for at least tomorrow.

One whale-watching vessel was observed working in the Protected Area today and several others were seen transiting the area. Sports-fishing boats were all outside the reserve.

The Nanoose Yarder, a tug, headed west through Race Passage with the fishing vessel, Arctic Fox II in tow. The Arctic Fox II was damaged by fire in Cowichan Bay last winter and looks like she will need some serious TLC before heading out again to troll for tuna, offshore. DND blasting continued.

The impression that the gull population was rising daily, returning en masse was not wrong. Nest site locations from last year are almost fully occupied. Pairs are standing close, pulling vegetation and starting to jockey for position with neighbours. No actual nest building has been observed yet. Canada Geese have been discouraged.

The idea that more California Sea Lions were showing up was backed up by more brands observed today and of course by the counts themselves.  Today was animal census day and results are posted below.

2016 17-Mar
River Otter 0
Northern Elephant Seal 0
Harbour Seal 131
Northern Sea Lion (Steller’s) 41
California Sea Lion 123
Canada Goose 0
Harlequin Duck 15
Surf Scoter 0
Common Merganser 0
Brandt’s Cormorant 40
Double-crested Cormorant ~100
Pelagic Cormorant 28
Cormorant ~50
Bald Eagle (juvenile) 9
Bald Eagle (adult) 3
Killdeer 2
Black Oystercatcher 26
Black Turnstone 42
Surfbird 2
Rock Sandpiper 0
Dunlin 0
Mew Gull 0
Glaucous-winged Gull (+ Xs in nesting area) 486
Glaucous-winged Gull (+ Xs outside of nesting area) 229
Thayers Gulls 10
Calfiornia Gulls 6
Western Gull 1
Common Murres 1
Pigeon Guillemot 76
Northwestern Crow 2
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 0


Today was a catch-up day inside and chores were routine.

Arctic Fox Nanoose Yarder 2