Saturday, May 17, 2014

Today’s large marine mammal score: Barb 1 — Frank 0

Temp in the 40s, mostly sunny, but morning fog, light east wind.

We started today checking feeders. Not much activity yet.

At Sweeper Cove, we added Common Loon to the list and the obligatory Bald Eagle closeup.

Bald Eagles, Sweeper Cove, May 17, 2014.

Bald Eagles, Sweeper Cove, May 17, 2014.

We headed down to Finger Bay, adding Snow Bunting along the way. Nothing notable down there, so we came back to town, had lunch and headed north.

There were still three Bar-tailed Godwits on the flats. We met up with Aaron and his tour group and headed out to the Loran Station for some seawatching. Shortly after we arrived, someone spotted a whale spouting way out. The spray was easy to see with binos, but a scope was needed to see the actual whale. We take two scopes with us when we go birding. A window mounted 20-60X Kowa and a 50-80X Questar. The Kowa is quick and good enough for most sightings, but for up-close-and-personal you can’t beat the “Q”. However, because of the power of the Q, its field of view is narrow and homing in on distant objects is not easy (especially when there are no landmarks for cues).


As Barb was watching the whale through the Kowa, I was attempting to locate it in the Questar — to no avail! It was very far out and hazy, and when it would spout I could see it in my binos, but could not get the scope on it. It then dove and disappeared. It turned out to be a Sperm Whale. Barb saw enough details to add it to her list, but I never got a decent look at it, so no go. It did come up again much further out, but at that distance only the spray was visible. Oh well, maybe next time…

While at the Loran Station (which is the northern tip of the island) we saw lots of ravens! So when we got back to town, we talked to Lisa from the wildlife refuge. She said that the town passed an ordinance to stop feeding the ravens in town and cleaned up the trash dump so no loose trash was left unburned for scavengers. The ravens therefore have abandoned these once-lucrative feeding areas and are either simply dispersed more or the population has declined.

Our trip list stands at 49, with no weather changes predicted until Tuesday.