I went for a ride/walk out on Chestermans beach. It was overcast so I didn’t take my camera. As usual, when I don’t bring my camera Mother Nature says something like “what can I do to make Wayne shake his head cursing that he didn’t bring his camera”?
So what do I come across out on Frank island…..a dead adult female Stellar Sea Lion……….with no head! Now I’m not a expert but I think those things usually come with heads. Someone mentioned that they had seen a mother Orca and calf in the area a couple of days ago. Suggesting that the Orca may of bitten the head off. As soon as I heard that I knew that wasn’t true. Any animal whether out in the bush or water would never turn done a gourmet meal! That would be like somebody finding a wallet full of money, throwing the money away but keeping the wallet.
Coincidentally some friends came across the carcass as well. He’s a retired surgeon and his wife is a retired GP. They both examined the wounds and thought that a sharp metal instrument had been used to cut the flesh.
So this Lion must of died and simply floated ashore.Than somebody came along and took the head off for a souvenir? Now this animal looked perfectly fine to me. It wasn’t starving and my Surgeon friend said that he thought it might be pregnant? Well If anyone is going to know that kind of stuff it would be him.
So my revised theory is that it was shot. You must remember that when Harbour Seals and Sea Lions are shot 98% of the time they are shot in the head. Thats because the only thing poking up above the water is their head! A friend suggested It most likely was shot by a commercial fisherman? They are the only ones out there that carry firearms and they also have a hatred for Lions.
When they net Herring and have their nets pursed by the boat the Lions attack on force by the dozens! They leap into the nets to gorge themselves! This pisses off the fisherman. They have “Seal Bombs” they use to frighten them away and do also shoot them. There has been vocal support to cull the Lions on the west coast.
The basic problem here is that we as a species have collectively raped the oceans for hundreds of years! When we weren’t here (that means ALL humans) there was plenty of fish to go around but now many stocks have become depleted! Take the Northern Cod on the East coast. That stock still hasn’t come back after 30 years of moratorium! Here in Tofino the Herring fishery was stopped decades ago! All fished out.
So these poor creatures are being forced to jump into the nets for something to eat. If you could ask one of them they would say something like “We don’t want to go near those animals but they have all the fish”!
We’re like King Midas,except instead of everything turning to gold, everything we touch, dies.
Sometimes Sea Lions seem to go into a mediative state. They come to the surface and slowly roll over. For lack of a better description they appear as If they’re drunk.
Some of you might remember a recent posting of mine describing how someone put spikes around a float to stop the Lions from using it. I got DFO (Dept. of Fishier’s & Oceans) to remove the spiked strips from the float.The Lions can hop up without fear of being injured.
This link will take you to CHEK news. It’s the first news item.
I was down in Ucluelet today.I took some shots of a bunch of Lions on a float out in Ucluelet’s harbour.I didn’t notice it at the time,but it appears that someone has placed some spiked 2X4 strips around the perimeter to prevent the Lions from wanting to get up onto the float. Anyone who knows Sea Lions,know they love to hang out on wharfs,docks & floats barking away contently.
Whoever owns this float has done this on purpose with no regard to the Lions being injured by these 6 inch spikes! I am looking into this to see If I can get these spikes pulled or this float pulled from the water? The Lions are beginning to come back into the harbour for safe refuge from the storms.
I’m sure some have already been injured! Will keep you informed on how this unfolds?
I decided to call this Lion “Minnie The Moocher” because it’s always coming around hoping I’ll throw it some fish guts.
When the fishermen come back from their outings,they clean their fish down at the docks. They throw the heads & guts into the water. This Sea Lion has gotten use to humans doing this so associate humans with food. Great for me as it’ll come along close enough for me to grab a few shots!
I’m sure it’s a male but I’m sticking with the female name “Minnie” anyways.Btw they are not mini being 1/2 ton plus!
I headed out today,but before I could even leave the harbour,the light failed! Some high cloud moved in! I decided to make the best of it & continued on.
I went down to Cannery Bay to see if any Lions were around? The only Lion I saw was back in the harbour. It was a young male Californian. If the Lions are not around it means the fish aren’t as well. Like all animals they follow the food (small fish) & the food follows the plankton………& the plankton follows the oceanic currents.
So,the currents are else where I suppose cause the Lions sure aren’t around here! Four years ago we had a huge number of Lions down in Cannery bay! There were so many Lions that they actually were inside the forests! It was strange to see them that far inside the forests away from the water. Obviously there weren’t any ground predators around.
At any rate,when I arrived in Cannery nobody was home! So I headed down into Tranquil inlet. On the way past Rankin rocks I glassed the rocks & saw no Dunlins.
With the light failing,no Lions & now no Dunlins,todays shoot was shaping up badly!
