Another day on Adak. Another stint!
The weather today was typical of Adak; 20-25 mph winds gusting up to 40, showers in the morning followed by steady rain in the afternoon.
By the time we got to Clam Lagoon in the afternoon, it was raining steadily and blowing hard. We were able to spot two of the Western Sandpipers and the Red-necked Stint from the road. We continued around Clam Lagoon, finding our first Ruddy Turnstones and a couple Pacific Golden Plovers. We continued on to Candlestick Bridge without noticing anything new. On the way back along the seawall, Frank saw a small shorebird fly in. It was a peep of some sort, but he was not sure what species. He started to take photos, while Barb tried to crane her neck to see through the other side of the car to see the bird. She caught a glimpse, but then the bird disappeared into the rocks.
Frank continued to scan the rocks for the peep, when what should pop up, but a Common Sandpiper! Frank yelled “Common Sandpiper” and started frantically to take photos. Barb was able to see this bird and got satisfying looks. This was our second Common Sandpiper on Adak. We had one on our first trip in May 2005, but this view (and photos) was much more satisfying.
This would be a lifer for Isaac, so Barb left me standing in the rain to keep tabs on the bird while she drove to a location where she could get cell phone reception to call Isaac. After several tries, she finally found a spot and got through to Isaac and he headed straight for our location. Of course, as soon as I got out of the car and Barb drove off, the Common Sandpiper disappeared!
Isaac arrive a short time later. While discussing the Common Sandpiper location with him, Frank showed him the photo of the peep. Isaac found it interesting, but did not commit an identification at that time. After about half an hour, Isaac relocated the Common Sandpiper and everyone was happy.
Common Sandpiper, Clam Lagoon Seawall, 9/13/2011
We returned to our house, Frank changed out of his soaking wet jeans, downloaded the photos to the computer and we tried to identify the peep. We had pretty much settled on Little Stint, when Isaac arrived and confirmed the bird, having relocated it as well!
With the sun having broken through the downpour, we hurriedly drove back up to the seawall, and after about twenty minutes, Barb spotted the Little Stint and got great looks at it (as did Frank).
Little Stint, Clam Lagoon Seawall, 9/13/11. Note the strong white "V" on the back.
Little Stint. 9/13/2011
Little Stint, 9/13/2011
This was a lifer for both of us.
We headed back to town. As we approached Palisades Overlook, we saw a new fishing vessel approaching the factory ship anchored in Kulik Bay. We stopped to look at it and saw a lot of bird activity around it. There were hundreds of shearwaters and gulls ahead of and trailing the ship. The shearwaters were mostly Short-tailed, but Barb thought she may have seen some with more white in the underwing, hinting at Sooty, but was not positive at that distance. However, Frank set up the Questar and quickly picked out a Black-footed Albatross! Another lifer for Frank and a more memorable sighting for Barb, as the lifer she had was while throwing up on a pelagic off Washington!
Not a bad day…