Los Farallones

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


Today was a major boat day, with 14 people arriving on the Island. Most were contractors that began work on refurbishing our solar panel system. Amazingly, virtually everything on the Island is powered entirely by 30 solar panels on the roof of the Power House. We derive all of the power we need to live on the Island from the sun! Even the lighthouse, with its six powerful beams, is powered by the sun. The only thing on the Island that is not powered by solar power is the boom that we use to move the boat on and off the island. It is powered by two diesel generators that also serve as a back-up power supply. The new solar power array will be new-and-improved and modernized and the project will (hopefully) be finished by the end of the week.

Similar to yesterday, the morning winds were light out of the SSW, but with a thick blanket of fog concealling the island from most of the wayward migrants. Despite this, we added four new species of birds to our Farallonathon total today: a Greater Yellowlegs flew by the Lighthouse, a Least Flycatcher was found near E-Seal Blind Hill, an Eastern Phoebe was at Sea Lion Cove, and a Bay-breasted Warbler was on Corm Blind Hill. A mid-sized Mola Mola, or Ocean Sunfish, was spotted from the Lighthouse during shark watch, for another point. Mola Molas generally only show up in ‘warm water’ years, so seeing this odd fish from the Island was a nice treat. Finally, a shark attack on an immature Elephant Seal east of Fisherman’s Bay gave us five points. We gained ten new points for the day, leaving us at 103 Farallonathon points.

Eastern Phoebe

Photo © Matt Brady Bay-breasted Warbler
Photo © Matt Brady

ebird list below:

Location: Southeast Farallon Island
Observation date: 10/3/08
Number of species: 34

Greater White-fronted Goose 13
Eared Grebe 17
Pink-footed Shearwater 14
Ashy Storm-Petrel X
Brown Pelican X
Brandt’s Cormorant X
Pelagic Cormorant X
Peregrine Falcon (Continental) 2
Black Oystercatcher X
Wandering Tattler 4
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Whimbrel 7
Black Turnstone 20
Least Sandpiper 1
Heermann’s Gull 43
Western Gull X
California Gull 412
Barn Owl 1
Burrowing Owl 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Black Phoebe 6
Eastern Phoebe 1
Say’s Phoebe 3
House Wren 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) 1
Palm Warbler (Western) 1
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Ovenbird 1
Chipping Sparrow 4
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 2