Sharks and Raptors

This afternoon Matt spotted a shark attack from the lighthouse. By the time I got up the hill (to the best vantage point on the island), all that remained was a giant slick of red blood on the water, half a seal carcass, and a few gulls. The Great White was gone.

We watched as a boat called the Superfish sidled up to the bloody spot, threw a couple of decoy floats in the water (to attract sharks), and dropped a steel cage overboard with two divers inside. People pay big bucks for the chance to dive with Great Whites here.

Yesterday afternoon several of us watched in amazement as one of the resident Peregrine Falcons slammed a newly-arrived Burrowing Owl a few hundred yards from the house, took the hapless owl out over the ocean, and dropped it in the water. The falcon flew a couple of circles, retrieved the still-struggling owl from the sea surface, and carried it away to devour in a more private place behind Saddle Rock.

This morning a Western Kingbird put in an appearance, uncommon but regular on the island in fall, along with a Western Tanager, three Black Phoebes, a Red-winged Blackbird, a Killdeer, and several other migrants.

3 replies
  1. John Sullivan
    John Sullivan says:

    John and I just finished reading The Devil’s Teeth, by Susan Casey (for anyone who might be interested, it’s about the Farallon Islands and is an excellent read overall, written in a narrative style, with very interesting and thorough historical perspective and, of course, copious info. about the local wildlife), so we’re excited to keep up with your blog. Do the researchers on the island still motor out to the shark kills in a boat, or are they all observed from land nowadays?

  2. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Laura (and John) – Nope, no more on-water shark research here; we just watch from land and record observations. I watched a shark attack from our front steps this morning, in fact ;)

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