Oh, by the way, did we mention Tufted Ducks?
Temp in the mid-40s, mostly sunny, light east wind.
Being too tired to think straight last night, I forgot to mention the Tufted Ducks. Yes–plural!
After two spring trips without seeing any Tufted Ducks, we found one on Shotgun Lake last night and Aaron Lang found five on Airport Pond! We had those five this morning and Aaron had the Shotgun Lake bird today. So at least 6 are here right now.
We started out today stocking the feeders in hope of a Hawfinch or other Asian passerine. We birded around Sweeper Cove and creek with no notable sightings. We headed up to Lake Andrew and checked on the swans as we drove by Haven Lake. They were still there. We headed north, and at Palisades Overlook, we had two Arctic Loons (We had two Pacific Loons at the Seawall last night).
At Clam Lagoon, there were only two Bar-tailed Godwits. Frank walked out the peninsula and had two Sanderlings.
Also out there were four Shovelers–an uncommon bird on Adak.
As we were scanning the bay from the seawall, a flock of Cackling Geese flew over.
Aaron told us that he had a Least Sandpiper performing a mating flight at Contractor’s Camp Marsh. So we headed down there, and after a few minutes, heard it and finally spotted it. This was only our second record of Least Sandpiper for Adak and there are only a few others. He was one optimistic fella…
A big mystery right now is the lack of ravens. Normally we are seeing them half-a-dozen at a time and we are rarely out of earshot of their croaking. But this trip we have only seen a few. We suspect there is a rat extermination project going on and the ravens are secondary victims of the rat poison. The wildlife service carried out such a program on Rat Island (Yes!) a few years ago, and although some birds (such as ravens and eagles and gulls) died as a result, the overwhelming result of the project is a currently booming breeding seabird population. When we get a chance, we will be checking with the local Wildlife personnel to find out the story. We will let you know.
We picked up several expected species, some scoters, alcids, etc. So our trip list stands at 45.
The bad news is the weather is expected to remain balmy with light east winds for the next few days, Not the kind of weather conducive to dropping Asian vagrants on the island. But, you never know…