Thursday, May 29, 2014


Temp in the 40s, overcast over town, sunny up at Clam Lagoon, 10-25 mph west wind.

Our trip ended with a whimper. No new birds, so the trip list is 61. However, the Tufted Duck at Lake Shirley reappeared. Four new birders arrived today for a four-day visit, so the Tufted Duck’s re-emergence was great news and they rushed off to Lake Shirley. We expect a report from them after their trip and I will add an epilogue to this blog when I get it.

Northern Shovelers are uncommon on Adak. We have had them on 5 out of 7 May trips, but always only 2 to 4 birds. So it is unusual that a pair was still here today.

Northern Shovelers, Sweeper Channel, May 29, 2014.

Northern Shovelers, Sweeper Channel, May 29, 2014.

We would rate this a “very good” trip, not a great one.

We added two new birds to our Adak list — Lesser Scaup and Tundra Swan (three, if you count Bewick’s Swan as a full species). We saw two new whales — Sperm and Hump-backed. The number of Tufted Ducks — at least 8 — was rewarding.

We haven’t seen a breeding-plumage Ruff in many years, so the black-and-rufous Ruff was a treat.

Best of all were the two Bristle-thighed Curlews, up-close-and-personal! Our previous experience with this species was very unsatisfying. This one was great!

Although the number of waterfowl (swans, geese, ducks, loons, and grebes) was a new record for us, the other categories were down. No falcons, no non-native passerines (even North American strays!), no Asian shorebirds — except the Ruff.

Species seen by other birders while we were there, but missed by us, include Gyrfalcon, Short-eared Owl, Horned Grebe, Surf Scoter, and a possible Common Merganser/Goosander.

I will update our trip list in a few days and it will be available under the Birding Adak link at my website (as well as general birding info on Adak)

We will be headed back in September.