However the Trumpeters were around in Tranquil! Took some shots of them & headed back.
By this time the light had gotten even worse,so I didn’t even stop at Tsapee Narrows. I didn’t see the Daredevil anyways?
It was about this time that I realized I had made a mistake! When I went to the beach yesterday,I always use my smaller camera bag. I take just my main camera & a smaller lens. I had forgotten to put that smaller lens back into my main camera bag! That smaller lens is the one I use for my eagles! Thats what happens when I don’t check my gear before heading out.
I ended up using my bigger lens but at a shorter focal length. I wasn’t too bent about it because the light was so bad!
After visiting with Maggie I decided to come back in “early”. A rarity for me but if I don’t have the light,I don’t have the picture!
So today was one of those days I would of been better to stay on land doing something else. The boat ride is always great of course & seeing Maggie flying out to greet me was great! So It wasn’t a total waste of time.
Ya win some,ya loose some.
I originally shot this on April 7th,2011. I shot it down in Cannery bay. This should be whats happening right at this moment,but it appears the Lions have bypassed Tofino this winter!
To say I’m disappointed is a understatement! This is the first year they haven’t shown up!
The only reason I can think of why is there cannot be any food in the inlet? The small fish (mostly Pilchards) must be else where & thus the Lions follow. This is shaping up to be a bore-fest Winter!
I originally shot this on March 23rd,2011. This is what I should of seen yesterday,but the silly buggers are off somewhere else?
Hope they show up soon. They are always entertaining to watch!
I took this on January 14th (Jan 14th,2012)
I posted this shot to show you what “should” be there right now…………but isn’t!
The Lions haven’t arrived yet! They are overdue & the only reason I can think of is “food”! All animals follow the food! (terrestrial or aquatic) If the Lions aren’t in yet than logic dictates that the food can’t be there either.
The ocean’s currents circulate in the Pacific. The plankton are carried along on these current & the small fish follow. The bigger fish follow the smaller ones & the Lions follow the bigger fish.
I’m expecting a poor attendance this year with the Lions. The oceanic currents just aren’t bringing the plankton inland,so we’re not getting the bait fish.
I do expect they’ll show up sooner or later but in fewer numbers.
I haven’t been down to visit the Lions in 18 days! The weather hasn’t been very agreeable!
I was surprised when I entered into the bay to see nobody on the float! I thought they had all left! But I did see some splashing in front & soon realized that they were still there……….just not on the float at that moment!
A few tried to get up on the float but couldn’t.I suspect that when many Lions are on the float,their collective weight lowers the platform closer to the water & allows many smaller Lions able to gain access.
This fellow hopped up on the float & than promptly jumped off!
Their numbers have gone from 50ish to about 25 or so since I last saw them. I suspect they will be heading out before the end of the month?
It’s been pretty well cloudy all week & thus no reason to go out on a shoot. So I was very happy to see some sun today! Got out ASAP! Went straight down to Cannery to check on the Lions. There was about 2 dozen or so! I actually was surprised there were that many, expected to see fewer. Just Californian’s,no Stellers.
Took a few shots & headed out. I noticed some smoke coming from Barryman’s Point when I was coming down. I have been noticing the smoke for several weeks now. I went around to the other side to see what was up? As I suspected,they were doing some sort of logging operation & burning the waste. What I can’t figure out is where they are getting the trees? No one is working at Rankin Cove. I can see logs boomed up in front so they must be getting them from the somewhere in the Inlet?
I than headed down into Tranquil creek,which had only two Trumpeters.I also noted btw when I was coming down the inlet to Cannery that “K-19’s” gang was not in their usually bay. With it being “Ground Hog Day”, I wonder if the Trumpeters saw their shadow & decided to move on because winter is over?
Didn’t really see much wildlife down in Tranquil. Kind of disappointing actually!
Headed out & started my way back into town. The light had improved tremendously too btw. Some high cloud had moved in for several hours but by the time I came back out into Tranquil Inlet from the creek,that cloud had moved on leaving clear blue sky!
Stopped at Tsapee to say hi to both the Daredevil & Delilah. Moved on to go visit Romeo & Juliette. Romeo always has such a reliable welcoming!
They both seemed chipper,but the fog had moved into the harbour & the light went south! Took a few token shots of them & called it a night. Fog not only produces poor photographs (for the kind of light I want) but it’s also dangerous to be in!
So I called it a day & headed back.
Their numbers are down to just a handful now! At this rate they will most likely be gone in a week or so!
Last year they were gone by February 28th & the year before that when we had over a thousand visit us,March 28th!
This year was a poor year for Lions!
I see them with nics & cuts all the time!They inflict them on each other!