i have heard from several people about a HUGE feeding event that happened friday afternoon at Phipps Point! Dozens of Eagles were in every Tree, Sea Lions leaping through the water, Eagles & Gulls diving at the surface. It seemed the Herring had come close to shore & the surface & everyone was taking advantage of that.
Yesterday i drove through the Nest neighbourhood & spotted two Eagles perched in one of the Niners* Trees near the water. As i got closer i looked at the Tree that is right on the bank to the water & spotted another Eagle! Then i saw another! & another! & another! The light was gone so i didn*t stop to photograph. Six Eagles all close to one another! So perhaps some kind of feeding event happened here?
Joe told us some great stories about sea lion and whale rescues.
Sea lions often get entangled, getting plastic things stuck around their neck. Rescues are devilishly difficult. The sea lions are usually sedated remotely, by shooting a dart full of medication into the shoulder. Image trying to do that, from a boat, to a sea lion who is hauled up with a few hundred of his buddies.
Now, you're trying to sedate an animal who can dive for several minutes, can slow down his pulse almost to nothing, not to mention the size... Previous drug combinations used to depress the animal's breathing, so a sea lion who dove into the water after being shot would sink to the bottom and die.
The scientists from Vancouver Aquarium are now using a new combination of three drugs that circumvent these problems. The animal continues breathing slowly and will float in the water, taking a small breath from time to time even while sedated. The sedation lasts until an antidote is administered.
So it goes roughly like this: someone with fabulous aim shoots a dart into the entangled animal's shoulder. If the sea lion is on land, the rescuers then have to gently shoo away all the other sea lions... Gently and gradually so they don't trample the sedated one. Then they can approach and cut off the entanglement.
As you can imagine, only a very few of the hundreds of entangled animals can be rescued this way. But what I like about the Sea Doc society is that the heroics are not the big thing... Research and prevention are. So after observing many entangled animals, and rescuing the few they could, they figured out the most common cause of entanglement: those white plastic straps from packaging! So what's next? Talk to really big shippers, like Amazon, and convince them that they need to change their packaging materials. What about something that would degrade after a few days in salt water?
Humpback whales, in Puget Sound, get entangled mostly in crab-fishing gear... So Sea Doc asks, what changes can we make to the fishing gear so that the whales are less likely to get tangled? What historical methods worked better, or how can new technology help? Then in both case there's the education aspect... Promoting community shoreline cleanups, promoting the organizations that collect derelict fishing gear from the sea floor... No big glory in prevention but it may save more animals than any other approach.
Click here to see a blog post by Vancouver Aquarium about shared efforts with the Sea Doc Society to rescue entangled sea lions.
The same story, with less details, from Sea Doc's point of view here.
MaggiesMom has been treating us chatters with photos and reports of her yearly trips to Costa Rica for the past few winters. The nightly Costa Rica reports, sometimes complete with photos and mystery birds to identify, have been something to look forward to on long dark winter nights.
It's time to share these reports more widely, and to give them more permanence than they have on the chat. Thanks for volunteering to post your photos in this thread, Maggies!
Others traveling to the region are welcome to weigh in with their own stories. This is a fascinating, rich area where one might see some of our summer birds, plus a lot of exotic critters and plants.