Los Farallones

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


Todays weather was windy and cool, and yesterdays rain had ceased. We were able to do some sharkwatching and observed two attacks. One was a Maintop Bay attack on an Elephant Seal. The attack attracted large numbers of gulls and produced a large slick of blood and oil in the water. The shark itself was seen thrashing at the sight for several minutes. This shark season thus far has been dominated by attacks on the smaller California Sea-Lions which are usually less dramatic.

In bird news we had a few new migrant arrivals, including a flock of 9 American Pipits and a Lapland Longspur. The windy weather was favorable for pelagic species and the seawatches were productive. A trio of geese (2 Cackling and 1 Greater White-fronted) have been hanging around on the marine terrace for several days now. They are a welcome addition to an otherwise slim list of migrants.

Location: Southeast Farallon Island
Observation date: 11/4/08
Number of species: 34

Greater White-fronted Goose 1
Cackling Goose 2
Pacific Loon 4
Eared Grebe 57
Pink-footed Shearwater 23
Buller’s Shearwater 2
Sooty Shearwater 1
Black-vented Shearwater 1
Brown Pelican 73
Brandt’s Cormorant X
Pelagic Cormorant X
Peregrine Falcon 4
Black Oystercatcher 29
Wandering Tattler 1
Willet 1
Whimbrel 3
Black Turnstone 56
Black-legged Kittiwake 2
Western Gull X
California Gull 104
Herring Gull 5
Thayer’s Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Pomarine Jaeger 2
Common Murre X
Burrowing Owl 2
Black Phoebe 10
Say’s Phoebe 3
Rock Wren 2
European Starling 24
American Pipit 9
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
White-throated Sparrow 1
Lapland Longspur 1