Ballingall Islets ER #151 Overview
To preserve nesting sites of colonial seabirds
This small rocky archipelago is comprised of two islets that are made up of glaciated and wave-worn sedimentary bedrock of the Nanaimo Group, and are oriented in a northwest-southeast direction located between Saltspring and Galiano islands in the Trincomali Channel. These semi-protected islets are barren except for a single dead juniper attached to one of the rocks.
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There is no surficial soil on the islets sufficient for vascular plant growth. Lichens and bryophytes are present on the islets.
The Ballingall Islets were originally designated as a nature park to protect colonies of double-crested and pelagic cormorants. At the time of designation, 28 nests of double-crested cormorants and 11 nests of pelagic cormorants were observed. Nesting failures, due in part to human disturbance, have caused a severe decline in cormorant populations in the Strait of Georgia and neither species of cormorants have been observed on the islets since 1987. The reserve now serves as an historic nesting site and it is hoped that by preserving and possibly enhancing this habitat, they will repopulate the reserve.
The reserve remains an important nesting site for gulls and pigeon guillemots.
Access: Closed to public to protect the sensitive ecosystem. A permit is required to land on the islets.
Accessible by boat through Trincomali Channel.
Presence of motorized vessels and kayaks disrupts marine mammal and bird behaviour.
As the climate changes, the islets may be subject to habitat loss due to rising sea levels and increased storm activity. Warming sea surface temperatures may alter the life cycles and distribution of marine species, subsequently impacting the sea bird populations that depend on marine food sources.
Islets are appropriate site for seabird population studies and recovery strategies for cormorants.
Flora : none listed
Cormorant, Double-crested (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Cormorant, Pelagic (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)
Guillemot, Pigeon (Cepphus columba)