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SE Farallon Update: October 3rd

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  • Matt Brady
    Hello All. I apologize for how long its been since I last sent out a Farallon Update, but our Internet went down about two weeks ago. Its up and working now,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3 9:36 PM
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      Hello All. I apologize for how long its been since I last sent out a Farallon Update, but our Internet went down about two weeks ago. Its up and working now, though, so hopefully it'll stay up.

      Anyway, things have continued to be quite slow, overall, out here. Despite a few arrivals, we really haven't had any decent numbers of birds; the closest thing to a wave we've had occured on September 27th, when about 40 Passerines arrived. Otherwise its just been a slow trickle of birds. Later this week the forecast is calling for easterly winds, so hopefully they'll blow something our way before I leave the Island on October 10th. On September 26th we were joined by Farallon veterans Kristie Nelson and Mark Dettling. It's been great having them out here, despite the very slow conditions.

      Anyway, onto the birds. I guess I'll start with the really big news, since many of you have probably already heard anyway. On September 24th Ryan Terrill and I found a BROWN SHRIKE, the third record for California and the second for Southeast Farallon Island. We caught and banded the bird, and in the hand determined it was an after-hatch year female. The bird stuck around the next day, but apparently departed right before Kristie and Mark arrived on the 26th. Painful timing, especially since the Luke Cole Birdathon started that day as well! Needless to say, the bird was photographed extensively; I put nine of my photos on my Flickr page at: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/podoces/sets/72157622496829548/>. The bird was very wary, and would not tolerate us approaching within 50 meters, so "in the wild" shots were difficult to obtain at best.

      Other than the Shrike, highlites include our first Connecticut Warbler since 2006, seen on September 18th. It was not caught, unfortunately, but I did manage to snap a couple of photos, one of which is at <http://www.flickr.com/photos/podoces/sets/72157622206661908/>. Photos of some of the following rarities can be found there, too.

      On September 21st Jill Gautreaux found a Franklin's Gull, just the 5th Island record. I also saw a Pacific Golden-Plover that day.

      September 27th was our best day, overall, so far this fall. Finds included a Chestnut-sided Warbler, a Prairie Warbler, a Bay-breasted Warbler, a Clay-colored Sparrow, a Lapland Longspur, and a Painted Bunting. The Bunting was caught and banded, and aged as a second-year male. It was, as would be expected for a bird that last molted its flight feathers in Summer 2008, very, very worn.

      The next day Buller's Shearwaters suddenly put in their first appearance of the fall, with 550+ seen around the Island. October 1st was a good day for Raptors, which are generally difficult to come by out here, with 2 White-tailed Kites, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Kestrel, a Merlin and at least four Peregrine Falcons. We also discovered a Burrowing Owl that has returned for its third fall on the Island.

      We are also in the process of updating our blog, which we maintain at <http://www.losfarallones.blogspot.com/>. It's still under a bit of construction, but I should be able to finish it up tomorrow. Some of the photos on it are ones that I've posted on my Flickr page, but there are also a bunch taken by Ryan Terrill and Jim Tietz, too, and there's more commentary on what has been going on out here.

      Well, I suppose that's it for now. Hopefully next time I post I'll be able to report a massive fallout, with birds covering the rocks and dripping from the trees. Before I sign off, I'd like to remind you that we on the Farallons work for PRBO Conservation Sciences, and that this is just one of many programs that they run. Check out the PRBO website, at <http://www.prbo.org/cms/index.php>, for more info.

      Good birding,

      Matt Brady
      Southeast Farallon Island

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