I have never been much of a birder. It’s primarily because I haven’t had the patience to sit and wait for little brown hard-to-identify sparrow-looking birds to come sit close enough to me so I can identify them. But when you come upon a breeding colony of over a hundred thousand birds standing, flying, swimming, and caterwauling on 300 ft. rocky ledges, you don’t really need patience. Just an umbrella.
They were Brunnich’s Guillemots, and they were everywhere!
While it was wonderful seeing a polar bear yesterday, seeing this bird colony was, in my opinion, even more spectacular. The polar bear sighting was hoped for and happen in slow motion. Witnessing the explosion of life at Cape Fen Shaw was completely unexpected and for me, was like being in a packed auditorium watching my favorite band perform. Adrenaline inducing! (I’m getting old I guess).
The Guillemots moved onto their ledges on the cape sometime in March and April, and lay a single egg in May or June. Eggs are protected from predators by sheer inaccessibility. Those cliffs are not climbable! The eggs hatch after about a month, and 3 weeks later the chick and father jump off the cliff and begin…swimming. At this point neither of them can fly! The father because he is molting and junior, because he has only half fledged. They spend the winter out to sea.