Monday, July 16, 2012


Caveat: You should always be wary of any book or magazine with an exclamation mark in the title.

Ah...Tufted Puffins!  I have dreamt of  doing a pelagic trip to the Farallon Islands for close to 20 years.  First, I wanted to see the Great White Sharks.

Didn't see any.
So you get on a boat, and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.
This gives you an idea of just how huge the bridge is.

Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy San Francisco morning

I was hoping that there would be Common Murres on this trip.  I saw one.
Then I saw two (the one on the right is not a Marbled Murrelet: it's a baby Common Murre).
Then there were more...

Then there were hundreds...

Then there were 170,000 of them.

Yes, these are all Common Murres who have laid their eggs on the bare cliff, and are sitting
shoulder-to-shoulder; the only way to keep Western Gulls from stealing their eggs.
Their eggs are pear-shaped, to keep from rolling off the cliff.

Western Gull
Larus occidentalis
They eat anything from McDonald's french fries to baby sea birds.
Gulls cannot drink sea water. 
Despite the name "sea gull" they have to be within one day's flight of fresh drinking water.

Then there was a Black-footed Albatross.
His wing span is 7 feet, compared to the Western Gull's, just under 5 feet.
Albatrosses use their nasal glands as a pre-kidney, enabling them to drink sea water.
...and a Right Whale Dolphin (they look like mini Right Whales)
You know, if you've seen one Blue Whale, you've seen 'em all.
Look at how small those Commmon Murres are, compared to this Humpbacked Whale
The Humback fluked, and down she went...
The Laysan Albatross wasn't nearly as cooperative as the Black-footed Albatross.
We circled back for one last attempt at finding the Northern Gannet.
No such Luck.

Oh my god, the whole island smells like bird poop.
The closer we got, the more intense the stench of guano was.
It was like being held hostage in a pet shop.

But I did see Tufted Puffins.  They were a life bird!
On the way back to Sausalito's harbor, a windsurfer rode our wake.

No comments: