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Rafts of Albatrosses

Jul 20, 2011 | Gulf of Alaska Project | 0 comments

by Veronica Padula from the Northwest Explorer 

Black-footed albatross.
I boarded the F/V Northwest Explorer on July 8th to relieve Leslie Slater, and have experienced beautiful weather and have observed numerous seabirds ever since. Rafts of black-footed albatrosses and northern fulmars float on the water behind the ship at each samplingstation, ever hopeful to pluck a tasty treat from the trawl we use to sample fish. I have never seen so many albatrosses in one place, sometimes 50 birds at once. We observe seabirds and marine mammals as the ship travels along transects, from one sampling station tothe next by counting the birds that fly or swim across the ship’s path. Large birds, such as northern fulmars, black-footed albatrosses, and glaucous-winged gulls, soar through the sky as we travel, with jaegers and shearwaters making occasional appearances. Smaller birds, such as fork-tailed and Leach’s storm petrels, flit above the waves. I occasionally spot tufted puffins, common murres, marbled murrelets, and rhinoceros and least auklets navigating the waves, diving as the ship approaches them. Appearances by sperm whales, humpback whales, and porpoises have also made this trip special. I am very lucky to be on such an adventure!


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