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Across Kachemak Bay

Four days ago, I was fighting for a national championship with my ultimate team, the Whitman Sweets, at the National College Ultimate Championships in Raleigh, North Carolina. (We made school history and earned a silver medal!)

Three days ago, I was buying my first pair of Chacos in Seattle and stuffing polypropylene leggings into my waterproof duffel bag.

Two days ago, I was flying to Anchorage and then Homer, Alaska and settling in to my bunk room on the second floor of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. I met an old friend and teammate for dinner (here in Homer, what wonderful coincidence) and fell asleep at 10:30 pm in broad daylight.

One day ago, I took a boat across Kachemak Bay to the Peterson Bay Field Station, a semi-remote campus of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies where I'll be living and guiding for the rest of the summer.

We passed Gull Island on our way to Peterson Bay Field Station.

 

Common murres were conspicuously absent in the water... and then we found them all huddled on top!

 

Black-legged kittiwakes coated the cliffs and generated a constant pulsing wail.

 

Tufted puffins bobbed near our boat.

And this morning, I woke up to gossip of boreal chickadees, the indignant peels of black oystercatchers, and the melody of robins.

A bald eagle perches in this snag every day.

A group of eight Alaskan school-teachers are visiting for a three-day Teacher Academy. They'll take back what they learn to provide outdoor education for the students in their classrooms. It's a perfect first group for me because I get to learn about this ecosystem alongside curious educators who ask creative questions and find joy in the mucky details.

Gull Island, a rookery for black-legged kittiwakes and a favorite lunch spot for eagles.

 

Otter Rock: can you see the geological sea otter on her back, paws in the air?

 

Low tide.

 

Can you identify this dead duck head?

 

Our steep ramp from the dock to the Field Station.

 

If you're heading to the beach, take the stairs.

 

Our drinking water comes thrice-filtered from this steam, but it's still imbued with a rich brown color from needle tannins.

Today we have a minus 3.2 tide at 7:30 am -- that's really low. We're off to Otter Rock to seek out the Fab Four Phyla and whatever else crosses our path!

By the way, I should introduce myself. This is Nina Finley, the 2016 Peterson Bay Field Station Naturalist Intern. I'll be blogging a lot from both sides of the Bay, so stay tuned for updates. If you enjoy these posts, feel free to check out my personal blog, Natural Selections, for more stories and photos from Alaska and beyond.

Until next time,

Nina

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