Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 87: Finale

Well it's that time. Unfortunately, I am done for the season and leaving the island tomorrow. Farallon photo a day will be on permanent hiatus. I know I will be back at some point, but I will not be doing an entire seabird season next year. It's tough to leave knowing that but I know I'm incredibly lucky to have spent the last seven summers out here. I hope you have enjoyed the journey this year. Perhaps I will see you on some future adventure. Thanks for joining me!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 86: Rising Risso's

 These are Risso's dolphins, one of the most commonly spotted species around the island. They're the largest dolphin (besides the Orca) and they have tall relatively straight dorsal fins that are similar in shape to an Orca. They often look light gray due to extensive surface scaring. The pod we came across yesterday was about 20 individuals including one mom and very small calf. The calf was stuck to its mom's side like glue.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 85: Lag time

Another picture from our boat trip yesterday. These are Pacific White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens, Lag for short). These dolphins are easy to see because they are very curious and love to bow ride. They come to the boat and use the waves it creates to play in. We actually had a small group of these dolphins following us for quite a ways yesterday.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 84: Whaling

We had some spectacular weather today and we took advantage of it to get out in the boat and do a little pelagic survey. Just a few miles from the island, we ran into all kinds of amazing wildlife. We had Humpback whales, Risso's dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Sooty Shearwaters, Northern Fulmars and a single Black-footed Albatross. The waters around the island attract these critters from all over the world. The Shearwaters breed in New Zealand, the Humpbacks are from Mexico and Central America, Albatross breed in Hawaii, and Northern Fulmars come from Alaska and Canada. It's quite an international community.

Day 83: Changes

Seabird season is winding down. Most of our studies are nearly complete, the chicks fledged, the data entered and proofed. So we reluctantly said goodbye to some of our crew yesterday. Three returned to the real world, Greg and Amy (left side) and Katie (green jacket). We had a great time with them this summer and wish them well in their future endeavors. We did add one new crew member, Adam, who will be taking over any seabird studies that are ongoing when the transition to the Fall crew occurs in a few weeks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 82: Puppy Love

California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) pups are everywhere right now. This little guy was causing quite a ruckus in his pile o'Sea Lion. He was jumping on every other pup he could find and wrestling them into submission. Pretty cute to watch I have to say. We had a recent uptick in Zalophus numbers, their numbers tripled in the last week to just under 10,000. Most of these are adults coming in from colonies. Usually when we have high numbers like this it is because they aren't breeding/ failed breeding elsewhere.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 81: Guillemot gang

Pigeon Guillemots are furiously feeding their chicks right now. Chicks are big, getting ready to fledge, and eating up a storm. PIGU's generally feed small fish that they find close to shore so they feed frequently. This makes them regular targets of gulls trying to steal their fish. You will often see PIGU's sitting on a rock with a fish in their bill, waiting for the gull by their crevice to get distracted so they can sneak in to feed their chick.