What is that MUSKY smell?

SEFI is bustling with many smells… the fragrance of blooming weeds, the fetid whiff of marine mammals, the ambrosial scents of a Sunday brunch, the putrid smells of seabird guano, the tantalizing aroma of Jen’s fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and many more. But, of all the myriad smells we experience daily on this island, my

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Photo a Day project

New Farallon photo project by Annie Schmidt. Check it out!Farallon Photo a Day: 2011

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The Birds Have Arrived!

The seabird breeding season on the Farallons has begun! We’ve been watching Common Murres, Brandt’s Cormorants, Cassin’s Auklets, and Pigeon Guillemots arrive to the islands, as they do each spring/summer season. Common Murres at nesting sites The first birds to start nesting were the Cassin’s Auklets. These are cute little seabirds that hang out at

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Spring, Seabirds, and Spray

In mid March, after 3.5 months on the island, the winter crew departed in one of our seasonal crew switches. It is now seabird season, and the seasons of wildlife have changed with the weather. After a very wet March with storms from the south, clear skies, and strong northwest winds have returned, as you can

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January Showers Bring February Flowers and a Weaner Pod with Superpowers

We’re starting to notice veritable signs of spring here on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI). The endemic Farallon Weed covering the island has morphed into a carpet of golden flowers. Some of the seabirds, such as the Pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants, are starting to display their breeding plumage. The Pelagic cormorants exhibit a white patch on

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Island Life for Salamanders

Farallon Arboreal Salamander Aneidis lugubris farallonensis  Sharing its origins with the core of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Farallon Islands were violently shaken free from the mainland some 10,000 years ago. In the ensuing years the Farallones have drifted northwest as a result of movements from the Pacific Plate and currently reside 27 miles west

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The Farallones Elephant Seal Factory

First thing is first. A new introduction is of primary importance. The winter researcher colony gained another member just before the holidays. Jaime Neill has joined the crew as our third winter intern. She hails from North Carolina and has recently been working with nesting sea turtles in Florida. She has experience with a variety

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Burrowing Owls on the Farallones??!

Yes, it’s true! There are burrowing owls on Southeast Farallon Island (aka, SEFI), and no, they are not an introduced species. Many people will be surprised to learn that these petite (10 inches tall and 1/3 pound) owls are here, because they are terrestrial owls, typically associated with expanses of flat grassland, open fields or

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Welcome to the winter season

It has been just over a week since the seasonal switchover and the winter team is settling in. We were brought to the island by a couple of wonderful Farallon patrol volunteers – Warren Sanky and Alan Weaver – who made our voyage safe and comfortable in a 40 foot power boat. During the past week the new

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Farallon Superstitions – Boat Days and the Sacrifice

Ever since I first started coming out in 2000, I have heard about how the best birds are always found on Boat Days. Why should it matter that good birds are found on Boat Days you may wonder? The reason is that it takes time to properly document a rare bird, and we all want

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