Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Past Few Days in Farallonia

This Greater White-fronted Goose showed up today. Not sure what's wrong with its eye but it doesn't look good for this poor fella.
We had one great day in the past couple weeks (Arctic Warbler, 'nuff said), but the weather simply won't cooperate for another good wave.  We've been inundated with fog, and when that finally lifted we had sunny skies and 60 miles of visibility.  Any land bird that had any chance of landing on the island could easily see the luxuriant, sunny banks of Point Reyes and had no reason to stop in this granite wasteland.

Still, a few new arrivals over the past few days helped boost my Faralist (all species seen on the island).  My island list is up to 135 in less than a month on the island, but imagine what it could be with some overcast skies and light winds.  Good thing I have some more time.
Another new arrival today, House Wren.
Cassin's Auklet
Cassin's Auklets nest on the island and are quite common.  However, sometimes nests are abandoned or parents die, and juvenile birds (such as this one above) head out of their burrows in search of food.  They become a quick and easy meal for Western Gulls, which we've seen swallowing whole chicks on more than one occasion.  I don't know the fate of this bird, but I can't imagine it ended harmoniously.
California sea lions – they're still out here.
Hatch-year Rock Wren
No joke, we have been trying to catch a Rock Wren on this island since I arrived.  We have 3-4 on the island now and they have resisted all efforts to capture them.  Finally, we got one (above).  We've also been banding Burrowing Owls most nights this past week.  Today we have at least ten of these strange birds on the island.
Finally a re-sight on one of the banded ones.
Ah yes, A66, this is the one I banded.
As I mentioned, it has been too clear.  In fact it was so clear, that the Golden Gate Bridge was easily visible (above) from the lighthouse.  The benefit to the good visibility is that cetaceans can are also easy to spot.  In addition to our resident gray whales, yesterday, we had a pod of 50 short-beaked common dolphins, and a humpback whale.
Adult White-crowned Sparrow
Finally got a photo of a/the Vesper Sparrow
Nursing Steller's sea lion pups 
Clay-colored Sparrow
Stay tuned for more, I swear we'll get something crazy soon...

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