Polar bear

Nuclear Ninety North

Eclipse of the Midnight Sun

August 1st, 2008

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Rubini Rock

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S241.jpg

2008-07-29 07:14 UTC Click images for enlargements. 80°18.89'N 52°47.89'E

Situated on the coast of Hooker Island in Franz Josef Land, Rubini Rock is one of the most abundant habitats for cliff-nesting birds in the Arctic. Formed of hexagonal columnar basalt, the rock fractures into niches in which the multitude of birds make their nests.

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S242.jpg

2008-07-29 07:14 UTC 80°18.89'N 52°47.88'E

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2008-07-29 07:15 UTC 80°18.89'N 52°47.86'E

Every little speck of white is a bird. Birds of a feather flock together, and kittiwakes, guillemots, and little auks all stake out their own turf (or, more precisely, rocky niche) on the cliff.

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S244.jpg

2008-07-29 07:15 UTC 80°18.89'N 52°47.82'E

Orange and green lichen adorn the rock. The top predator here is the glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus), which feeds on the eggs of cliff nesting birds. As predators, they hatch their own chicks earlier than those of the species whose eggs they plunder to feed them.

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S245.jpg

2008-07-29 07:16 UTC 80°18.89'N 52°47.75'E

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S246.jpg

2008-07-29 07:17 UTC 80°18.89'N 52°47.72'E

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S247.jpg

2008-07-29 07:18 UTC 80°18.90'N 52°47.70'E

Why do the birds always nest in the white areas? See cause and effect, inversion.

Eclipse 2008 gallery image S248.jpg

2008-07-29 07:30 UTC 80°18.96'N 52°47.39'E

This close-up shows the columnar structure of the basalt rock extruded from the volcanic vent which formed this singular geological feature.

by John Walker
August 20th, 2008
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This document is in the public domain.