Los Farallones

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

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Elephant Seal Update

The northern elephant seal breeding season is in full swing, with 12 cows and 5 pups on Sand Flat (including Drip, Kyra, Aphrodite, and Gypsy with pups, and Siu and Arwen still pregnant), 3 cows and 1 pup in Mirounga Beach, and 1 newly arrived cow on the Marine Terrace of Sand Flat. The photo […]

By | January 6, 2009


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The Battles Have Begun

With the arrival of the first (and so far, the only) pregnant elephant seal cow on Sand Flat – Drip, a 16-year-old cow born on SEFI in 1992 (see photo below of Drip with some amorous young subadults pining after her) – the battles between the males have started. Mauricio was the first bull to […]

By | December 15, 2008


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Sea Lions on Mirounga Beach

It started when cormorants began nesting on the marine terrace of Sand Flat and Mirounga Beach (the primary northern elephant seal areas on SEFI) in spring and summer 2007. To prevent disturbance to these seabirds, PRBO biologists stopped checking on the northern elephant seals to read tags in this area during seabird breeding season and […]

By | December 7, 2008


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4-November-2008

Todays weather was windy and cool, and yesterdays rain had ceased. We were able to do some sharkwatching and observed two attacks. One was a Maintop Bay attack on an Elephant Seal. The attack attracted large numbers of gulls and produced a large slick of blood and oil in the water. The shark itself was […]

By | November 11, 2008


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3-November-2008

Strong SE winds were kicking up in the morning and it was cloudy, but not many birds were migrating in front of the today’s storm. By noon, it started raining and by the end of the day, we’d received nearly an inch. This provided lots of necessary drinking water for next year. Hopefully we’ll get […]

By | November 10, 2008


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2-November-2008

The day after a big storm usually brings strong NW winds and no birds, but we were actually between storms and so we were blessed by light winds and decent visibility.  The best two arrivals were a male Blue-winged Teal and a female Black-throated Blue Warbler.  These are both vagrants from the east. Although, the […]

By | November 9, 2008


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1-November-2008

Today was the first big storm of our upcoming rainy season.  We collect all of our own water for drinking, bathing, and other household stuff on a big, cement catchment pad located on the east side of the island.  During the summer when the rains stop, the Western Gulls like to roost in large numbers on this […]

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31-October-2008

Happy Halloween!  Moderate northwest winds, low visibility, some rain, and fog conspired to make our Halloween a relatively quite one.  The sole new arrivals were a pair of Clay-colored Sparrows. Holidays on the island are always a little different.  For example, this Halloween, no one dressed up, and we had zero kids trick or treating.  […]

By | November 8, 2008


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30-October-2008

The weather looked promising today with overcast skies and light east winds, but there were very few arrivals.  Two birds of interest were the two Red-breasted Mergansers that were found in Mirounga Bay.  The mean arrival date for this species is 24-Nov so these two were on the early side.  Another arrival was of a juvenile tundrius Peregrine […]

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Bats on Southeast Farallon Island

The morning of October 14, 1987 on Southeast Farallon Island was like something out of a bat biologists’ dream. To the biologists that lived on the island, it was just one heck of a “bat day”. Although hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) had consistently appeared on the island each fall since at least the mid 1960’s, […]

By | November 2, 2008