Thursday, August 28, 2008

Surfbird! (Aphriza virgata)

Aphriza virgata, the Surfbird! This little waterfowl was nesting high up on one of the hills in the Prince William Sound. It flew away from its nest when we came hiking by (with black labrador in tow) but we could hear it keening in the distance over and over again as if calling to it's soon to hatch chicks. The keening was quite loud and seemingly echoed among the quiet hillsides.

Given the bears and foxes up there, it's amazing to me that these little guys survive nesting out in the open. However, I will note that they are almost invisible, readily blending into the moss. Momma surfbird came back to her nest shortly thereafter and we managed to restrain the dog and carefully, ever so carefully creep close enough for a picture. She blends so well, her picture almost fell victim to my culling to get more space on the memory card but, luckily, here she is.

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