August 14, 2008

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news39Our morning excursion to the river’s mouth brought us upon two young males. They were either siblings or had partnered up after being kicked out by there mothers. They came up the river, snorkeling underwater, looking for fish along the way. They were full of energy and gave us a full display of ‘play fighting’. Both boys were up on their hind feet boxing each other and roaring! There was no evil intent this time, so it was fun to watch them play. When they were done, they both walked bast our group very close, and in the photo you can see our captain walking over to us from the skiff. Shortly after this a day-tour group showed up so we elected to head back to the Waters and find a new location. We decided to take a side trip over to Ninagiak Island, a place where Puffins make burrows in the sea cliffs. The other photographer on board, a young man from Germany named Johannes, accompanied me to the puffin viewing spot, in the tall grasses of the shoreline. news40The daily routing of the puffins consists of fishing all day and then at some undetermined point they return to their burrows in the evening. We sat in the grass for two hours and the puffins only circled overhead. There were hundreds, if not thousands of them flying a huge counter-clockwise circle above us. Then finally at 7:30pm they all began to land on the rocks above us, sometimes 15-20 puffins on each rock. Agile and bullet-like in the air, they reminded me of little mig-fighters. However, once on land they were really awkward and frequently fell off the rocks or landed with a face-plant! They reminded me much of penguins, and I quickly learned why they are referred to as the clowns of the bird world.

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