We have been seeing more Humpback whales than we normally see in June. This shot of a breaching whale was taken when we were still about a half mile away. It had breached about 20 times already. When we finally got close enough for a better shot it stopped.
What!? A Murre with ears? These next few shots were taken on or near Gull Island
This nice shot of a pair of Pigeon Guillemot was taken by Becca, the new crew member this summer. Hopefully she will get a chance to take a few more.
Shorebirds are starting to migrate south. Here is a Black Turnstone. You can see why they are hard to spot.
This Black Oystercatcher is one of the pair that nests on Cohen Island. It walks with a bit of a limp. One of its leg joints appears a little swollen.
We usually see more Barrow’s Goldeneye in the spring but there are still a few around.
We spent some time watching seals at Aurora Lagoon.
A sea otter and her pup snoozing at Cohen Island.
There were no new birds to be added to the list. Unfortunately it is the absence of ones we normally see that is noteworthy. We also saw a pod of Killer Whales. This photo was taken last year but was quite likely from the same pod.
It has been an interesting summer. There has been higher than normal mortality of seabirds. Here is a link to an article about the situation:
Kittiwakes and Murres didn’t nest this year on Gull Island although the deep water docks next to the harbor did produce some fledging Kittiwake chicks. Water temperatures in the gulf and Kachemak Bay are higher than normal and there have been large numbers of shearwaters in the bay. Also Humpback Whales.
Here is what was found on or near Gull Island this summer starting with a white Common Murre
Horned Puffin (they have been nesting in this rock crevice for at least 20 years)
Steller Sea Lion
Here are birds that were found in Kachemak Bay
Shearwaters and a Northern Fulmar
Last but not least. Well, actually they are the smallest. Red-necked Phalaropes
There are changes ahead. Let’s hope we can keep lots of fish in the sea.
It has been awhile since the last post. Since I didn’t post anything for August and September 2014 I would like to add a couple of birds from that time period. The following excellent photo of a Long-billed Murrelet is posted with permission from Jay Gilliam. It was seen near the end of August.
We also saw a Cassin’s Auklet in mid September. They are rare in Kachemak Bay but are common elsewhere in Alaskan waters.
Our winter was one of the warmest on record. Any snow that fell would soon turn to ice then melt away. The snowblower was not used.
Here are some photos from the 2015 Shorebird Festival.
Here is a list of birds seen from the Torega during the Shorebird Festival:
Fork-tailed Storm Petrel
Black Oyster Catcher
We did see an unusual boat
And some colorful ones
Another unusual bird for Kachemak Bay, the Thick-billed Murre was spotted in mid June near Glacier Spit. Also in the last two days two were seen at Gull Island in with thousands of Common Murres.
Steller Sea Lions have been showing up at Gull Island
Bird trips aren’t all we do. Here is the harbor before sunrise on a water taxi trip
And then another one just before sunset
And then one more right after sunrise
You have to keep in mind that this is Alaska and the sun rises about 4:30 am and sets around 11 pm. Fortunately I don’t do many early or late trips.
I won’t make any promises but I will try and update this more often and post any unusual sighting.
It has been awhile since my last post. July and August tend to get busy so not much else happens than working, eating and sleeping. Things are slowing down now though so there is a little more time for things like this. July, for the most part was sunny and warm (for Homer) with just a few days of rain. August so far has been rainy with a few days of sun.
One day I had some help while doing engine maintenance. He didn’t pay any attention till I got out my iPhone out to take a photo.
Sea otters often drape kelp over themselves to keep from drifting away when they sleep.
There are also some humpback whales in the bay. Some dive deep.
While others find fish on the surface. Often surprising the birds that are eating the same thing.
Gull Island was busy. Here is a photo of both Horned and Tufted Puffins, Murres and Black-legged Kittiwakes.
Another Gull Island Photo.
And one more of a headless Pigeon Guillemot. And one with a head for comparison.
The Aleutian Terns left the bay earlier than normal. July 23 was the last day that I saw them. Here are some with Arctic Terns.
It seems Arctic Terns can be rather aggressive. When this one came in to land the Kittiwakes all moved to the other end of the log.
There were a lot of water taxi trips in July and August. Here is a typical load.
Most days in July you could actually see the sun. This was about 10 pm coming back to the harbor after a long day.
Most days in August you could not see the sun. If you did it looked like this.
You have to get up early to catch the sunrise in July in Alaska. It is about 5:30 am.
Here is another one taken at 6 am. Nice light in the harbor.
Among the many loads taken were a number of trips with kids.
There were not many bird trips last week. The highlight was three Caspian Terns at Glacier Spit. Also some of these.
And on the Island.
No trip to Gull Island is complete without Puffins. Here is a Horned Puffin (and one of those).
And a Tufted Puffin.
When I say I am the only yellow boat in the harbor, I really mean that I am the only yellow boat in the harbor.