Molly is Back!

Molly, the brant who hangs out with the western gulls on SEFI from time to time, is back after a several-month absence. Welcome back, Molly!

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Peak of the Elephant Seal Breeding Season

The last days of January are the peak of the northern elephant seal breeding season on the South Farallon Islands. Most cows have already arrived and given birth on the rookeries, which echo with the sounds of cows calling to their screaming pups and males bellowing to intruders. We can hear the cacophony all the

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Stormy Weather

The Farallon Islands have been pummeled by a series of major storms over the past few days. The massive swells crashing into the island are awe-inspiring and the intermittent heavy rains are filling our cistern with much-needed drinking water to last PRBO biologists the rest of the year. The huge waves – especially at high

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20 Orca seen today!

During this morning’s lighthouse watch, I saw 20 Orca swimming west of the island, headed southeast.5 big males were in the group and perhaps 4 juveniles.Very exciting!

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The Battles Begin

The genus Mirounga comprises the northern and southern elephant seals, the largest pinnipeds in the world. Our large northern elephant seal bulls on Southeast Farallon Island weigh up to 5,000 pounds – some particularly massive ones are even heavier. Northern elephant seals are highly sexually dimorphic, with males weighing 3 to 6 times more than

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It's big, it's blue, it's broken!

Living on a remote island wildlife refuge is a wonderful experience for the biologists and research assistants of PRBO. However, all food and personnel must come and go via boat, and the ocean is so rough at SEFI that no boat docks exist. Our main facility for getting things and people on and off the

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Winter Season Begins

The 2010 winter crew has arrived at SEFI, eager to being monitoring this season’s northern elephant seal reproduction. We welcomed the continued presence of California and Steller sea lions at Sand Flat and Mirounga Beach, our main elephant seal breeding beaches. Northern fur seals have even been spotted twice at Sand Flat over the past

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COUNTING BIRDS YOU CAN’T SEE?

Effective conservation of a species requires that you have some idea as to how many individuals there are in a population, whether the population is stable, growing, or declining, and what factors may influence those trends. The Farallon Islands are home to the largest seabird colony in the contiguous United States and currently have more than

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Farallon Update – Nov 8

A crew transfer occurred on Oct 25th ushering in a shift from the early and mid season migration to the late season migration. During fall migration, the early migrants include the bulk of the shorebirds, flycatchers, and warblers which pass through mostly during late August and September. During October, these species begin tapering off rapidly

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Farallon Update – October 21

Well it’s been a quiet week on Southeast Farallon, our home island, out here on the edge of the continental shelf. With September being one of the slowest on record (we banded 90% fewer birds than average), the crew was a bit downtrodden. We had to take joy in the few birds that were showing

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