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Farallon Update

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  • Matt Brady
    Hello all. PRBO Conservation Science s Fall Program on Southeast Farallon Island (Farallon NWR, San Francisco County), in conjunction with US Fish and Wildlife
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 6, 2011
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      Hello all. PRBO Conservation Science's Fall Program on Southeast Farallon Island (Farallon NWR, San Francisco County), in conjunction with US Fish and Wildlife Service, has been up and running for just over two weeks now. The fall season crew is composed of Dan Maxwell, Jim Tietz and myself, as well as Seabirder Adam Fox, who is continuing to monitor the few remaining seabird nests. Although the fall has been dominated by very foggy days so far, we've still managed to have a few interesting sightings.

      Two unusual species managed to over-summer on the island. Two CACKLING GEESE first arrived in May, and have undergone a complete flight-feather molt; one of them is now capable of flight. A BROWN THRASHER, first seen by the Seabird crew in early July, has also successfully summered, and is also undergoing flight feather molt. A LONG-EARED OWL greeted us upon our arrival on the Island (it'd been present for about a week before that), and continues through today, though so far it has eluded our nets.

      On August 24th, while seawatching, Dan saw a large, dark Albatross, which appeared consistent with an immature Short-tailed Albatross.  Despite extended views, the conditions were just a bit too hazy for us to confirm the bird's identity. Short-tailed Albatross has yet to be recorded from Southeast Farallon Island.

      Especially interesting migrants seen in late August include a juvenile SORA, a TENNESSEE WARBLER, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, adult BAIRD'S and PECTORAL SANDPIPERs, RUDDY TURNSTONE and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, but these were over-shadowed on August 31st by a color-banded SNOWY PLOVER. The bird, a juvenile, was banded on June 23rd at the Salinas River mouth by PRBO biologist Kriss Neuman, and represents just the sixth record for the Island!

      Ealry September was highlighted by a Labor Day weekend Warbler wave; among many Townsend's and a few Nashville, Yellow and Wilson's Warblers were a BLACKBURNIAN, a CHESTNUT-SIDED, an AMERICAN REDSTART, an OVENBIRD, a BLACKPOLL, a BAY-BREASTED and two more TENNESSEE WARBLERS. All of these vagrant warblers were caught and banded, so keep an eye out for vagrants with bands. Other birds during this period were a BOBOLINK, a PURPLE MARTIN, the Island's 14th or 15th COMMON TERN, and an adult NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, the Island's earliest record.

      Our blog, <http://losfarallones.blogspot.com/> , doesn't have a fall update yet, but will soon; it should be up in the next couple of days. If you'd like to keep track of what we're seeing every day, check out our eBird Patch List, at <http://ebird.org/ebird/site/patch>; just click on the date to see our list from that day. Also, be sure to check out the Farallon Webcam <http://www.calacademy.org/webcams/farallones/>, run by Cal Academy of Sciences. We often have it pointed at the Lighthouse on wave days, so if you're lucky you might see a fun vagrant! Dan Maxwell has just started a blog, where he'll be posting two Island photos daily, at <http://toophotosaday.blogspot.com/>. Finally, PRBO Conservation Sciences seabird Biologist Annie Schmidt kept a blog over the summer, featuring some of her excellent photography. Check it out at <http://farallonphoto.blogspot.com/> to get another perspective on life on Southeast Farallon Island.

      Good birding,

      Matt Brady
      SE Farallon Island, SF Co.

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