Saturday, September 15, 2012

After a very windy and rainy night, the morning was partly-cloudy and windy.

We checked Sweeper Cove and Sweeper Creek. No new birds.

We headed up towards the airport ponds and flushed a large flock of Rock Ptarmigans.

Rock Ptarmigans, Adak, 09/15/12

There are many multi-family groups like this at this time of year.

We headed north. As we were driving up Bayshore Drive across from Adak National Forest (not a real National Forest, just called that by the locals — it is the largest stand of trees on the island — about 30), Barb noticed something sitting on the frame that used to hold the ANF sign. She said it was a hawk. I quickly got on it and saw that it was a falcon. We quickly ruled out all but Eurasian Kestrel! It was an immature. This is a first record for Adak and the central Aleutians.

Eurasian Kestrel, Adak National Forest, 09/15/12

Eurasian Kestrel, near Adak National Forest, 09/15/12

This was a lifer for us. We tried calling John, but only got his voicemail. So Barb drove up to the Palisades Overlook and tried calling him on the radio. Luckily she got him and John et al arrived several minutes later. Unfortunately, while I was waiting for Barb and John to return, the bird flew off and behind the nearby ridge, emerging several minutes later playing with a Gyrfalcon and heading towards town and out of sight.

So John continued to drive around looking for it and finally caught sight of it flying back up the hill where ANF is (although distantly) and all three got to see it.

We continued up to Clam Lagoon, where the only highlight was a flock of 11 Sanderlings out on the flats.

It will be hard to top the Kestrel on this trip, but we certainly hope to…