Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We started today as usual, checking Sweeper Cove and the various places that we put out seed in hopes of attracting passing vagrants. The local Gray-crowned Rosy Finches have discovered most of the feeding spots, so we hope that they will in turn attract other species (at least that is how it worked in the past).

While scanning Sweeper Cove, we saw a flock of two-dozen passerines flying across the cove towards Sweeper Creek. We drove down there and scoured the area, but could not relocate them. A large flock of birds in this season is unusual, as most breeders on Adak arrive here in dribs and drabs and quickly set up territories. Who knows what they were…

Note: You can see maps and pictures of the places mentioned in this blog by clicking on Birding Adak on our home page (www.FranklinHaas.com).

While we were scanning the Airport Ponds for waterfowl, a half-dozen Aleutian Terns flew in, the first for this year. We later also saw an Arctic Tern.

Rock Ptarmigans are plentiful this year and explode from the side of the road as we drive by. Here is one standing and flying.

Rock Ptarmigan, near Lake Andrew, May 22, 2012

Rock Ptarmigan, near Lake Andrew, May 22, 2012

Up at Haven Lake (on the way to Lake Andrew) we had Wilson’s Snipe winnowing and calling. Common Snipe were reported last week, but we have not yet found any.

On the way back to town from Lake Andrew, we spotted two Pacific Golden-Plovers on the side of the road. These were in nicer plumage than the one we saw yesterday. The plumage descriptions match the three birds that Bob and Warren had reported to us yesterday up near Contractor’s Marsh.

Pacific Golden-Plover, near airport, May 22, 2012

Bob Schutsky and Warren Hanson found a pair of Brambling at Clam Lagoon as they were walking the marsh edge in search of shorebirds! You can see pictures of Bramblings (and other birds) that we had on Adak last May at https://picasaweb.google.com/FranklinHaas/AdakMay2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCL6Oo9eK7uv_Wg#

I hope to walk Clam Lagoon tomorrow. If I find the Bramblings, I will post their picture(s) here.

Before we arrived, Isaac (the resident birder, who is co-leading a trip to Attu right now) informed us that he had found a lot of owl pellets in the stand of spruce trees just past Palisades Overlook. He did not have a chance to return to look for the owl that might be roosting there before he had to leave for the Attu trip. So today I hiked down to the spruce grove and did some searching. I found a lot of pellets (see below), but no owl. None of the pellets looked fresh, so I suspect it was a wintering bird who has since departed. The only owl we have ever seen on Adak was a Short-eared Owl (which are suspected to have bred on Adak at one time).

Owl pellet. One less rat on Adak!

Winds were westerly today and are supposed to be southwesterly tomorrow. Here’s hoping for more new birds!