Nothing Subdued About a Westerly Gale

The west wind came up sometime after midnight and was already blowing 25 to 30 knots at 04:00 in the morning. The wind rose more with the sun and blew 35 gusting to 40 most of the morning and early afternoon. Late afternoon it dropped to 25 – 30 knots. Although there were showers and some very dramatic looking thunderheads, west wind also tends to bring good weather and the barometer which had taken a dive overnight, spent the day climbing out of its hole. The forecast calls for the wind to drop to light after midnight.

Except for large sea-going vessels, sea conditions around Race Rocks and the central Juan de Fuca Strait area were unsuitable for safe boating. No small vessels were observed in or out of the Ecological Reserve today.

There were eight or nine Bald Eagles here today and as usual the gulls would all lift off when the eagles they passed over the flock. A smaller, more compact bird of prey that flew and behaved like a Peregrine Falcon but had a reddish tail like a Red-tailed Hawk made the gulls extra nervous this evening as the sun was setting. The light was not good enough to get a good look at it except to note that it was an exceptionally agile flyer in the heavy winds and from top view it had reddish, burnt sienna-coloured tail. It would swoop through the vegetated area about a half-meter off of the grass; pick up speed and then wheel up into the flock of gulls. The hawk (?) falcon landed on the rock beside camera five, a vantage point, then peeled off backwards with the wind as an eagle approached. It was almost half the size of the eagle.

It was a day dominated by wind and that is perhaps why the big female Northern Elephant Seal left early this morning. Other pinnipeds continued to haul-out as usual.

Sunshine powered the desalinator again today. The system’s media filter was back-flushed, rinsed and refilled and the 20-micron cartridge filter, replaced with a clean one. Other chores were more routine, such as fighting entropy. There were no visitors.