Saturday, March 11, 2006

Risso's Dolphins

We finally had a nice calm day here, so I went up to the light for some whale-watching. In 2.5 hours, I saw 1 gray whale and a huge herd of ~200 Risso's Dolphins. It was amazing to watch as the Grampus surfed down the faces of the huge ocean swells that are running today. Tomorrow, if the seas calm down, the seabird biologists will take over the island. Winter season is over, and I'm going back to the mainland, but the work here goes on with a new focus on the seabirds that breed here. Elephant seal season is over, but we had a great year. The population grew again this year, with big jumps in numbers for Pastel Cave Highlands and Marine terrace harems. Reproductive success (number of weaners per cow) was about average, and altogether we had 132 weaners. Another year of elephant seal data added to the long-term ecological dataset for the Farallones that adds to our understanding of this amazing, constantly changing, incredibly productive portion of the world ocean.

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