Los Farallones

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


Today was the first big storm of our upcoming rainy season.  We collect all of our own water for drinking, bathing, and other household stuff on a big, cement catchment pad located on the east side of the island.  During the summer when the rains stop, the Western Gulls like to roost in large numbers on this catchment pad.  The excrement that fouls the pad and other debris (dry soil, feathers, gull juju) blown there by strong summer winds all needs to be scrubbed off during the first big storm of the rainy season to get it ready to collect water.  So, we all grabbed a stiff-bristled broom and scrubbed the pad during the heavy downpours for about 6 hours.  In total, we received about an inch of rain, which is just about the right amount to clean the pad.

Since the rain did not really start coming down until nearly noon, we got a little birding in during the gusty SE winds.  The most interesting birds were the Black-vented Shearwaters seen while seawatching. This species is usually more southerly, but for some reason good numbers were around the island for a few days.  Normally their numbers increase in the north when the sea temperature increases such as during an El Nino event.  But ever since the big blow we experienced back in early October, the sea surface temperature has been quite normal (~12.5 degrees Celsius or 54.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Location: Southeast Farallon Island
Observation date: 11/1/08
Number of species: 35

Greater White-fronted Goose 1
Brant 2
Cackling Goose 16
Green-winged Teal 1
Pacific Loon 1
Eared Grebe 47
Pink-footed Shearwater 3
Buller’s Shearwater 198
Sooty Shearwater 2
Black-vented Shearwater 9
Brown Pelican 15
Brandt’s Cormorant X
Pelagic Cormorant X
Peregrine Falcon (Continental) 2
Black Oystercatcher 37
Wandering Tattler 3
Willet 1
Whimbrel 3
Black Turnstone 31
Least Sandpiper 3
Heermann’s Gull 1
Western Gull X
California Gull 231
Herring Gull 4
Burrowing Owl 1
Black Phoebe 8
Say’s Phoebe 2
Rock Wren 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Palm Warbler (Western) 1
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) 1
Western Meadowlark 3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(