As daylight swiftly increases, thousands of
migratory birds appear. Seabirds mass offshore near the cliffs where they will
raise young. Swans collect in the Naknek River near Refuge headquarters,
pairing off and re-occupying the tundra’s pothole lakes as they thaw. Naknek
River is a way station for geese and ducks, some moving farther north, others
preparing for the nesting season nearby. Swallows arrive as the insects hatch.
Bears wake from hibernation, hungry, as do
smaller mammals like marmots, all taking advantage of newly emergent
vegetation. Ptarmigan shed winter white for summer camouflage, raucously
calling from atop brush. A slow, delicate flush of green touches the landscape
as buds begin to open.