Prince Island, San Miguel Island

Prince Island, Santa Miguel Island
Prince Island, Santa Miguel Island
April 18, 1997
Courtesy Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Prince Island, Santa Miguel Island

Prince Island, San Miguel Island (Prince’s Island, Princess Island, Gull Island, Gull Rock), is located offshore in Cuyler’s Harbor. It is 296 feet in elevation and is almost 40 acres in size, about 0.1 square mile. Several species of seabirds nest on Prince Island. Survey station Gull Island was established on its highest point by Stehman Forney in 1871. Forney's 1871 survey station was revisited in 1934 by Robert W. Knox who placed a standard disk stamped Gull Island 1871 surrounded by a rock cairn he built. [UTM 10: North 3,771,789 East 746,076]. Stehman Forney established two triangulation stations on Prince Island in 1871: Bench Mark and Island.

The place name appears on the June 1882 U.S. Coast Survey map Pacific Coast from Santa Monica to Point Conception, including the Santa Barbara Channel, California, J.E. Hilgard, Superintendent.

Gull Island was described in 1887 by ornithologist Clark P. Streator:

“There are very few birds that breed on the main island, as a little fox, about the size of a house cat, abounds and destroys their eggs. When the breeding season arrives, they repair to two small islands of about ten acres each in extent, and situated about a mile from the main island, one of which is called Gull Island and the other Flea Island [Castle Rock]. We visited both and found that by far the greater number breed upon Gull Island. Upon approaching, the birds began flying over our boat [Ocean King] before we landed, and no sooner had I fired my gun than thousands upon thousands flew into the air, and the noise they made was almost deafening. It was one of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen. We did not loose much time, however, in getting on the highest point of [Gull] Island, where we found plenty of fresh eggs of the cormorants, of which we collected quite a quantity.” [Streator, Clark P. The Water Birds of San Miguel Island in Santa Barbara Society of Natural History 1:1(21-23) 1887]

Kid Rock is off the northeast point of Prince Island, and Can Rock is to the southwest. This place name appears on the San Miguel Island East topographic map.

Prince Island is one of the most important and biologically diverse nesting habitats on the West Coast of North America. It hosts 13 species of nesting seabird species. Common Murres were found to have returned to nest in 2011.



In the News~

June 4, 1883 [DAC]: “Three acres of eggs — A Santa Barbara fisherman has discovered, near San Miguel Island, a smaller island, about three acres in extent, which is probably the largest nest of eggs in the world. The island is covered with a layer of guano in which sea fowls of all descriptions were found laying or incubating their eggs. The surface appeared to be almost covered with eggs, principally those of the sea gulls, shags, and a small bird known as the water duck. The discoverer says it was difficult to walk without treading upon the eggs, and that it would be easy to load a ship with them.”


June 7, 1883 [LAH]: “The enormous deposit of seabirds' eggs recently discovered on a small islet near San Miguel Island, in the Santa Barbara channel, appears to be of no use for pabulum. An editor who tried them says that, cooked carefully in any style, they have the full flavor of rotten eggs. Probably some practical use can be made of them in the mechanical and scientific branches.”


April 14, 1895 [SFCall]: “One of nature’s convulsions. San Miguel Island, April. It has fallen to my lot [Flora Haixes Loughead] to present the readers of the Call with the first accurate and reliable account, from the testimony of an eye witness, of the mysterious convulsions that have taken place at Cuyler’s Harbor on San Miguel Island, completely changing the aspect of the harbor along its inner shore… Partly closing the entrance lies Prince’s or Gull Island, a stately natural fortress some 1500 feet in length, 1000 feet across, and 100 feet high. The regular course for entering the harbor is to the right of this island… Captain Dally, passing through the narrow channel lying between Prince’s Island and the harbor’s east shore, has found a depth of thirteen fathoms at a point where his deepest sounding has hitherto been nine fathoms, and where the largest figure on the coast survey map is nine and a quarter fathoms…”


October 11, 1895 [SFCall]: “The first cargo of guano ever taken from the Channel Islands lies in this harbor today, having been brought in by the schooner Glenn, and now awaits a purchaser at $12 a ton. The cargo consists of ten tons, and was taken from Gull or Princes Island, that beautiful mountainous islet lying across the mouth of Cuyler's Harbor, San Miguel Island.”


June 6, 1906: “Prince Island. California Murre. Eggs laid on bare rock just above breakers. Lots of broken eggs where they were laid too near water and got broke by waves. Two or three colonies of from 5 to 50 pair each nesting on island. All the eggs collected were fresh. Tufted puffin. Eggs laid in burrows on top of island. Burrows 2 to 3 feet long.” [J. S. Appleton. Unpublished field notes, Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology].


June 8, 1906 [SBMP]: “The power yacht Vishnu, Captain Merry, came into port yesterday noon having as passengers Professor Appleton of Chicago, and his two assistants, Homer C. Burt and H. S. Hedrick. These members are members of the Audubon Society and are enthusiastic ornithologists. On Prince Island, near San Miguel Island, they found a vast and prolific field for scientific investigation. The island was literally covered by hundreds of thousands of water fowl of many varieties, some of them very rare, and their eggs are very valuable to collectors. The weather at San Miguel Island was very fine, and contributed largely to the enjoyment of the party.”


