Not a lifer, but close…redux
Temp in the 40s, overcast, light rain in the afternoon, Wind SSE 10-20
Still no Hawfinches or Bramblings.
At Sweeper Cove, a Horned Puffin was gracious enough to pose.
As I was taking this photo, we got a call from Paul and Don that they had a Far Eastern Curlew and a Whimbrel at Landing Lights Beach! We flew up there, and saw Don up on the sand dune. I scrambled up to see the birds, snapped a few photos, and then scrambled down to go farther up the dune to get closer, as they were heading up the beach.
In the meantime, Barb drove up to the top of the next hill in hopes of reaching Bill and Chris on the radio. It turned out to be not necessary, as over the hill came Paul, trailed by Bill and Chris. They climbed the dune and got terrific looks at the birds and then Don and I helped Barb up the dune so she could get a look (This wasn’t a lifer, but close!)
The birds flew a couple of times, but always returned to the beach. In flight, we could see the white up the back of the Whimbrel, making it the “Siberian” sub-species. That is the only sub-species that we have seen out here.
Here is a photo gallery.
We had seen a Far Eastern Curlew on our first trip to Adak in May 2005, but that one was far out on the Clam Lagoon flats and only stayed 15 minutes or so. This one was much nicer. It was a lifer (or ABA Lifer) for everyone else.
The boat from Attu was due in around noon, so we anxiously waited for their arrival, hoping the birds would remain. They arrived at Sweeper Cove, climbed into several vehicles and headed for Landing Lights Beach. They parked part-way up the dune, clambered up, but did not spot them. In the meantime, we drove ahead, planning to scan for the Temminck’s Stint up at Clam Lagoon. However, we stopped at the Navfac Creek viewpoint (which is the north end of Landing Lights Beach) and there were the curlews! We radioed the other groups and they arrived and all had good looks. As far as we can tell, it was a lifer for most (if not all) of the other birders!
We continued up to Clam Lagoon, but could not find the stint. However, the Red Phalarope was still there, giving everyone great views.
We ended with a trip list of 66, two above average.
We added two birds to our Adak List — Surf Scoter and Red Phalarope
No lifers, but several Semi-lifers — Far Eastern Curlew, Temminck’s Stint, Red Phalarope
Notable records — Western Sandpiper (only 2nd or 3rd spring record), Red Phalarope (not rare, but very uncommon on land), Least Sandpiper (only our 3rd record), Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Brambling, and Hawfinch.
Birds we missed — Smew and Black-crowned Night-Heron (both seen just before we arrived), Peregrine Falcon, Redpoll, Ruff, Yellow-billed Loon, Wandering Tattler.
For the first time in years, all of our return flights left and arrived early or on-time!
We will be back in September…