Early this morning I started monitoring the Pigeon Guillemots located at a remote beach on the West side of the island. The steep path to the beach has several steps to carefully navigate and the last 75 steps are almost vertical along the side of the bluff…very scary. This trip takes about 15 minutes total from the top of the bluff which must be about 150 feet high until I finally place my first step on the solid beach below! I then walk another 200 feet along the narrow beach during high tide until I find the spot where I can be unnoticed by the guillemots while I do the monitoring for the Audubon.
The birds are shy and won’t approach the shoreline if there is a lot of movement or noise on the beach. There were two eagles and two osprey flying over head or perched on the tall evergreen branches today but far enough away to not intimidate the birds.
The guillemots were busy bringing gunnels and other fish to their protected burrows hidden in the salal shrubs high on the bluff. These birds are not from the pigeon family; they are all black except for a white triangle on both wings, red duck feet and legs, a great contrast against their black feathers. The insides of their mouths are as red as their feet. They are lovely social birds that love to play in the salt water showing affection to each other as they kiss and huddle together.