Shearwater Journeys' pelagic trip departing from Emeryville, California to the Farallon Islands on August 8, 2010 was a huge success! The Farallon Islands lie 28 miles off the coast of San Francisco and about 20 miles south of Point Reyes. The islands are sometimes called the "Galapagos of California" since they host the largest breeding seabird colonies south of Alaska on the West Coast of the United States. These unique islands comprise the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Image
On our ride out to the islands, we pass many San Francisco landmarks.
Bay Bridge, (C) Don Doolittle
Alcatraz Island, (C) Don Doolittle
Landing on the islands is not permitted, as this would greatly disturb the breeding seabirds and marine mammals. From our vessel, we were able to see and hear the thousands and thousands of seabirds going to and from their nesting sites. The sounds alone were quite incredible!
Hundreds of Pigeon Guillemots were whistling, while Tufted Puffins landed on the rocky ledges. Cormorants and hundreds of Common Murres were busy carrying food to their young.
Breeding Common Murre colony, (C) Don Doolittle
One of thousands of Common Murres, (C) Don Doolittle
One of hundreds of Pigeon Guillemots, (C) Don Doolittle
The "prize" bird of the day, Tufted Puffin, (C) Don Doolittle
US Fish & Wildlife image, Southeast Farallon Island.
The biologists' house, (C) Don Doolittle
A Rhinoceros Auklet, (C) Don Doolittle
After watching the nesting seabirds, we head offshore, reaching the edge of the Continental Shelf. Here, we encounter our first Black-footed Albatrosses, (C) Don Doolittle.
Migrating Pink-footed Shearwaters follow our boat, (C) Don Doolittle.
Our "prize" and surprise of the day— a male ORCA, one of three that we spot, (C) Don Doolittle.
Returning to Emeryville, under the Golden Gate Bridge, (C) Don Doolittle.
Below, the San Francisco skyline, (C) Don Doolittle.
We would like to thank the many participants who came from near and far for this special Shearwater Journeys' trip. We have a 100% success rate on our trips for finding the Tufted Puffins. Many thanks to Golden Gate Audubon Society, as well. The leaders for this day were Steve Howell, Alan Hopkins, Wes Fritz, Don Doolittle and Debi Shearwater.
The complete species list for the August 8, 2010 Shearwater Journeys' Farallon Islands trip follows:
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 18
NORTHERN FULMAR- 2
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 75
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 30
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 12
BROWN PELICAN- +
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- +
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- +
PELAGIC CORMORANT- +
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 30
RED PHALAROPE- 8
JAEGER SP. -1
HEERMANN'S GULL- +
CALIFORNIA GULL- +
WESTERN GULL- +
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL- 1
ELEGANT TERN- 40
COMMON/ARCTIC TERN- 1
CASPIAN TERN- 4
FORSTER'S TERN- 12
COMMON MURRE- 1800
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 300
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 28
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 8
TUFTED PUFFIN- 18
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- +
BLUE WHALE- 2
FIN WHALE- 2?
HUMPBACK WHALE- 6
KILLER WHALE/ORCA- 3, (2 adult males, 1 female type)
HARBOR PORPOISE- 22