The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Temp around 50, overcast, light drizzle/rain in the afternoon, light S wind increasing to 10-20 mph by afternoon.
An uneventful morning. No birds on the Clam Lagoon Peninsula. No shorebirds along the seawall except Rock and turnstone. However, we did see a Herring “Vega” Gull at the seawall.
At Candlestick Bridge, a large flock of Eider and Mergansers was present.
We came back around to the west side and I decided to walk the Clam Lagoon marsh edge from south to north. I got about a third of the way up when four shorebirds dropped from the sky onto the flats a short distance from me. They were Sharp-tailed Sandpipers! Not hidden in the marsh!
No sooner had I taken a few photos of them than they were joined by two Pacific Golden-Plovers. Then a couple of Pectoral Sandpipers appeared.
Then they flew up and away. I proceeded up the marsh edge, then out the peninsula. Out there were a couple of Western Sandpipers and a Rock Sandpiper. All of a sudden, a mixed flock of shorebirds flew by me, including at least one Sanderling. They circled back out to the flats, where they were joined by many others. Shorebirds kept appearing and joining the others scattered across the flats. I headed back towards the flock. However, ever since I started this walk the wind and rain had been increasing. As I approached the birds, they kept a good distance away, frequently flying up, circling and landing in a new location. These conditions prevented me from getting anything but very marginal photos and at a great distance.
However, in between trying to get photos, I scanned the flock trying to identify as much as possible. Barb also was scanning through them with a scope from the car.
The highlight of the flock was a Mongolian Plover (Lesser Sand Plover to you “young uns”)! I got terrible, but identifiable photos.
This was our second Mongolian Plover that we have had on Adak.
In addition to the plover, other goodies included at least two Red-necked Stints and at least one Little Stint. The birds kept moving and mixing, so it was hard to keep track of how many of everything.
The final tally (our best guesstimate) was 28 Sanderlings, 2 Pacific Golden-Plovers, 3 Semipalmated Plovers, 8 Western Sandpipers, 8 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 4 Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Red-necked Stints, 1 Little Stint, 1 Mongolian Plover, 1 Long-billed Dowitcher, and several Rock Sandpipers. There may have been more.
In all of our trips out here, we had never seen a fallout like this. Not only was there a variety of shorebirds, they were out on the flats, not hidden in the marsh. The only bad thing was the conditions for photography.
Oh, by the way, did we mention that Adak had a 7.1 earthquake a week and a half ago and has been having aftershocks ever since? We had a 4.8 aftershock two nights ago and a 4.1 today.
.Keep those birds coming!