Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pigeon Guillemot - Western Birds

A Pigeon Guillemot, Anacapa Island, Channel Islands Nat. Park, CA; 6/19/2011.
The first time I ever even heard of a Pigeon Guillemot (Above), was while Val and I spent three weeks in Alaska back in 2004.  Guiillemots are a member of the Alcid family, which include Murres, Dovekies, Murrelets, Auklets, and Puffins. These types of birds spend most of their lives out over the ocean, and come to land only to nest. Pigeon Guillemots are mostly black, including their bills with large white patches on their wings and bright red feet.
Kayakers exploring Santa Cruz island coastline; Channel Islands Nat. Park; 6/18/2011.
Pigeon Guillemots can be seen along the Pacific coast from Southern California all the way north to Alaska. While I was hiking high on the bluffs of Santa Cruz Island, I was taking photos of kayakers exploring the Island's coastline and caves (Above). Later, as I was perusing through my image files, I noticed a spot of red in the dark opening of a sea cave. Upon zooming in on that red spot, I found it to be legs belonging to a pair of wings. The only bird that I knew that had such bright red legs and would be found nesting in a sea cave was the Pigeon Guillemot (Below).
In the top right hand corner, two Pigeon Guillemots are scared from their nesting site in a sea cave by a kayaker, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands Nat. Park, CA; 6/18/2011.

A closer look at the Pigeon Guillemot's red feet, Anacapa Island, Channel Islands Nat. Park, CA; 6/19/2011.
A day later while we were taking a wildlife cruise to the shores of Anacapa Island (the smallest island of the Channel Islands and closest to the mainland), I was afforded the oppurtunity to see some more Pigeon Guillemots at closer range (Above and Top), which I gladly took, because seven years ago while in Alaska, all my photography came from a poor quality camcorder. Now that I have a good camera (Canon Rebel T1i) and a decent powerful zoom lens (Sigma 150-500mm), it sounds like it's time to revisit Alaska - I wish.

More Dolphins, Channel Islands Nat. Park, CA; 6/18/2011.

Sunset of the Day
A Bauman Park sunset, Cherry Valley, IL; 5/3/2006.

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