Thursday, May 16, 2013

We started off our trip with a bang (or maybe just a pop)! But more abut that later…

We tried a new air route this year, flying from Philly to Seattle to Anchorage (all on Alaska Airlines). The advantage was we didn’t have to leave Philly until 5:40 pm. The disadvantage was we didn’t get into Anchorage until midnight. That meant no afternoon birding. This morning, we got our shopping done, stored the food in our motel room and went out for a little birding before our afternoon flight to Adak.

At Westchester Lagoon we had two Barrow’s Goldeneyes, but they flew off before I could get their picture. At Ship Creek, we had two Bonaparte’s Gulls and a cooperative Hermit Thrush.

Bonaparte’s Gull, Ship Creek, Anchorage, May 16, 2013.

Hermit Thrush, Ship Creek, Anchorage, May 16, 2013.

At Potters Marsh, we had an assortment of ducks, Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitchers, Northern Harrier, Sandhill Cranes and a couple of Boreal Chickadees. The only other Boreal Chickadee that we have had previously in Alaska was a dead one we found at the airport terminal several years ago! It was nice to see live ones…

Our flight to Adak was highlighted with a distant view of the Pavlof Volcano spewing ash and steam into the air. Our first erupting volcano!

Erupting Pavlov Volcano, May 16, 2013

We arrived at Adak and after unpacking, heard that the other tour group had an unidentified finch of some sort. We quickly found them at the Sandy Cove Bluffs rock feeder viewing a Siskin, but unsure as to whether it was a Pine or Eurasian.

After much discussion and looks at the bird and photos of the bird, most of the birders present were leaning towards Pine. We will have to do some online research tomorrow (too tired tonight) and see if we agree.

Pine(?) Siskin, Sandy Cove Bluffs, Adak, May 16, 2013.

Whichever species it is will be a new bird for our Adak list and if it is a Eurasian Siskin, a lifer.

We headed up to Clam Lagoon for a quick survey and were surprised to find a flock of 35 Bar-tailed Godwits out on the flats (we had fewer than a dozen last year).

We continued around the lagoon to the seawall, where I spotted a Stellar’s Sea Lion thrashing a bird to death. The bird had a lot of white on it and we suspect it was a Common Eider. The Sea Lion disappeared below the surface with its prey, and as we were scanning for it to surface, we spotted an Emperor Goose flying right towards us! It flew low directly overhead and into the lagoon, where we spotted it a short time later. Of course I was out of the car scanning with the scope without the camera in hand!

More tomorrow (its 11:08 pm!)