Los Farallones

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

Watching the Sea

To celebrate 50 years of research on the Farallones, we plan to briefly highlight some of the different projects we do out here during the summer season. From simple tasks such as taking the weather, to complex tasks like keeping track of over 400 Cassin’s auklet nest boxes. For example every morning, the designated sea watch person (Katie in the case of the photo) sets up a 50x spotting scope on the front porch of the PRBO House where we live, orients it southwest over the marine terrace, and watches the sea for a standard 5-minute period. The idea is to count any non-breeding pelagic species that pass through the fixed field of view, to document the long-term changes in the timing and abundance of seabirds that use the waters around the Farallones.
Photo by Mike Johns