Los Farallones

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

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

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

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

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

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

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

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

Meet the Males

You’ve had a chance to read about the human team on SEFI, but what about the seals?  The season is in full swing now so it seems like a good time to introduce some of the island’s most colourful characters- the male elephant seals.  The competitors for supremacy this year are: Danny- isn’t he gorgeous? […]

By | January 17, 2016

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Happy Holidays from the 2015-16 Farallon Winter Crew

Greetings everyone!All is well out here on the Farallon Islands. We have been spending a lot of our time dodging rain drops and trying not to get blown off this rock. As mentioned in the previous blog we’ve been experiencing large swells out here and they have continued to impress. We’d like to take this […]

By | December 29, 2015

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The Power of the Sea

Giant Swells breaking across Sewer Gulch Break, break, breakOn thy cold gray stones, O Sea!And I would that my tongue could utterThe thoughts that arise in me.Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet, 1842 20ft waves wipe out Study Point Peninsula in Maintop Bay It’s Alaska big out here! Jonathan Shore, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, […]

By | December 12, 2015

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A Warming Ocean Brings the Tropics to the Farallones–But It’s Not Fun in the Sun for Everyone

The month of October had something of a tropical feel at Southeast Farallon Island–no, its barren rocks and few Monterey Cypress were not suddenly replaced by white sand beaches and palm trees, but recently, wildlife more characteristic of tropical latitudes have been visiting the island. Throughout October, we witnessed species like Brown Boobies, Common Dolphins, […]

By | December 5, 2015

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Conservation Conundrum: The interaction of Burrowing Owls, Ashy Storm-Petrels, and House Mice

    Fall on the Farallon Islands may bring up exciting ideas about songbirds, seabirds, cetaceans, or pinnipeds, but Southeast Farallon Island’s most abundant species each fall is the non-native house mouse (Mus musculus). In 2010, population estimates recorded house mouse density to be ten times greater than densities reported on the mainland or on other […]

By | November 29, 2015

The “Beautiful-Nosed Sea Bears”: Catching Up with a Colony in Recovery

A recent post to Los Farallones gave us an update on the changing status of Zalophus (i.e., California Sea Lion) on and around Southeast Farallon Island and greater California. But how about the Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus)? Extirpated from the island in the mid-19th century, how is their population faring today, especially in light […]

By | November 17, 2015

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

Partial Amelanism or Albinism: Not So Black and White

It’s a common knee-jerk reaction to call any bird with abnormal white feathers an albino. This is understandable given that albinism is a recessive genetic condition that causes afflicted vertebrates to appear entirely white or pink, while animals with patches of white are often called partial albinos. However, by breaking down the three more common […]

By | November 13, 2015