Semisopochnoi (sem-eee-so-poach-NEE) is part of the Alaska Maritime NWR
its Aleut name is Unyax
it is located at 52ºN 179ºE
it is 18 km (11 mi) north-south and 20 km (12 mi) east-west
Semisopochnoi (Landsat image) showing the location of the auklet colony
a large mixed colony of Least and Crested Auklets was known to be located on the southern part of the island (Sowls, A.L., S.A. Hatch, and C.J. Lensink. 1978. Catalog of Alaskan seabird colonies. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Report (formerly FWS/OBS) 78/78.)
nesting auklets occupy crevices in lava flows on a parasistic cone on the flanks of Sugarloaf Peak volcano (photograph from 1943 showing the approximate auklet colony boundary from our survey, in red) [this is the only Least and Crested Auklet breeding area on the island]
despite being one of the largest seabird colonies in Alaska and in the northern hemisphere, it had never been quantitatively surveyed on the ground
therefore, in 2004 we visited the island and carried out a survey to:
1) measure the extent of the colony (i.e., quantify the area on the ground occupied by nesting auklets)
2) quantify the relative abundance/density of auklet breeding sites within the colony site
Jones, I.L. and J.F. Marais. 2004. Survey of the Least and Crested Auklet colony near Sugarloaf Head, Semisopochnoi Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, in 2004. Report to Alaska Maritime NWR. 34 pp. (pdf file).
Jones, I.L. and J.F. Marais. 2006. Survey of the Least and Crested Auklet colony near Sugarloaf Head, Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska, during 2004. POSTER presentation, Pacific Seabird Group, Girdwood, Alaska. (jpeg file).
Jones, I.L. 2014. Surveying the auklet colony at Semisopochnoi Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, in 2004. A 14 minute film. (Youtube)
photographs of Semisopochnoi Island made during our visit, annotated (here)
This page is maintained by Ian L. Jones (iljones 'at' mun.ca)