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April 26- Owls in the Bering Sea?

healy_1632

In the fog, we were steaming to our next station in the morning.  We are in the southern part of our cruise again so we are out of the ice, but we are heading north so we should be back in the ice shortly.  One of the first orders of the day was to collect the sediment traps that had been deployed yesterday.  The scientists deploy the sampling device for 24 hours at which time it floats along in the currents until it is retrieved the following day.  (More to come on this.)  The seas cooperated and were very calm for a successful retrieval. 

A little while later, I received a page from the bridge telling me that there was an owl flying around the bridge.  AN OWL?  I went up to the bridge and I had missed the owl.  I was reassured that he would come back because owls don’t belong in the Bering Sea and he would want to come back to the shelter of the ship.  A few minutes later, he flew back into view and we had a great look at him.  He looked very tired so we hoped that he would land on the ship to rest.  Indeed he did, landing first on a small railing, then on the A-frame, and finally on the bow where he hung out for a while.  The bird researchers determined that it was a short-eared owl.  This little guy was far from home but it was very cool to see him.  Definitely the highlight of the day.