FARALLONATHON – DAY 4
October 11, 2010
The dawn weather seemed pretty good for the bird fallout we’d been waiting for. The skies were mostly cloudy, the winds were only 2 knots out of the east, and the visibility was barely 20 miles. These conditions usually bring lots of birds. Today did bring birds, but not as many as anticipated. Walking around outside at dawn was fairly quiet. On a good wave day, there should have been “zeets” and “seets” of bird giving flight calls everywhere. Instead, there was just the barking of California Sea Lions. As the day progressed, though, more migrants trickled to the island, and we ended up having a pretty good day for western migrants. The sparrows were the most numerous with 50 Savannah Sparrows and 16 White-crowned Sparrows. But we also had a good showing of a few other species such as a dozen Audubon’s Warblers, 14 American Goldfinches (new for Farallonathon), and 7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Two early season migrants were new for Farallonathon: Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting. We were also able to pick up a few of the less common western migrants to the Farallones such as Surf Scoter, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Semipalmated Plover, Pacific Wren, and Varied Thrush. Overall, 43 birds were banded, which isn’t too bad, but we really needed a big fallout with lots of diversity to increase our overall point total. What was especially bothersome was that there were no vagrants.
Today’s points (8 migrant birds, 2 dragonflies, and 5 for one shark attack) brought up our Farallonathon total to just 126. We were really going to need a big wave or more shark action to bring up our total.