Nunaluk Spit, northernmost point of mainland Yukon

Two days ago, the inner tube of the back bike tire completely blew out when I was on my way to the trail.

 While walking back home with the broken bike, I manged to get a few photos of a bumblebee visiting someone's Moonflowers.

I bought a replacement this morning.  Hopefully I will be back biking tomorrow.  But for now, here's what happened on one of the days during my field season.

On June 23, 2012, I had the rare opportunity to travel to the northernmost point of mainland Yukon called Nunaluk Spit, it is basically a gravel bar that extended along the coast and the Beaufort Sea.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson's Cabin
On the spit is a cabin built by the descendants of the famous Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson.
Pallas' Wallflower (Erysimum pallasii)
Despite being on a gravel bar, it actually supported a fairly healthy diversity of plants and some flower flies (Syrphidae), especially around the cabins where soil exists.  This is a Pallas' Wallflower (Erysimum pallasii).

Arctic Catchfly (Silene repens)
I also saw these Silene sp. at Nunaluk.  I think it may be Silene repens (Arctic Catchfly), but a friend thinks it may be S. uralensis (Bladder campion), which has purple flowers.  Without any flowers present, this plant may remain a mystery.

King Eiders (Somateria spectabilis)
One of the most amazing sights from the trip was seeing eiders, a bird species that I thought I would never see in my life.  We saw both Common Eiders and King Eiders (Somateria spectabilis - photographed above), but this was the only decent photo I got.

Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
The only lone Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) at Nunaluk.

Pacific Loons (Gavia pacifica)
On the way to Nunaluk, we saw Red-throated Loons on ponds across the tundra.  Over at Nunaluk, we spotted Pacific Loons (Gavia pacifica) swimming close to the still-icy shoreline.

Pacific Loons (Gavia pacifica)

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)
Gorgeous-looking birds.

I picked up a new hobby of balancing rocks while in the north, here are a few rocks that I balanced.

Rock balancing 2

Rock balancing 1 - Happy Fish

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
Our main task at Nunaluk was looking for and counting the shorebirds.  Pectoral Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla - photographed above) were the only two species that we saw.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
Foraging along the midge-covered shoreline.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
Keeping an weary eye out on me, the strange visitor to the land.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
There was a relatively large colony of Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) at Nunaluk.  They certainly did not like us when we were passing through the area.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
What a beautiful and (understandingly) protective animal.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea)

Despite spending only a few hours at Nunaluk Spit, it will forever be one of the most special places that I have visited ever - both from the animals and plants that I saw, as well as the strange but interesting landscape.

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