Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It was a good day on Adak! It was partly sunny and the winds were light and variable, mostly coming from the east. They are supposed to swing to the north for the next day or so. However, the past two days of westerlies have been good to us.

We started at Sweeper Cove (as usual). We saw our first Horned Puffins of the trip. Pigeon Guillemots are abundant on Adak and pose nicely for pictures.

Pigeon Guillemot, Sweeper Cove, May 23, 2012

We headed down to Finger Bay, stopping at the quarry for Pacific Wren. The quarry is the one place on the island that you can count on findingĀ  this intrepid little bird. How they survive Bering Sea winters, we will never know. This little guy was singing his heart out (as usual).

Pacific Wren, Quarry, May 23, 2012

At Finger Bay we added an Arctic Loon and found this Glaucous-winged Gull trying to dismember a crab.

Glaucous-winged Gull with crab, Finger Bay, May 23, 2012

We headed back north, checking feeders along the way. As we were driving up Bayshore Drive, five shorebirds flushed from the side of the road and disappeared over the sand dune. The last bird to flush was a Semipalmated Plover, but we did not get good looks at the other four. Frank walked up on the dune to look for them and they flushed again and flew over the nearby hill; two Pacific Golden-Plovers and a Ruddy Turnstone. We did not see the fifth bird.

We continued up Bayshore and got nice looks at an Arctic Tern.

Arctic Tern, Landing Lights Beach, May 23, 2012

We headed to Contractor’s Marsh and Frank started to walk it while Barb circled around to meet him on the other side. As I was walking, I got a call from Warren stating they had a Ruff about an hour earlier at the marsh, but it flew out of site towards Landing Lights Beach. Thinking of the fifth shorebird that we never relocated earlier (which was just south of Landing Lights Beach), we suggested it might be the Ruff. So we met up with them and searched that area. Barb drove around to the other side of the hill where we had seen the other shorebirds fly, and flushed two Turnstones, which obligingly flew back over to where I and Bob, and Warren were. So the fifth bird was probably the other Turnstone. No sign of the Ruff.

I still remember the first breeding-plumaged Lapland Longspur that we saw on our first trip to Adak in 2005. It was impressive then and still is today.

Lapland Longspur, Adak, May 23, 2012

We headed up to Clam Lagoon and I walked the marshy shoreline looking for shorebirds. No shorebirds, but I relocated the Bramblings that Bob and Warren had found yesterday. They didn’t stay still long enough to get good photos, but I got an identifiable one of the male. The birds flushed and flew a few hundred yards behind me, and I wasn’t going to chase them just for a better photo, so this will have to do.

Brambling, Clam Lagoon, May 23, 2012

We continued around Clam Lagoon. On the east side, we spotted a Bar-tailed Godwit out in the middle of the flats. The ones we saw the other day did not stay around (even for the time it took us to drive around the lagoon), but this one stayed as we drove back around to the other side. We hope it attracts others. In past trips we have had dozens of godwits stopping to feed on the flats, but some years, only one or two. We hope this turns into the former.

We headed back into town and down to Sweeper Cove and creek. As we were going by Sweeper Cove, we stopped at the Naval Administration Building where we had scattered birdseed. On the ground, under the spruce tree was a male Hawfinch. I quickly snapped some photos, then called Warren and Bob (this would be a lifer for Bob!). However, all we got was voicemail! Warren had been having problems with his Iphone (no ring or sound, although he could make and receive calls?!). We left the message and continued birding.

After getting gas ($6 a gallon!), we headed back up to Contractor’s Marsh, where luckily we ran into Bob and Warren. I think they made record time getting down to the Hawfinch once we filled them in! The bird was still there (pigging out on the sunflower seed and chasing away the rosy finches) and everyone was happy.

Hawfinch, Naval Administration Building, May 23, 2012

Hawfinch, Naval Administration Building, May 23, 2012

No lifers for us, but it is always a good day when you see both a Brambling and Hawfinch on the same day. We are up to 49 species for the trip.