Calm winds bring birds to the Farallones

On October 15th, the anemometer on the island weather station came to a halt under a low cloud ceiling; low winds and extensive cloud cover create ideal conditions for attracting migrant birds to the island.

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Migrant wave

Today brought light winds, great visibility, and lots of new migrants including this gorgeous golden-crowned kinglet. Check out our ebird list to see what else we saw today (http://ebird.org/hotspot/L329116).

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Farallonathon 2019!

From September 27 to October 3, the fall crew conducted the 28th annual Farallonathon, the Southeast Farallon Island rendition of Point Blue’s annual Bird-a-thon fundraiser. Points are awarded for each unique species of bird, marine mammal, bat, fish, salamander, dragonfly and butterfly throughout the week. Supporters are encouraged to pledge a donation per point earned during the Farallonathon to help support our research and conservation work on the Farallones. Or, you can simply make a donation in a fixed dollar amount. Every bit helps. This year the Farallonathon resulted in a total of 128 points and includes highlights such as Painted Bunting and Yellow-green Vireo. Click below for a detailed day by day accounting of our sightings and Thank You for supporting Point Blue’s Farallon Program.

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A slow, yet surprising September

Despite low overall numbers for the fall migration so far, September has brought a nice assortment of island rarities.

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Tag! Fur seals are it on the Farallones

Starting in 2017, Point Blue biologists began working with partners at NOAA’s Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle and The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito to deploy flipper tags on northern fur seal pups at the Farallones. By tagging pups with unique numbered identification tags, we are able to follow them throughout their lives and learn about pup survival at this colony, recruitment of young into the future breeding population, and movement of individuals between the Farallon rookery and other fur seal rookeries.

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Fall migration isn’t just for the birds!

During the fall months, humpback whales begin their long migration from cold, food-rich waters in the north to the warm waters of the southern calving grounds. We’ve recently seen a sudden influx of humpbacks around the island as a large wave of migrants coming down from the north are drawn in close to the island by large schools of bait fish like anchovies. 

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The fall crew arrives (and so do the migrants!)

Mid-August is an exciting time of turnover on Southeast Farallon Island, with the summer season drawing to a close, and the fall season just starting to heat up. The arrival of the fall crew on Saturday coincided perfectly with a sudden influx of migrant songbirds. Highlight species thus far have included a vagrant Northern Waterthrush and more common western migrants such as Hermit Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Townsend’s Warblers, a Willow Flycatcher, and a Lark Sparrow.

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Netting For Fish

By Miles Scheuering   It is the peak of the chick-rearing period for rhinoceros auklets on Southeast Farallon Island, which means every night the adults return to their burrows with bill-loads of fish for their chicks. As part of a long-term monitoring study of their diet, we use mist nets to capture adults and collect

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The Secret Lives of Murres

By San Jose State University graduate student and former Point Blue intern Sean Gee.   Common murres are the most populous seabird species breeding on the Farallones, and one of the most abundant seabirds in the north Pacific. Point Blue Conservation Science has been collecting data on the population size, breeding biology, and chick diet

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Rare Sighting of an Ancient Murrelet Chick

  Every season on Southeast Farallon Island has its share of surprises. From the residency of a northern gannet in 2012, to the invasion of hundreds of fork-tailed storm-petrels in 2017. This year it’s a family group of ancient murrelets, a species of wing-propelled diving seabirds that breeds well north of the Farallones. Seabirds generally

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