So back in July, we were surveying for American dippers on a creek
near Juneau. We hiked to the top of a cliff near a waterfall, at the
base of which we knew there was a dipper nest. As I topped the cliff, a
small brown bird burst out from a ledge below us and zinged downstream.
The bird's size, field marks, and style of flight–plus the
greenish-blue speckled egg it left behind in a hollow of moss–identified it as a marbled murrelet.
Murrelet nests are hard to find (just over 50 have been found in
Southeast Alaska, where these little puffin-cousins are among the most
abundant seabirds). We were thrilled to have found it, but very concerned that we had caused the birds to abandon it.
But they hadn't. So for the past several weeks, we've been checking
in on the single chick in the nest. Today it is looking pretty ready to
depart, so it may be gone by tomorrow…