Our flights from Philly to Anchorage were uneventful. We arrived on time, got our grocery shopping done and collapsed into bed.
This morning, we did a little birding. We went up to Arctic Valley, where Frank found a Willow Ptarmigan feather — not the bird, just a feather. It is still our nemesis bird!
At Potters Marsh, the birds were a little more cooperative. Highlights include a breeding plumaged Rusty Blackbird — not a plumage we normally see back home. Several Lincoln’s Sparrows were cooperative.
On the back side of the marsh, a moose browsed by the roadside.
This Arctic Tern sure knows where to nest.
And this tern was getting ready to mate!
We got to the airport and left early. We have never seen the skies over the Aleutians so clear! Most of he islands were cloud-free! This is unheard of… More often, the sea is clear and the islands are shrouded.
We arrived early on Adak, unpacked and went out to do some evening birding. While in the airport waiting for our luggage, Barb struck up a conversation with the police chief, who mentioned that he had seen some swans last week! In all of our trips out here since 2005, we have never had a swan! We deducted from his description that he had seen them on Haven Lake, so we headed there for our first stop. Sure enough, there were two swans there. Whooper Swan would be a lifer, but our initial impression was not Whooper. We decided to call Aaron who had arrived with a tour group on the same flight, but discovered we had left the radios in the apartment! We raced back to town and then discovered that when we left the apartment, we had locked the inner door, but the keys we had only worked on the outer door! (There sure are a lot of exclamation points in today’s blog!!)
So we got Elliot (our landlord for our stay) and managed to get back in, get the radios and call Aaron. Luckily, he was within range and we all met back up at Haven Lake. We identified the swans as Tundra, with one of them being the Bewick’s subspecies. We had never seen this subspecies before, so a semi-lifer! And a new species for our Adak list.
A nice way to start the trip.