Monday, September 24, 2018

Intertidal Monitoring Project at Cape George

Submitted to WA Dept. of Natural Resources Aquatic Reserve Newsletter by PTMSC's Citizen Science Coordinator Betsy Carlson:

It was a busy summer in the waters and along the shore of Protection Island Aquatic Reserve (PIAR). Citizen Stewards conducted the first Intertidal Monitoring Project with the Cape George Environmental Committee and Port Townsend Marine Science Center volunteers and staff near Cape George Colony. Eleanor Hines, Michael Kyte and Erica Bleke brought their expertise from Fidalgo Bay and Cherry Point Reserves, to help make this a very successful event. Twenty people participated and recorded 88 species.

Out on the water, Port Townsend Marine Science Center and Puget Sound Express hosted five “Puffin Cruises” for 230 people through Protection Island Aquatic Reserve. (sign up for an upcoming Protection Island cruise here!) One trip took a detour to Smith Island to see a Horned Puffin that had been reported in the area. On their way back, a pod of orcas passed by making it a very memorable evening.

The intrepid team of Bob Boekelheide, birder, Ross Anderson, boat captain, and others, continued monthly bird and marine mammal surveys in PAIR and Protection Island eagle counts from the boat. August survey was the third highest bird density that has been recorded since the start of monthly surveys in November 2016. In Bob Boekelheide’s July report, he wrote “As is typical during summer, locally nesting species -- Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Glaucous-winged Gulls -- dominated the survey. These three species accounted for over 76 percent of all the birds we recorded. The next two most abundant species, Common Murre and California Gull, do not nest here, but both use the Aquatic Reserve as migration stopovers. These five most abundant species accounted for 95 percent of all the birds we tallied.” Harbor porpoises continue to forage in the waters around Protection Island and are most often observed south and southwest of the island. And, in September, a minke whale swam through a transect east of the island.

Bald Eagle numbers soar in the summer with nesting birds and hatchlings along with the occasional ailing harbor seal pup providing easy prey. The crew has counted as many as 63 eagles and over 600 harbor seal pups on the island. Winter months bring greater species diversity as seabirds migrate into the area and fewer eagles when harbor seals and nesting birds are no longer present.

If you would like to learn more about the bird and mammal surveys, come to the afternoon lecture on February 20th, when Bob Boekelheide will be presenting a talk “Seabirds and Marine Mammals of Protection Island AquaticReserve” as part of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s Future of Oceans speaker series.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall Migration Cruises to Protection Island

2 Dates:

October 6


October 13

Just outside of Port Townsend is an amazing National Wildlife Refuge — Protection Island. Nearly 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Straits nest on the island, which includes one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinoceros auklets in the world and the largest nesting colony of glaucous-winged gulls in Washington. The island contains one of the last two nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals depend upon the island for a pupping and rest area.

This 364-acre island is covered by grass and low brush, with a small timbered area, high sandy bluffs for seabird nesting, and low sand spits on two ends of the island.

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center – in collaboration with Puget Sound Express – hosts special expeditions to Protection Island. Cruises are scheduled in spring and fall, timed to coincide with annual migrations, with special trips planned for Thanksgiving weekend and New Years Eve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018/19 Lecture Series: The Future of Oceans

All lectures take place in the Chapel at Fort Worden at 3 pm on the designated day.

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Swimming Through Swirls:
Observing Ribbons and Rings of Ocean Circulation Autonomously

Charles Eriksen, Ph.D
Professor of Oceanography, University of Washington

Sunday, November 11, 2018
The Northwest Coastal Explorer
(lecture and book signing)
Bob Steelquist, Author

December 9, 2018
The Octopus Learning Project
Florian Graner
SeaLife Productions

January 13, 2019
Big Science in Our Small Ocean
Professor Jan Newton, Ph.D
Senior Principal Oceanographer, Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington

$5 per lecture (students & teachers FREE)
FREE admission for Octopus and Orca Donor Circle Members.
Become a member today.

Assisted Listening Devices available
Thanks to the Darrow Family for their ongoing support