Los Farallones

Dispatches from Point Blue’s field station on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Author Archives: Point Blue at Los Farallones

The Future of Upwelling

May 21, 2018
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One of the main reasons we study seabirds, both on Southeast Farallon Island and on a worldwide scale, is that they provide us with a vital insight into the state of the oceans. If seabirds have a successful breeding season, this tells us that the sea has enough of the right nutrients to support vast […]

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A Surprise Encounter with Sei Whales

May 16, 2018
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Summer on the Farallones isn’t all about the birds. In addition to daily opportunistic sightings, we conduct standard 1-hour whale watches from atop Lighthouse Hill to document the timing and abundance of Cetaceans around the island. These data are useful in particular for showing where whales are in relation to the shipping lanes leading into […]

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Watching the Sea

May 8, 2018
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To celebrate 50 years of research on the Farallones, we plan to briefly highlight some of the different projects we do out here during the summer season. From simple tasks such as taking the weather, to complex tasks like keeping track of over 400 Cassin’s auklet nest boxes. For example every morning, the designated sea […]

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Happy Anniversary!!

April 3, 2018
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  Exactly fifty years ago today, Point Blue (then the fledgling Point Reyes Bird Observatory) biologists officially began our research program on the Farallon Islands. It was at about 11am on Wednesday, April 3 of 1968 that Buddy Robert, C.J. Ralph,  Malcolm Coulter, Fred Sibley, and Richard Bauer landed on Southeast Farallon Island and established […]

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Oh the Times They Are a Changin’

February 10, 2018
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Early February is a time of change for the Southeast Farallon Island’s northern elephant seal inhabitants. Since our last update, we have had some amazing weather and that has allowed the young seals that survived January’s storm to continue to nurse and grow. In fact, earlier this week we had our first pups successfully wean […]

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Numbers, numbers, numbers!

January 25, 2018
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Since our last “Pupdate”, the island has suffered it’s first winter storm which introduced nearly 25 foot swells to the shore line! Unfortunately, these natural wonders had some detrimental effects on the colony. The team stood by in awe as some of the incoming swells swept cows, bulls, and pups alike out of the lower […]

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Threats to the Farallones! We need your help!

January 12, 2018
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  By Ellie Cohen | January 11, 2018 Point Blue Farallon Biologist and rhinoceros auklet. Photo: Annie Schmidt/Point Blue/USFWS Spring 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Point Blue’s globally-renowned Farallon Island program. Our scientists have studied and protected the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous US for 5 decades–24/7–in a uniquely successful long-term partnership […]

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Pupdate from Team Eseal 8


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The winter season has gotten off to a slow start this year, with the first pup being born on December 29th, 2017. This is 5 days later that the long-term mean date for the first pup, and the latest on record for SEFI! As the Farallones continue to lose sand from their beaches, the haul […]

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Happy Holidays – Team Eseal 8

December 26, 2017
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GARRETT DUNCAN: WINTER FARALLON PROGRAM BIOLOGIST Garrett Duncan graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Geology but has since applied himself to ecology and conservation. He participated in several avian research projects including a Cloud Forest Ecology Project in Colombia and a Grassland Songbird Productivity study in Montana. In 2016, he was a […]

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A Kermadec Petrel (Pterodroma neglecta) on Southeast Farallon Island

October 3, 2017
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by Adam Searcy On September 8th, 2017, I was finishing up the last shark watch of the evening at the lighthouse atop Southeast Farallon Island. At about 5:15PM, thick fog rolled in, so I shut down the watch and sheltered inside of the lighthouse to see if it would clear. It did not, so at […]

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