Thursday, September 13, 2012 – redux

It is 6 a.m. here, my body thinks it is 11 a.m. and the sun doesn’t come up until 8 a.m. So I guess I will work on this blog…

Our Philly, Chicago, Anchorage flights on Wednesday were uneventful. We got our rental, got to the motel, retrieved our luggage (sent ahead of time), did our food shopping, got dinner and retired for some needed rest — but not before checking on the Phillies score — Phl 3 Mia 1, only 3 games back in the wild card race!

Thursday morning, we birded the usual spots around Anchorage — Arctic Valley, West Chester Lagoons, Ship Creek, etc. Nothing of note. A California Gull was reported at Cuddy Park, so we went there to check it out. There was a single immature gull there. It didn’t look right, but we are terrible on immature gulls, so we took some photos to study later. It turned out to be just a Mew Gull.

Mew Gull, Anchorage, 09/13/12

We stopped at small park (Russian Jack Springs Park) and found chickadees, Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Golden-crowned Sparrow, Anchorage, 09/13/12

Black-capped Chickadee, Anchorage, 09/13/12

We stopped at Goose Lake where last May we got photos of a Pacific Loon way across the lake. This time there were two and they were much closer.

Pacific Loon, Anchorage, 09/13/12

We got back to the motel, packed, and got to the airport. The flight left and arrived a few minutes early. I got some more photos of Mount Sitkin (this is an active volcano thirty miles east of Adak). Compare this late-summer photo with the one I took as we left Adak last May (scroll down to see that post).

Mount Sitkin, 09/13/12

We got our rental truck (always a surprise here).

Rental Truck, Adak, 09/13/12

Everything seems to work and it is quiet! Amazing!!

John Puschock, Colin Campbell, and Jack (didn’t get his last name) met us at the rental house and we followed them up to the Elfin Forest. They had found a Baikal Teal a week ago and it was hanging out in a small pond there. However, the bird was very skittish and hid in the reeds. We drove past the pond, but did not see the bird. We parked 50 yards away and John started to circle around to get a different angle and possibly flush it towards us. Unfortunately, the bird flushed before John got around and it flew away from us towards the sun. So all we saw was the silhouette of the north end of a bird going south…

Oh well. We will have two weeks here to try to get a better view.  We saw a Baikal Teal in Phoenix, AZ last year, and although the Arizona birders are counting it, we are always suspicious of exotic waterfowl showing up in the lower 48 states, as there are a lot of waterfowl collectors and escapes are common. A Baikal Teal on Adak however would have unquestioned provenance.

We did a drive around Clam Lagoon, but found nothing new. While working on my Google Adak Birding Map a few months ago, I noticed a pond that I had not seen before. It was on the west side of the Clam Lagoon Seawall, hidden by the dike. So as we were passing by, we stopped and I clambered up the dike, and sure enough, there was a hidden pond there. Although there were no birds on it right then, it looked like a good place for ducks to hide when flushed from the roadside ponds along that stretch of road. I have dubbed it “Hidden Pond” — not very original, but it will have to do for now, until we spot something rare there!

We hope to have more exciting news tonight…