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The Fall Season Begins at the Farallon Islands

September 6, 2010

From time to time, we like to alert our members to interesting bird-related news that comes along. The Farallon Islands, not far west of the Golden Gate Bridge but amid some rough seas, has been home to a research station for many years. Recently researcher Matt Brady sent out this message on the [Calbirds] chat line. Follow his two links to some very nice bird photos and information about Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory which has been involved in the Farallons for over 40 years. Follow Matt’s future reports on his blog or on [Calbird]. [Chuck Almdale]

Hello all! The Fall Season on Southeast Farallon Island started on August 21st, when head biologist Jim Tietz, Farallon rookie Oscar Johnson and myself arrived on the Island. Since then, the weather has been fairly poor for landbird arrivals, but we have managed to find a few interesting species. Chief among them was the Island’s 3rd ever (second modern) record of White-faced Ibis, a flock of 14 juveniles seen on August 24th! Almost as rare was the Island’s 6th ever (and California’s 13th or so) Ruby-throated Hummingbird. That bird was captured and examined in-hand. Other vagrants and unusual island birds were an Island high-count of four Blue Grosbeaks, three Long-eared Owls (including one captured and banded), a family group of eight Greater White-fronted Geese, a record-early Mew Gull, a record-early Blackburnian Warbler, an American Redstart, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a Least Flycatcher, a White-winged Dove and a Lark Bunting.

More details on some of these birds, as well as photos, can be found on our blog, at

Since in the past I have had a few querries as to how “chaseable” some of the birds I have reported have been, I’d just like to point out that Southeast Farallon Island is a closed National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and is unfortunately currently not open to outside visitors. Jim, Oscar and myself are all employees of PRBO Conservation Science, which has been helping to manage the refuge for USFWS since 1967. If you’d like to find out more about PRBO’s involvement on SE Farallon, and perhaps contribute to our research, please see the PRBO website at

I’ll try to keep the birding community updated on what we’re seeing out here, as well as regularly update the Farallon blog, but since our Internet connection is generally tenuous-at-best, I may not be able to as much as I’d like to.
Good birding this fall,
Matt Brady
SE Farallon Island, SF Co.


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