Los Farallones

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

SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

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


SEFI Aerial_East Side_JohnWarzybok

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


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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