Los Farallones

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

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25th Annual Farallonathon: September 25th through October 1st, 2016

The Farallon Fall Crew recently completed their 25th annual week-long Farallonathon which is part of Point Blue’s Bird-a-thon fundraiser. It was started in 1992 by Peter Pyle in order to highlight the island’s biodiversity. On the Farallones, we count more than just birds — mammals, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, and sharks are also tallied. Points are […]

By | October 14, 2016


This Prairie Warbler finds itself stuck between a rock and a blue place.

Stuck Between a Rock and a Blue (or Gray) Place

There’s no denying it; those of us living on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI) are stuck on a big rock in the Pacific Ocean. There are no mountains, no valleys, no forests, no wetlands. The sky is above us and the sea is virtually everywhere else. When both are calm, it can be hard to tell […]

By | September 27, 2016


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Small Seabird Causes a Big Surprise

A recent storm-petrel netting effort by biologists on the island has proven once again that sometimes the most exciting discoveries come wrapped in the smallest of packages. At least twice a month, an effort is made on the island to capture and band as many of our breeding Ashy Storm-Petrels in a three-hour period as […]

By | August 2, 2016


Orange-billed Murre

Orange is the new bill – The “uncommon” murre

We all thought we had “crazy eyes” when this bird was first sighted by summer research assistant Brad Wilkinson at our Common murre colony on Shubrick Point. But sure enough this “uncommon” trait within murres popped up among the sea of black and white. Point Blue’s Farallon Biologist, Pete Warzybok, who has spent 17 seasons […]

By | June 16, 2016


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An ankle monitor for seabirds

No, this shiny piece of bling on this bird’s leg isn’t jewelry or an identification tag. It is more like an ankle monitor that police place on parolees to find out their location. It is called a geolocation (GLS) tag and lets biologists track birds by recording light levels. The time of sunrise and sunset lets scientists calculate […]

By | May 21, 2016


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The Remarkable Farallons

Check out this find, a 1978 episode of Mutual of Ohama’s Wild Kingdom (featuring narration by the legendary Marlon Perkins) that was shot on the Farallones. “The Remarkable Farallones” features Point Reyes Bird Observatory Farallon Biologists Harriet Huber and Steve Morrell – Along with Patrol skipper Charlie Merrill and his boat Cimba –  and shows […]

By | May 19, 2016


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A new gull in town: small, dark, and handsome

Thanks to the keen eyes and excellent photographic skills of intern Kiah Walker, I saw my ever first Kelp Gull today on the helopad.  This is only the second island record of this South American species, with has only a handful of California records. One was also seen on the island last spring. While it […]

By | April 27, 2016


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Meet the Island!

As the Northern Elephant seal breeding season is winding down, and coming to an end the Winter season crew enters a mode of reflection, of seals, life, and the island. Most of the Southeast Farallon islands’ locations and structures have names, many of which haven’t changed since the 1800’s, and has allowed for an incredible […]

By | March 2, 2016


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Pups and Weaners!

As we come to the middle of the winter season the majority of the cows that are going to pup on the Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI) this year have made it to the colony and pupped. Although a few stragglers may still arrive some of the first cows that arrived back in December have already […]

By | February 17, 2016


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Meet the Cows!

You’ve met the males, now meet the seals that bring those boys to the beach – the cows! Specifically, our known-age nursing female northern elephant seals and their pups.  There are currently 72 female elephant seals and 41 of their pups at the main colony on Southeast Farallon Island. Six of these cows are known […]

By | January 30, 2016