Los Farallones

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

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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

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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

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Zalophus Invade the Farallones

Before the early 1800’s the Farallon Islands were home to hundreds of thousands of Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus). The Northern Fur Seal’s coat boasts an impressive 9,000 hairs per square inch. Their precious pelts attracted Russian and Bostonian fur traders, who ruthlessly hunted them until none were left on the islands. Little is known […]

By | October 13, 2015

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Mono Lake Gulls on the Farallones

Most falls since 2001 I have undertaken a migration of sorts: one that takes me from Mono Lake, in eastern California where I live, to Southeast Farallon Island. This island has an in incredible draw for me – the birds, the wildlife, the magic, I keep coming back to satisfy my soul. It seems an […]

By | October 9, 2015

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24th Annual Farallonathon

We just completed our week long 24th annual Farallonathon and despite our relatively slow September, we made a respectable final score compared to the other years. For all of those who are new to this, the Farallonathon is the Southeast Farallon Island’s version of Point Blue’s Bird-a-thon fundraiser. The Farallonathon was started in 1992 by […]

By | October 8, 2015

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Migratory Bats on the Farallon Islands

During the fall, we study many species of animals as they stopover at Southeast Farallon Island to find food and shelter to help them prepare for their migrations. For example, several aquatic migrants stopover at the Farallon Islands to take advantage of the nutrient rich waters, such as white sharks, blue whales, humpback whales, gray whales, […]

By | September 24, 2015