Mid-Summer Update - 7/8/18

Tufted Puffin in the Gulf of Alaska.

Tufted Puffin in the Gulf of Alaska.

We have made several trips to the Chiswell Islands, Kenai Fjords, and Prince William Sound so far this summer and all of our regular species are in their expected locations.  However, nesting activity appears to be weak again this year.  A major storm in mid-June destroyed many of the Black-legged Kittiwake nests, forcing them to rebuild and attempt a second clutch.  Still, we are seeing very little incubating or brooding activity among them and among the Common and Thick-billed Murres that inhabit the area.  Red-faced and other cormorant nests are rare and little occupied.  Little is known about how the more cryptically-nesting seabirds such as the puffins and auklets are doing but many are being seen out on the water near their nesting locations.  It is always a joy to see so many beautiful birds in this biologically rich location.  Yet, I sometimes wonder how long it will last.

Rhinoceros Auklets in the Chiswell Island Archipelago.

Rhinoceros Auklets in the Chiswell Island Archipelago.