Posts Tagged ‘california sea lion’

Four trips to Race Rocks in three days

October 13, 2018

All three first year Marine Science classes made it out to Race Rocks on Wednesday 10 October. We saw many, many, many California and Northern sea lions.

And most students were also fortunate enough to see humpback whales feeding off the south and west sides of Great Race Rock. (Terrible photos of humpbacks below followed by a decent photo of whale watching students!)

Watching for whales

The newly minted Coastal Biodiversity CAS also had the opportunity to visit Race Rocks with Garry Fletcher on Friday afternoon.


During that visit we saw a necklaced sea lion and we came across a dead Northern sea lion.

We also had a reunion of two Year 38 students, Laas, the current Ecoguardian at Race Rocks, and Helen, who is back at Pearson College for a two week visit. Incidentally these were the two artists who painted my VW van!!


Wonderfully impressive experience overall!!

Sea lion necropsy at Weir’s Beach

February 1, 2017

After learning from Ivonne yesterday that there was a dead sea lion at Weir’s Beach and after getting permission from DFO, first and second year Biology students participated in a necropsy of a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) this morning.


Above is how we found it initially yesterday (31 January 2017) – apparently the sea lion washed up on Weir’s Beach, headless, on 20 January.

We began the necropsy by opening up the abdominal cavity.

We excised the liver, stomach and small intestine.

Several students worked on stretching out the small intestine then they measured it to be 51.7 m long!

We then moved into the thoracic cavity, after cutting through the blubber and thick, dark red pectoral muscles.

The heart, right lung and and trachea were removed and examined by students.

We were blasted by sand and a bitterly cold wind throughout, but students remained engaged & interested. An amazing opportunity!

The photo below is my favourite – Emily is holding the mesentery in the wind.

mesentarySee Flickr page for many more photos.

Sea lions, seals and orcas, oh my!

September 28, 2016

First year marine scientists had a wonderful experience at Race Rocks on Friday 23 September. We went to explore this amazing ecosystem and to observe marine mammals and birds.


We brought Felix Butschek (yr 36, Austria) along:


More details to follow on his visit later…

We did see (and hear and smell!) many, many sea lions:

We were also lucky to observe five Northern elephant seals:

As an added bonus one group of students also saw orcas:

For more photos see Flickr album here. And for Anne’s summary of the day and some better orca photos, see the Race Rocks blog.

What a day for mammals!

September 30, 2015

During a second year Marine Science class discussion of human impacts on the mudflats, a student shouted “there’s a bear!”Bears3 Bears

So much for the mudflats… all the students rushed down on to the dock to watch the TWO bears run towards the spiritual centre.

Later in the day, a first year class was welcomed ashore at Great Race Island by the usual suspects, California sea lions, Stellar sea lions and a Northern elephant seal.Pinnipeds

The two highlights of the trip to Race Rocks for me (and the students) though were the humpback whale that was feeding just west of reserve and the sea otter that was frolicking in the kelp on the east side of the island. I took a few terrible photos (worse than the bear photos above), but please see Anne’s photos on the Race Rocks blog (humpback fluke and sea otter).

Kate watching humpback

Race Rocks visits with Year 41 students

September 26, 2014


Three great afternoons at Race Rocks with the three blocks of first year Marine Science students – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

We observed and photographed many sea lions, both California (Zalophus californianus) and Stellar or Northern sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).IMG_1492


IMG_1440P1030504 IMG_1451






We also saw Harbour seals, Elephant seals, Black oystercatchers, Black turnstones, gulls, cormorants, Greater white-fronted geese and Canada geese.



The weather was variable among the three trips – fog, sunshine and rain at various times.  The boat ride back today was particularly wet!

P1030538P1030513Seems as though everyone had a wonderful time overall though!IMG_1477Thanks to Kohtaro & Adva for photos!

And thanks to Anne for her warm (and wise!) hospitality. See for more details and more photos.

Passing the tooth

May 23, 2013

Passing the tooth

Ivan (far left) and Steph (far right), both year 39, each received a sea lion canine tooth from Chris and Sammy (year 38) on the PC dock this afternoon to recognize their outstanding enthusiasm for Marine Science.

Sea lion necropsy 2012

November 13, 2012

Yesterday, Monday 12 November, many Pearson College students were involved in a necropsy of a male California sea lion. We began by towing the carcass to the maintenance dock.

Then pulling it up on to the shore.

Several measurements were recorded.

Standard length: 2.10 m

Curvilinear length: 2.21 m

Anterior length of foreflipper: 57 cm

Axillary flipper length: 45 cm

Widest foreflipper length: 58 cm

Anterior length of hindflipper: 43 cm

Widest hindflipper length: 34 cm

Tail length: 10 cm

Blubber thickness: 4-6 mm

We then cut into the abdominal cavity.

The intestines were removed, stretched out and measured to be 45 m!

Other organs were also removed from the abdominal cavity…

…including the stomach which was opened and found to be empty…

…and the liver.

The heart was also removed and cuts were made into the two ventricles (L and R in photo below).

At one point we needed to roll the sea lion up the shore as the tide was coming in…a significant challenge!

Although it is not clear to us why this particular sea lion died, this was an incredibly valuable experience for many Marine Science and Biology students.

A second dead sea lion…

November 3, 2012

… has made its way into Pedder Bay and is now hanging off the Pearson College dock.

Tucker has done a full inspection.

It seems as though this is the same sea lion that was found dead at Race Rocks last week (Project Week) and hung off the jetty there.


***UPDATE: It turns out that this is NOT the sea lion that was found dead at Race Rocks, but a different one!  Mike found the so-called “RR sea lion” or Ed as he was named by the students during Project Week – it is still at Race Rocks.