Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Well, more like “earthquake?”

At 11 pm last night we experienced our third earthquake on Adak. As in the past, it started with a bump (like someone slamming the door) and was followed by a few small shakes, lasting about 5-10 seconds. Probably a “one” on the Richter Scale. Being on the Pacific Ring of Fire (the Aleutians are volcanic in origin), quakes are expected events.

Today’s weather was grim, it rained most of the morning and the wind howled out of the north. By afternoon, at least it stopped raining for the most part. The only sun we saw while out birding today was at the base of Mount Adagdak, just north of Clam Lagoon.

Sunshine at Mount Adagdak, May 30, 2012

By evening, however, more sun finally broke through.

Renting vehicles up here is always an adventure. The 1990 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which we had been using the past few trips, finally developed more problems than we were willing to put up with. Ie. the accessories stopped working (due to a faulty ignition switch), so we no longer had heat or windshield wipers! Not a good plan on Adak. So we switched to a Chevy Silverado extended-cab pickup truck. As with most vehicles on Adak, it does not look pristine.

Chevy truck (dents built in)

The handle on the driver’s side door was broken off, so we had to improvise.

Improvised door handle

Also, the switch for the electric window was damaged and had to be pressed down really hard in order to activate it. We improvised a solution to that problem, too!

Spatula/window opener

In spite of the weather, we did see some birds today.

At least one of the Hawfinches made an appearance at the Naval Admin Bldg and we had another Pacific Golden-Plover at Contractor’s Marsh.

At Clam Lagoon, Frank walked the peninsula and found a male Brambling. Since the pair of Bramblings that were hanging out at the marsh edge had not been seen since Friday, 5/25 (and looked for many times since), we assume this is a new bird. But there is no way to be absolutely certain. The photo of the first male Brambling is not good enough to compare plumage with this one.

Brambling, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2012

Harbor seals spend a lot of time in Clam Lagoon and up at the northwest corner is a little cove that we have christened Seal Rock Cove because at low tide, a seal is always perched on this exposed rock.

Harbor Seal, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2012

Back in town, one of the feeder areas that had not yet produced anything had a Hawfinch at it this afternoon. We can’t tell if this is a new one or one of the two that had been coming to the Naval Admin Bldg.

This will be our last posting until we get home, as we leave Adak at 6 pm tomorrow, spend the next fourteen hours or so in airplanes and airports, arriving home late Friday afternoon. So look for a final post and recap on Saturday.