Monday, September 24, 2018
Temp in the 50s, mostly cloudy, occasional light shower, wind WNW switching to NW 10-15 mph
My blog was still down. This was posted Tuesday morning.
The fish factory was in operation today so there were a lot of gulls at the Sweeper Cove breakwater. Nothing unusual, however.
We spent all of the morning around or near town, as far as Landing Lights.
At Contractor’s Camp Marsh, we had two Peregrine Falcons cavorting.
Just as we were leaving Landing Lights, a crane flew directly over us heading out over the bay. It turned south and flew along the shoreline. We raced down along Bayshore Drive and spotted it again turning towards Sweeper Cove. We raced to Sweeper Cove and saw it flying due west towards the west end.
By the time we got to the end of the cove, we had lost sight of it. We started driving around that area in hopes of finding it on the ground. This is the same area where a flock of 30 or so Sandhill Cranes spent a week or so back in May/June 2008. Also, we have had Sandhill Cranes only on our May trips.
We tried calling Jon and Jim, but couldn’t reach them. We finally turned into the road leading up to the gas station, and just as we stopped, Jim called and asked if we saw anything new. We reported that we were chasing a crane and gave them our location. As I was doing that, Barb yelled “There it is!.” It flew low directly over us. I hopped out and started taking photos while directing Jim where the bird was headed.
The bird flew south of us, circled like it was going to land, but instead rose again, circled even higher and eventually disappeared over the ridgetop.
By then Jon and Jim had arrived (too late to see the bird) and they followed us up the road that went around the ridge in hopes of spotting it again (Both needed that bird for Adak).
We got around the ridge and scanned. No bird. We headed up to he quarry at the top of the next ridge and scanned. No bird.
We assumed it was a Sandhill, but when we looked at the photos on the camera, we weren’t positive. This bird was a young bird and had black secondaries. We new from our bird guides that Common Cranes have black secondaries and adult Sandhill Cranes have gray secondaries, but we couldn’t determine if young Sandhills also had black secondaries.
I posted the photos to IDFrontiers and waited for replies…
So far, two responders ruled out Common Crane and one ruled out Sandhill! We are waiting for more replies. (Although we are leaning towards Sandhill).
In the meantime, we headed up to Clam Lagoon. Jon, Jim, and I walked the marsh edge and there were a lot more birds there today. It was hard to tell exactly how many, as some of the birds just flushed and landed ahead of us. Others circled around behind us. Suffice it to say there were probably a dozen Pectorals, 2 or 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, and 2 or 3 Long-billed Dowitchers.
Halfway up, the rain started and soaked us pretty good…
We continued around the lagoon. On the east side we had two Emperor Geese and an adult Peregrine Falcon (the pair we saw earlier were young birds).
Or trip it is up to 40 and our year list is 86.
My blog software is back up and running!!!