Monday, September 17, 2012

Shorebirds, shorebirds…

Today started out overcast, but quickly turned to mostly cloudy with an occasional drizzle (and windy). We saw nothing new at Sweeper Cove or around town, so we headed north. Our first shorebird of the day was a Rock Sandpiper at Landing Lights Beach.

Rock Sandpiper, Landing Lights Beach, 09/17/12

The tide was very high in Clam Lagoon, so we headed around to the seawall, where we found a lone Ruddy Turnstone.

Ruddy Turnstone, Clam Lagoon Seawall, 09/17/12

A little farther down the seawall, we found two Rock Sandpipers and a Western Sandpiper.

Rock Sandpiper (top) and Western Sandpiper, Clam Lagoon Seawall, 09/17/12

I mentioned the shearwaters that are streaming by the island in yesterday’s post. Here is a long-range photo taken today showing just a few of them.

Short-tailed Shearwaters, Clam Lagoon Seawall, 09/17/12

When we came back around Clam Lagoon, I decided to walk out the peninsula. This is getting to be my favorite location on Adak. I find good birds there, they are usually cooperative, and the lighting is generally good for photos. Today was like Noah’s Ark — two-by-two.

The first bird I noticed was a sleeping Western Sandpiper. As I got closer, I noticed two other shorebirds nearby. It was another Western and a Red-necked Stint. As I walked further out the peninsula, the birds kept walking ahead of me and were soon joined by two Sanderlings. I then noticed another Red-necked Stint had joined in. So two-by-two-by-two!

Two Red-necked Stints and a Western Sandpiper (center), Clam Lagoon, 09/17/12

Sanderlings, Clam Lagoon, 09/17/12

We then went down to Contractor’s Marsh, which I walked while Barb drove around. Halfway across, a flock of 8 Pectoral Sandpipers flew in and landed about 40 yards from me in thick vegetation. I headed over towards them, but they flushed before I could get a photo. They circled around, giving Barb a chance to see them, and landed at the other end of the marsh.

We continued south, down to Sweeper Cove, where we sat a while and watched for whatever might fly in. On the jetty next to us a Pelagic Cormorant flew in and posed nicely.

Pelagic Cormorant and Glaucous-winged Gull, Sweeper Cove, 09/17/12

As did a Harlequin Duck…

Harlequin Duck, Sweeper Cove, 09/17/12

A Black Oystercatcher emerged from behind the rocks, making it a 7-shorebird day (our best ever was 9)! The oystercatcher was soon joined by 6 others, including one juvenile, identified by the black tip of its bill and dark eye.

Black Oystercatchers (juvenile on left), Sweeper Cove, 09/17/12

Not a bad day. No kestrel, though..