Square Rock, Norton Sound

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Square Rock, Norton Sound

by | May 25, 2019

Square Rock is a sea stack with a seabird colony on the Seward Peninsula in Norton Sound, about 4 miles (6.5 km) east of the abandoned village of Bluff and 25 miles (40 km) east of Solomon, Alaska. The local name was first reported in about 1940 on charts by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Bluff, also known as Agookauchuk, was a mining town built in 1900 during the Nome Gold Rush. The town was located 55 miles (89 km) southeast of Nome and was abandoned in about 1919, probably as a result of the influenza epidemic. To the east of the village site, between Safety and Golovin Bays, are the Bluff Cliffs that extend for 2 miles (3.2 km) along the coast and support one of the largest seabird colonies in Norton Sound. The seabird colony at Bluff has been studied more continuously than any other in Alaska. Studies were started in 1975, and monitoring has been conducted in most years since then.

The Bluff colonies are by far the largest congregation of cliff-nesting seabirds on the mainland coast of Western Alaska, outside of Bristol Bay about 370 miles (600 km) to the south. The site includes 5 closely located colonies with common feeding areas at sea. The Bluff colony is the largest, with around 125,000 nesting seabirds. The Square Rock colony is next in size, while the other three are considerably smaller. Common Murres make up most of the population, and Black-legged Kittiwakes are also present in significant numbers. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Bluff Cliffs and Square Rock here:

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