Temp in the upper 40s, overcast, rain, NE wind 30-50 mph.
At Sweeper Cove this morning, we still saw a shearwater or two, plus there were more birds generally — puffins, guillemots, etc.
In Kuluk Bay, off Navfac Creek, we saw a pair of White-winged Scoters.
By mid-morning we hadn’t found anything else new and headed back to the house for a pit stop. A hunter (Nick), who we met on the plane, was next door, and mentioned that near the hut that he and his son had camped in the night before (near Finger Bay), was a large tub with several drowned green birds! Well, that certainly peaked our interest!
So we headed down there. We found the hut and the large plastic tub with three drowned birds in it. The sides of the tub were too slippery for the birds to climb out, so once they flew in (for what purpose, we aren’t sure) they simply could not escape and finally succumbed.
They weren’t green, but the algae growing on them was…
There were two Pacific Wrens and a Song Sparrow.
Drowned Song Sparrow and Pacific Wren, Near Finger Bay, September 10, 2016.
Drowned Pacific Wren, Near Finger Bay, September 10, 2016.
To prevent any more fatalities, I threw a couple of small boards into the water to give any future drop-ins some purchase for flying out.
At Finger Bay, we finally saw a couple of Pelagic Cormorants and a few Harlequin Ducks. They DO exist!
We headed back north.
We were going to drive through Contractors Camp Marsh, but the heavy rain has flooded many of the roads. Although they were covered by only a few inches of water in most places, there is so much debris that flies around there (boards with nails, metal roofing, etc.) that unless you can see the road surface, it is unwise to drive there. So we continued north.
At the Seawall, there were very few shearwaters visible and the surf was pounding. The tide was so high and the waves so large that Goose Rocks were only visible briefly every few minutes!
We had a Greater Scaup at Lake Shirley.
On the eastern side of the lagoon flats, we spotted two shorebirds — one large and one small — way out. They were too far for pictures and the 40 mph wind and rain made the photographic conditions even worse. However, I had to try to get close enough to them to identify them, so I climbed down the embankment and started wading out towards the birds. I got a couple of distant photos before they took off. Here is the best one.
Mystery shorebirds, Clam Lagoon, September 10, 2016.
We don’t know what they were. We thought they might be yesterday’s Greenshank and a Dunlin. We sent the photo to some better birders and they also were unsure, but they suggested the larger bird might be a godwit. However, godwits are rare on Adak in the fall. Maybe tomorrow’s weather — less rain — will enable us to find them in more ideal viewing conditions.
Down at Candlestick Bridge, Barb saw some shorebirds fly along the edge of the beach and disappear around the bend, so I walked down there and found a dozen Rock Sandpipers and one Ruddy Turnstone.
Rock Sandpiper, Candlestick Bridge, September 10, 2016.
We went back around the lagoon and I walked out the Peninsula (in driving wind and rain), in hopes that the mystery shorebirds had taken shelter in the lee.
No such luck.
We headed back to the house and called it a day.
The triplist is up to 27.