Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wildly Windswept Week

Over the past several days we've experienced lots of wind. This can be fun and exciting for a few hours, but after that it gets old quickly. It was blowing 25-30mph with gusts up to 40mph. This makes for some good ocean watching. Whitecaps everywhere, sea spray blowing up and waves crashing all around the island. Some areas of the island tend to funnel the winds and make them even stronger. With winds like this you can go to those spots and lean against the wind. Along with the wind, we've had some very good visibility. You can clearly see Bolinas, Mount Tamalpais, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (easily make out the TransAmerica Pyramid), and Mount Diablo. The last is 60 miles away. The mainland seems pretty close on days like this.

After you get bored with looking at the ocean and the mainland, you are left with the fact that there are no birds on the island. Okay, that's not entirely true. There are still plenty of gulls, cormorants, and oystercatchers, plus a few Burrowing Owls, Western Meadowlarks, Black Phoebes, and Savannah Sparrows. You have to understand that the biologists here are drawn by the possibility of a fallout. A fallout, in the bird world, is when a large number of birds arrive in one place on the same day. This is a relatively common (several a fall) occurrence on SEFI. With light south winds, overcast skies, and good but limited visibility, we can expect to see a wave of new birds show up. That really hasn't happened this year and that makes the biologists a bit antsy. We check the weather reports and try to hold onto the hope of a good fallout. By the way it's looking better for Tuesday and Wednesday.

We do our best to keep busy. Entering data, pulling invasive plants, baking, reading, and of course talking about birds. When will they show up? What will show up? Which continent will it be from?

I've tried to take the time to take some more pictures of Elephant Seals and sunsets. You're guaranteed to see both of those out here.

In the foam

They like to float head up out of the water


Closeup of wrinkled skin



Gull in sunset

Sunset over Indian Head

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Seals! Thanks for catering to those of us easily entertained by the charismatic mega-fauna. :-)