Over one third of the world’s Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) breed on the Farallon Islands. It is incredible to see some many birds in one place! (but notihing compared to when all of the breeding birds are here during the summer). These are the same gulls that star in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds! They are here now, working out their territories, pooping everywhere and making lots of noise. It looks like they are eating market squids (Loligo opalescens) because some of their dropping are really black from the ink and you can sometimes find tiny squid beaks in their regurgitated food…..
Yesterday we braved the rain and win gusts up tp 30 knots to count the invertebrates and algae out at Dead Sea Lion Cove. We couldn’t work in this area when we were out in November because there were Steller Sea Lions hauled out on shore. Stellars are a threatened species, so we always defer to them and let them rest where ever they choose.
One of the PRBO interns, Stephen, gave us a much needed hand…he is really a herpetologist and marine mammalogist, but we may convert him to an invertebrate zoologist yet!
In this picture Steven (black coat) and the intertidal crew, Jan-blue coat, Scott Kimura (red coat) and Gery (orange coat) are counting inverts and algae in two of our quadrats.
Gery found some pulmonate (air-breathing) limpets, Trimusculus reticulatus, on the top of an overhang while he was searching for endangered black abalones (Haliotis cracherodii). The National Marine Fisheries Service NOAA restoration is working on a restoration plan for this snail, one of only two endangered marine invertebrates in California. We are looking to see if there are any in the intertidal on teh island…they were seem here in the 1997, but not since….we will do thorough searches at all of our sites this week. He didn’t find and abalones, but we got his nice picture of the Trimusculus (They are the white ‘button-like snails on the top left of the overhang above the mussels). THe weather is much nicer today…so we are of to Blowhole peninsula and hopefully Jewel Cave! More soon…..