Los Farallones

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

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Powered by the Sun

The Southeast Farallon Island research station is powered primarily by the sun’s energy. Eleven years ago, a solar array was installed on the roof of the powerhouse and a battery bank inside supplies the houses and workshops with electricity. Those solar panels and batteries served us very well for the past decade. This solar power […]

By | February 22, 2009

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Weaner City 2009

This is every elephant seal lover’s favorite time of year. Plump, big-eyed weaned pups are now the most numerous age class of elephant seals on SEFI. The beaches and marine terrace are strewn with weaners who were left behind when their hungry mothers headed back out to sea after nursing their pups for 25 to […]

By | February 20, 2009

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West End Excursion

Today, SEFI biologists made a special, all-day excursion over Jordan Channel to West End Island to check two elephant seal breeding beaches. This trip is a rarity and a privilege because West End receives an extra level of protection from human disturbance. Literally thousands of seabirds and California sea lions reside here, as well as […]

By | February 6, 2009

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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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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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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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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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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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