Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Welcome to my blog world. This is a photo blog, poetry and short story blog about my life on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings.


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Monday, August 13, 2012

Sea Lions Race Rocks East Sooke Park B.C.

Explosions at Sea!  We were out at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, B.C. to view the sea lions there when yes, there were explosions.  Turns out that DND, Department of National Defense, uses the areas of Bentinck Island, Whirl Bay and the south end of Rocky Point as a demolition and disposal site.

Yikes, did it ever scare the sea lions, (scared me also).  Race Rocks Lighthouse is an ecological reserve right opposite to the blasting area of DND.  Seems odd that they can do successive blasting for hours so close to the area where the sea lions, harbour seals and many shorebirds gather in a protected area. These pictures were taken before they got all upset and jumped into the water, the video shows them stampeding into the water.
DND blasting signs

The sea lions got so scared they stampeded right into the water.  When we were first watching them they were just sun tanning and resting until the rapid blasting started. We were far off shore with a very long lens and were not a threat to the sea lions as they are very used to the whale watching boats going by there every half hour.  The blasts were so large I think some of them were underwater and my husband saw some on land.
whale watching boat above

I sure would like to show this video to B.C. Parks, DND and the stewards of the Race Rock Ecological Reserve. The sea lions do not come back to the rocks, some are too scared and they just move away. If there were young ones there they would be trampled.  During the year there are eagles, gulls, cormorants and other shorebirds nesting around this area.  Also the elephant seals, sea lions, and harbour seals have young there at various time of the year. It was really a terrible thing to see the sea lions so upset and I made a video of it. What I hope they can do is lessen the amount of blasting and space it out a whole lot more if they can't relocate it.  The video is made in our little boat, amateur video, handheld, it will be embedded below.  It has a little bit of a shocking ending where I get scared.

Various gulls, feasting on needle fish in a ball up, I think there are some Heermanns in there.

We also saw an eagle fly down to the ocean and grab a salmon and then eat it on the rocks.  The salmon was so big it had a hard time to get it on the rocks.

Now I am moving on to a more happy story.

Right near Race Rocks, is East Sooke Park.  It is "E" week at ABC Wednesday. So I will continue with a fun story about East Sooke Park where we went a few days ago.  This is a more pleasant story. East Sooke Park, B.C. is a wilderness park with wonderful coves and beaches, a rocky coastline, some hilltop paths and dark wet rainforests. 

It is the largest CRD Park here, 3,513 acres and 31 miles of trails.  We went to the Ayland Farm entrance as it is so easy to access there and not much walking.

The exciting part about this park is that it is the main staging area of migrating raptors.  They all gather there to go south in September; they have to cross 18 miles of Juan de Fuca Strait to get to Olympic National Park in Washington. It is on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island.  You can see up to 1000 Turkey Vultures ganging up there.  Other birds to see there are Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Kestrel, Osprey, Eagles and various hawks.

It is the traditional home of the T'Soukes Coast Salish People.  They would have survived very well on the salmon, shellfish, berries and wildlife in the area around Becher Bay and Pedder Bay in their time.  The Spanish came in 1790, but within 5 years it was all British land.  Vancouver Island became Hudson Bay land and was governed under James Douglas.

I imagine the waters were full of dugout canoes and sailing ships bringing supplies back and forth from Fort Victoria.  There was a little mining done here, at Copper Mine Bay and the forest was logged and the fish were harvested. There will be a video embedded below showing how we spent the day at East Sooke Park.  Amateur footage. There were two eagles flying all around and you can hear them calling.  A little Downy Woodpecker followed me all around again but did not want to go on the video. You can click pictures to see in the lightroom.

Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it.  This is the "E" week at ABC Wednesday.

The Bird D'pot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Tuesday Tweets
ABC Wednesday
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday
Wild Bird Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working.  I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer as my eyes get tired. Such is life. To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.


  1. Lots of great photos, Nora! Love the seals! It's not every day you see those on a blog. The eagle is awesome! Such beautiful scenery. Too bad about the blasting. I imagine that would be difficult for the wildlife to get accustomed to.

  2. I would have really enjoyed watching that eagle and it's catch of the day!!! Bud [my husband] and I just went birding this morning and spotted an osprey on the power lines along the highway. They're huge and beautiful. Your area here looks mighty perfect for doing a lot of birding!!!

    Love the sea lions are something to see, I bet!!!

    Thanks for linking up with the Bird D'Pot this week.

  3. Fantastic captures, Nora! Such a great look at your beautiful world! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Great group of photos!

  5. Some wonderful photos on your post as usual. The video of the seals showed quite clearly how upset they were by the blasting.

  6. Wonderful video of the seals! I am really surprised that they do demolition so close to the preserve. Maybe you can get the video to them for observation!

  7. Beautiful sequence of wildlife and fantastic scenery. Why don't you get a petition up to move the demolition site. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  8. Some cracking shots. Love the Golden Eagle.

  9. These are all fantastic shots. The sea lions are amazing to me.

  10. Loved seeing the seals and I would have been scared, too...poor things. Beautiful scenery. Love the eagle!

  11. Sorry to hear about the demolition and blasting. I feel sorry for the sea lions. I also enjoyed your story about the East Sooke Park. The raptor migration sounds like a fun thing to watch. Your photos are wonderful.

  12. Great series, how nice to see the seals and the eagle!!

  13. Thanks for sharing the sea lions (I only get to see them from far on our coast line 20 min. away! Hope you get a positive response about the video - it's worth trying!

  14. What a lot of wonderful photos you have. Interesting notes too.

  15. I really enjoy the videos. Some of that scenery is so beautiful.

  16. Wow - what an adventure! I'd love to see seals in person. Fabulous shots.

  17. I enjoyed all your photos and post today. Our daughter lives in Sooke, and we had a wonderful month long visit last November. Lots of photos were taken, some birds we don't see were spotted like the Oyster catcher and eagles. Hope to return soon for another visit.

  18. It seems very irresponsible to blast so close to a sanctuary. Too many people not thinking things through, me thinks!

    Your pictures are wonderful!

  19. Great photos, but the one with the Eagle will be my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

  20. That's a LOT of photos! And they're great. I'd send the video to everybody I could think of to see if something can be done.

  21. Very upsetting to see how disturbed the sea lions are, but thanks for posting. I especially loved the 6th photo (Turkey Vulture) in your "happy" section. Thank you so much for the input about storage on my blog. Much appreciated!

  22. an EXPLOSION of creatures

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  23. Great photos. You live in a very beautiful part of the world! It must be amazing to see all those migrating raptors. I wish "authorities" would realize that what happens around the edges of protected areas is also very important!

  24. Beautiful pictures!

  25. It is noisy there with all those creatures! Thanks for the wonderful shots.

  26. Great set of pictures - it does seem an odd place to blow things up!

    Thanks for the comments on both blogs - glad you like the words on my "longer" blog.

    Thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Australia

  27. Sea lions are so funny to watch. Poor things that they were scared !
    ABC Wednesday Team

  28. Enchanting expedition.

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  29. I will sign a petition to stop harassing the wildlife on the island! your photos and commentary are great....thanx

  30. Sorry to hear of the traumatizing blasts the seals are being exposed to. I enjoyed all your wonderful photos of these beautiful animals.

  31. Lovely series, but how unfortunate that mankind has placed a blasting facility so close to where they had to have known these Sea Lions came for s respite. Even if they could view this video clip, I doubt it would change their way of thinking. Nice share~

  32. Many more great photographs and a lovely film of the seals. Thank you for sharing them.


Thanks so much for visiting my blog on Vancouver Island Nature and Birds.
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