Friday, Sep 16, 2011

Another pleasant day on Adak, hence no new birds. We didn’t even add a trip bird!

The Red-necked Stint, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Ruff are still here, but the number of Pectorals has gone down to a few (from about a dozen).

One interesting note. Rock Ptarmigan are abundant on Adak and are seen easily as you drive around. They are out in the middle of the road or on the edges and flush, flashing their white wings. This trip, we saw one “chicken” on Sunday, and then no more until today. Isaac said they are more secretive when they have young around, but on past September trips we have seen them out in the open with a dozen young in tow (see photo on the Birding Adak link on my home page). So we thought it was highly unusual not to see but one!

Well today changed all that. We saw a couple dozen.

We have learned from our trips up here that no two visits are alike. The breeding birds in spring arrive at different times in different years and the migrants are all over the map; both in numbers and occurrence.

A good example is Wood Sandpiper. On our first trip (May 2005), we had half-a- dozen and they were tame and easily approachable. The following spring, Schutsky’s tour group (Bird Treks) had over a hundred. The following spring we had one! Subsequent trips produced none, one, and four. So what seemed from the first two spring trips to be an easy bird to get here turned out not to be.

Here’s another Red-necked Stint photo. However, this one is showing cleavage!

Red-necked Stint, 9/16/2011