Following are the naturalists' sightings reports from our Farallon Islands whale watching programs during November 2014.
Date: November 8 & 9, 2014
Naturalist: Gale Broesder and Susan Sherman
Highlights: Sightings of one humpback whale, 20+ harbor porpoises, a brown booby, and two peregrine falcons
Participants on Saturday and Sunday's Farallon Islands Nature Cruise headed out in dense fog that cleared later in the day. On Sunday passengers spotted the blows, back, and dorsal of fin of one humpback whale four miles west of Duxbury Reef. On both days, passengers spotted numerous harbor porpoises and ribbons of migratory loons and scoters. Passengers on Sunday were also able to spot a brown booby on Sugarloaf Rock and two peregrine falcons.
Other marine mammals spotted on both trips included California sea lions, Steller sea lions, northern elephant seals, and harbor seals.
Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Red-throated loons, Pacific loons, Common loons, Eared grebes, Western grebes, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt's cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Black oystercatchers, Red Phalaropes, Heerman's gulls, Ring-billed gulls, California gulls, Western gulls, Caspian terns, Elegant terns, and Common murres.
Date: November 1, 2014
Naturalist: David Wimpfheimer
Highlights: Sightings of 6 humpback whales, a blue-footed booby, and a brown booby.
Participants on Saturday and Sunday's Farallon Islands Nature Cruise headed out in moderate winds and moderate seas. Approximately half way to Southeast Farallon Island, the boat encountered six humpback whales. Passenger got good looks at these whales, including two breaches.
This trip had good bird diversity with the sighting of the Northern Gannett, a Blue-footed Booby, and a Brown Booby on Sugar Loaf rock.
Other marine mammals spotted on the trip included California sea lions, Steller sea lions, northern elephant seals, and northern fur seals.
Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Common loons, Northern fulmars, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Black-vented shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt's cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Red Phalaropes, Pomarine jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers, Heerman's gulls, California gulls, Western gulls, Elegant terns, Common murres, Cassin's auklets, and Rhinoceros auklets.
Brian Hutchinson is Oceanic Society's vice president of outreach, co-founder of the State of the World's Sea Turtles Program, and program officer of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Brian holds a B.A. in zoology from Connecticut College, and has been working to advance global marine conservation for more than a decade.