January 7, 1912 [LAT]: “…Within five years four vessels have been driven to destruction there, an immense loss. Beyond Princess Island the hull of an unknown vessel came ashore a few days ago. Its large propellers point skyward. No trace can be found to indicate what craft it was. Above the waterline it was painted green. The Comet lies three miles from the steamer Anubus catastrophe…”


December 12, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “A market fisherman returning from San Miguel Island states that a number of leopard seals have made their home on Prince Edward [?] Island…”



Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1901 WFVZ-510 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. C. Burt WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-32098 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-81353 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80934 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80935 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80936 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80938 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80939 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80940 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-80941 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 5, 1905 WFVZ-81353 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 2, 1906 WFVZ-46466 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) H. S. Hedrick WFVZ June 4, 1906 WFVZ-140459 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton OSUM June 6, 1906 OSUM-1578 Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus Eggs
San Miguel Island J. S. Appleton POM June 6, 1906 POM-11721 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton TCWC June 6, 1906 TCWC-22060 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton UF June 6, 1906 UF-51814 Larus occidentalis occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton UF June 6, 1906 UF-58477 Fratercula cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton UF June 6, 1906 UF-58478 Fratercula cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton UF June 6, 1906 UF-58479 Fratercula cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-63452 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-21670 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-32104 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-46445 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-51053 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-63445 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-63502 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 6, 1906 WFVZ-76221 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Virgil W. Owen WFVZ June 8, 1910 WFVZ-153 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-32113 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. S. Appleton WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-32114 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) O. W. Howard WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-95410 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) O. W. Howard WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-95411 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) O. W. Howard WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-95412 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-45502 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-45503 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-45504 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-200281 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-203107 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett TCWC June 15, 1910 TCWC-22258 Uria aalge Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-156 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-211 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-88932 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-200260 Lunda cirrhata Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-45894 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-45895 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-80929 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-80930 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-80931 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) G. K. Snyder WFVZ July 12, 1912 WFVZ-95592 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) George Willett WFVZ June 15, 1910 WFVZ-80932 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) Antonin Jay WFVZ June 21, 1910 WFVZ-93598 Eremophila alpestris Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) G. K. Snyder WFVZ July 15, 1912 WFVZ-47518 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) G. K. Snyder WFVZ July 15, 1912 WFVZ-47519 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) G. K. Snyder WFVZ July 15, 1912 WFVZ-47520 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) G. K. Snyder WFVZ July 15, 1912 WFVZ-192858 Uria aalge Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) John Van Denburgh CAS May 19, 1919 CAS-45331 Elgaria multicarinata Herps
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot ROM March 31, 1927 ROM-504348 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot SBMNH March 31, 1927 SBMNH-22965 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-201 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-202 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-192121 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61969 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61970 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61971 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61972 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61973 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61974 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61975 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ March 31, 1928 WFVZ-61976 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 23, 1928 SBMNH-22160 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 23, 1928 SBMNH-22161 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) D. S. DeGroot WFVZ June 3, 1928 WFVZ-39483 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island [Prince Island] J. S. Rowley Jr. CAS June 3, 1928 CAS-6956 Peromyscus maniculatus clementis Mammals
San Miguel Island [Prince Island] J. S. Rowley Jr. WFVZ June 3, 1928 WFVZ-26121 Pelecanus occidentalis Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens WFVZ May 15, 1929 WFVZ-106722 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens WFVZ May 15, 1929 WFVZ-106733 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20347 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20348 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20376 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20377 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20397 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-20398 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens & J. R. Pemberton SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-22162 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens & J. R. Pemberton SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-22163 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) William J. Sheffler WFVZ June 11, 1933 WFVZ-113654 Phalacrocorax auritus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) W. J. Sheffler WFVZ June 11, 1933 WFVZ-113682 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) W. J. Sheffler WFVZ June 11, 1933 WFVZ-184876 Phalacrocorax penicillatus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17906 Cepphus columba Herps
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17907 Cepphus columba Herps
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17910 Cepphus columba Herps
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17911 Cepphus columba Herps
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17902 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17903 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17904 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17905 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17915 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17916 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 28, 1938 SDNHM-17917 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17906 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17907 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17910 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17911 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17923 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17914 Salpinctes obsoletus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17912 Melospiza melodia Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17913 Melospiza melodia Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 29, 1938 SDNHM-17914 Salpinctes obsoletus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13499 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13500 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13501 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13502 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13503 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13504 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13505 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13506 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13507 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. W. Arnold SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-13508 Peromyscus maniculatus Mammals
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17922 Haematopus bachmani Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17924 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17918 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17919 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17920 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM April 30, 1938 SDNHM-17921 Cepphus columba Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM May 1, 1938 SDNHM-17928 Salpinctes obsoletus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM May 1, 1938 SDNHM-17929 Salpinctes obsoletus Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM May 1, 1938 SDNHM-17925 Eremophila alpestris Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM May 1, 1938 SDNHM-17926 Eremophila alpestris Birds
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. E. Green SDNHM May 1, 1938 SDNHM-17927 Haemorhous mexicanux Birds