Nice way to start…
Our flights on Wednesday were uneventful. We got to Anchorage, got our shopping done and sacked out for a long needed sleep.
We birded around Anchorage this morning and added a few things to our Alaska lists.
First, on the road up to Arctic Valley, Barb spotted a flock of White-winged Crossbills — a new bird for our Alaska list.
Shortly thereafter, we came upon a black Bear. A first for us in Alaska.
And shortly after that, Barb spotted an Olive-sided Flycatcher. Another state bird for us! I did not get photos of the flycatcher, but it was nice to hear it call. (It is Barb’s phone ringtone…).
Farther up the slope a moose (one of three today) crossed the road in front of us.
We went to Potters Marsh, where we saw the usual suspects, but I caught this chickadee in an interesting pose.
On to Adak.
There are no tour groups here this week, but three birders (Victoria, Kitty, and Jen?) from Sitka arrived with us for their first trip to Adak. We suggested they follow us around on our first foray to show them some of the spots. We headed for the Airport Ponds in hope of getting a Tufted Duck for them, but as we neared the ponds, a small bird with striking features flew across the road in front of us. Barb quickly got on it and called Hawfinch! A lifer for all three of the girls! The bird stayed on the side of the road and was very cooperative.
Alas, no Tufted Duck.
We continued up towards Clam Lagoon. Just before where the road splits to go to the south side or west side of the lagoon, there is a small pond down to the left where we saw a duck fly in. We stopped to see what it was, but just as we did, it flew away. However, another duck flew in just as the other was departing. I looked at it and immediately identified it as a Smew! Another lifer for the Sitka crew!
After getting our fill of that bird, we continued around Clam Lagoon. There were three Bar-tailed Godwits on the flats and the usual assortment of waterfowl. We decided to check Shotgun Lake, and — low and behold — there was another Smew.
We drove as far as Lake Shirley, turned around and headed back to town to finish unpacking and get ready for tomorrow.
Not too bad…