Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 4. The Odyan Bay and the Staritskogo Peninsula

August 4. The Odyan Bay and the Staritskogo Peninsula

We had a short sleep at the Ploskiy Ranger's Station we set off to the Odyan Bay early in the morning. In order to get high tide at the east-most part of the bay it has to be at the time of the high tide. Otherwise shallow bays wont be surveyed properly. By 6 am we were already in view of the Umara island. Unfortunately there were no eagles on the island, but the northern tip of the island greeted us with a group of the Steller's Sea lion. That was a surprise, as we have never seen the Sea Lions there. Especially the group.

The southern coast of the Odyan bay did not have any active nests, so we buzzed through this portion of the coastline with a considerable speed. However at the North-Eastern corner of the Odyan Bay while we stopped in order to look at an eagle nest, we had to slow down for some time. The reason was the orcas. A small pod of orcas were methodically diving around the boat.

Combination of calm waters and presence of these whales was rather unique. From 1994 we have never had such an opportunities.  Naturally we snapped view photos and I took the video.

The magnificent whales disappeared into the southern part of the bay, but we had to continue with the surveys and as now, yet, we have not seen any chicks in the eagle territories. We had to pass another 2 territories before we saw the first productive nest. Two chicks (although difficult to see from the water, as both started to hide), first productive nest for a day.

We continued to carry on, pass 2 shallow bays in critically correct high tide point and came out to the Naydenay bay, the place surveyed on July, 24. So far, the route return 2 occupied nests with chicks.
We plugged on towards the Ola river estuary. This portion of the coast returned 8 productive nest including two with 2 chicks. There was one new nest built in the area, but not yet productive.

By the middle of the day we were close to the entrance of the Ola lagoon, and guess, what, it was low tide. Since both the weather and fuel allowed, we took the decesion to check the Staritskogo peninsula in the same day.

The famous nest of the eagles at the Power Station's resort was not occupied. But the Startskogo Peninsula returned four occupied nests including one new nest which was occupied and had 2 chicks (sic!).  We suspect that this was the pair from the Power Station resort. A mere guess on our behalf. So, the three Startiskogo peninsula nests had 2 chicks and 1 had only one chick. A really great result across years. The nest at the Nedorasumenya Island had also 2 chicks, suggesting some good conditions for the eagles this year. However both pairs on the mainland behind the Nedorasumenya island were not occupied.

We went into the Nagaeva bay and while entering the bay we saw a ship coming out of the sea port.

Bourbon Explorer 516. An Oil Rig supply ship. From Marcelle, France. In Magadan. This suggests that the Big Oil is going to be a factor in the Steller's Sea Eagle Ecology very soon.

At the evening with the coming tide we were in Magadan at the mercy of our friends who had to pick us up with little warning.

The global result of this day was: Odyan portion of the coastline had low breeding output, but the Staritskogo peninsula part had a great breeding rate. No clues why. The track length was 237 km, not a bad for a day.

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