AKPATOK ISLAND (Nunavut)
Akpatok Island is a remote spot near the northernmost limits of the Labrador Peninsula. Steep and sheer limestone cliffs jut out of icy waters. Encased in snow and surrounded with sea ice in the winter months, this uninhabited island lures huge amounts of wildlife, most notably the world’s largest population of breeding Thick-billed Murres (known as Brünnich’s Guillemots in Europe), estimated at well over a million birds. These auks flock to the bare cliffs of the island between June and September, and murres incubate their single pear-shaped egg on the cliff ledges. Glaucous Gulls can be seen soaring above looking for unguarded eggs and chicks, while Black Guillemots paddle around on the nearby sea. Akpatok Island is also a favorite summer home for polar bears as they wait for the winter ice to form.