Los Farallones

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

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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


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The Value of Dead Birds

Many people have come to know Southeast Farallon Island by the vast amount of life that graces its waters, shores and rocky outcroppings. Abundance of life is often the first thing visitors notice when nearing the island. Another feature that many notice is the conspicuous number of dead birds. Indeed, this second observation is quite […]

By | September 16, 2015


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Brandt’s Cormorant Diet Studies

My internship at the Farallones involved many different fascinating studies, but one of my favorite studies were the seabird diets, as they really tie in the oceanographic aspect of marine ornithology. We are lucky to be able to live on this incredible, rugged island surrounded by the Pacific ocean and work with the birds that […]

By | September 4, 2015


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Changing of the Guard: Week One of the Fall Season

   Breeding seabird numbers are declining on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI) as fledgling cormorants, guillemots, and puffins head to sea to ply their trades.  Western Gull chicks are still numerous, but many have fledged and total numbers are slowly decreasing.  As seabirds depart, landbird migrants are arriving in greater numbers as we move into peak […]

By | August 23, 2015


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Whales galore!

As an intern working for Point Blue Conservation Science, I spend the majority of my time focused on the seabirds of the Farallones, but cetaceans are also an important part of the research undertaken here. Over the past two months, I have spent many hours cataloging the numbers of whales and dolphins around the islands. […]

By | July 15, 2015


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Reposting an oldie but a goodie – Murre chicks fledging

//www.youtube.com/get_player In response to some requests, and considering the time of year – when murre chicks will soon start fledging from the island with their dads, here’s some great fledging video former intern Meghan Riley shot several years back. For more about the amazing event that is murre fledging check out this post from 2007 […]

By | July 2, 2015


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I feel the need, the need to breed…..

After celebrating it’s third year “Ganniversary” on the island – commemorated in the great wooden plaque in our kitchen, our male Northern Gannet has changed it’s behavior radically. Even though this Atlantic bird, the only of it’s kind in the Pacific that likely traveled through an ice free Northwest Passage, can’t find a mate here […]

By | June 6, 2015


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Goodbye Elephant Seals, Hello Seabirds!

March 11thmarked the end of the 2014-2015 SEFI elephant seal breeding season. Pup -91 was the last to wean. This year we had 93 cows, 67 of which pupped. Of those 67, 42 successfully weaned.  When going through our data, we noticed that there was higher pup mortality this winter season. One reason for this […]

By | March 24, 2015


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Tristram’s Storm-Petrel back on the Farallones!

Today our 2 new interns (Sean and Eva) found this fresh storm-petrel carcass (killed by a Burrowing Owl) on our first storm-petrel predation survey of the seabird season. Upon seeing the bird, I did a double take at it’s massive size and knew immediately that this was not one of the Ashy or Leach’s Storm-petrels […]

By | March 19, 2015


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Cetacean Watch with Spotter Pro App and ORCAS!

Whilst we focus on researching the breeding elephant seals during the winter season, there are many other aspects to our daily data collection. One of which is looking for whales and dolphins from the lighthouse. We try to carry out at least two cetacean surveys a day, although this depends on weather conditions, especially sea […]

By | March 11, 2015