Things have been a tad wet over our way,so I thought I’d repost some shots. I took these originally on 2016 October 10. The spot is Rankin rocks which is east of Tofino about 5 miles or so down Tofino inlet. Tranquil’s valley can be seen in the background.
There are two types of Sea Lions we get here,Californians and Stellar’s . Cali’s are around 1/2 ton while their bigger cousins the Stellar’s are twice as large at 1 ton. Cali’s are generally darker than the Stellar’s and of course smaller. Stellar’s always like to be King of the hill on any rocky haul outs. The Californians will be down lower close to the waters edge while the big Stellar boys rest further up.
For some strange reason this fellow was all by himself. Usually they hang out in groups,sunning away with their noses pointing to the sky.
This fellow and I spent some time together. I called him “Lippy” because his left lower lip is damaged. You can clearly see how there is a tear in the upper lip. I wondered why? At first I thought of a boats prop but decided that wasn’t the reason. Propellar wounds have symmetry and repeat in pattern. Than I thought of a Fish farms predator net!
I’ve seen these guys get stuck in those nets before. They breath air like you and I and If they become entangled in the netting they can drown. The Lions charge the salmon nets hoping to grab a unsuspecting salmon! They push against the heavy nets trying to corral a bunch of salmon. Of course they cannot pull the much larger fish through the net squares,so they suck the internal organs of the fish right through the net holes. The salmon than sinks to the bottom of the pen net.
DIvers go into each pen every three days or so to see If there are any dead salmon. When they bring up perfectly healthy salmon with no guts you know there was a predator attack and it was a Lion.
Surrounding the fish farm site is another much larger net called a “Predator Net”(pred net). It engulfs the entire site and is about 10 feet away from the inside fish nets. Its designed to stop Lion attacks but Lions are always trying to get at those tasty fish! Sometimes a Lion will push the pred net in quickly to get at the salmon but get snagged. It looks like thats exactly what happened here to”Lippy” but he was lucky enough to escape with only face wounding.
There was a sport fishing boat in the harbour.He had stopped to pull his Crab trap.The Crabs here are Dungeness.You can only keep the larger ones & must throw back the smaller ones & or females.I could see the fellow measuring & tossing the smaller ones back in.Much to the joy of this Sea Lion! He was eating them as fast as they could be thrown back in! There were two Sea Lions enjoying the free Crab dinner.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a male Stellar Sea Lion on Rankin rocks! I also noticed while going down Tofino inlet signs of bait fish about.Which is probably the reason why he is in the house to begin with. The bait fish have been absent for the last few years & as a result the Lions as well.
I also noticed that this fellow has a old injury to his upper right lip.
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.
This is a perfect spot for the Lions to warm up at! Easy access from the ocean & the rock is sloping towards the sun! All of these are Californian’s!(except BIG ED) The Steller’s seem to of gone else where at the moment?
I bet Big Ed is over a ton!
This young Steller was the only one I found in good sunlight and very brief at that! I really struck out with my furry friends today.
Some days are better than others!
I laughed when I saw this.
All of the big blonde guys are the large Stellers and the darker ones are Californian’s. The Stellers can grow to be twice the size of a Cali!
It would appear that the Stellers know the best real estate is at the top of the rock. (reminds me of Humans)
The Stellers have hogged the top of the rock and the poor little Cali’s have to be content with being lower on the rock. The poor things……:(
They’ll work it out. Competition for territory,food, mating almost always goes like this……………” HE WHO IS LARGEST, RULES”!
Yes,in Nature size does matter! Always has been,still is and will always be that way for eternity!
Notice the two large Stellers at the top. The one on the right looks like a older bull.
The rest are Cali’s.
I should say that there are two rocks that they use but I call them both “Lion Rock”. They are about 2 klicks apart. They are on them right now because they are waiting. They are waiting for the earth’s poles to head back to the south. Then the sun can go further into Cannery bay. If there is no sun,you won’t find them there. The only real estate at the moment in the sun are these two rocky islets. Later when the sun gets higher in the sky,they will start to hang around in Cannery. Cannery right now is very dark and cold! There is a constant cold mist above the water coming down from Kennedy lake!
These guys are sun worshipers,heat Vampires or other wise known as BIG energy soaker uppers!
All the dark ones are Californian Sea Lion’s,while the blonde boys are the BIG Steller’s! I think this rock only had Cali’s.
You can see Tranquil Inlet in the background.
I didn’t get out today. The cloud/rain always put the Kibosh on my shoots!
So I decided to put a pano I shot yesterday (18th) out tonight.
They have such a loud penetrating growl! It’s like they are throwing their voice!
I stood up and realized my shadow was in the shot! The sun was getting low in the SW.
The guy on the left is a Californian and the fellow on the right is his Stellar cousin. The Cali looks like a youngster.