In April 2011, I once again arrived on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to start another season of seabird research working with PRBO Conservation Science. In my seventh and perhaps last season, I decided to start a photo a day challenge for myself. The challenge is to share a new and interesting photo for each day I am on the island this year.
I'm back on the island! While I was away, the Common Murres started laying. They lay the largest eggs of any seabird on the island in a variety of colors. Some have mint chip eggs like this one, others have a white or pale blue background, but virtually all of them have dark speckles and streaks. Since murres lay their eggs directly on rock ledges without building nests, their eggs have evolved a unique shape, very wide on one end and tapering to a narrow point. This adaptation prevents the eggs from rolling away, instead the egg will roll in a circle if dislodged. Now that the murres are laying in earnest, many hours will be spent staring at the backs of murres in study plots, hoping to get a glimpse of their eggs. They don't move all that often while incubating and you would be surprised how well they can hide those large eggs.