Friday, May 22, 2015

Mr. Bumble, may I have some more?

The remnants of Typhoon Dolphin dumped loads of rain and lashed us with 50 mph winds — and gave us birds!

Today was partly sunny, 15-25 mph SW winds, occasional drizzle.

Sweeper Cove had more birds this morning, but nothing new. The Airport Ponds still had 4 Tufted Ducks. Just as we were entering Contractor’s Camp Marsh, we got a call from Sitka that they had a Common Greenshank at Sweeper Creek. We raced down there and got to see it, as did the High Lonesome group. This is at least the third record of this species on Sweeper Creek that we know of (and we are not counting the ones from Sweeper Channel).

Common Greenshank, Sweeper Creek, May 22, 2015

Common Greenshank, Sweeper Creek, May 22, 2015

The Sitka group also reported they had seen snipe (of undetermined species).

We headed back up to the marsh, found no new shorebirds, then checked on the Tundra Bean Goose. Well — he apparently liked it so much on Adak, he invited a couple of friends! There were now three Tundra Bean Geese. As can be seen in the picture, they all sport the diagnostic “grumpy” bill shape.

Tundra Bean Goose, Contractor's Camp Marsh, May 22, 2015

Tundra Bean Goose, Contractor’s Camp Marsh, May 22, 2015

We went to Clam Lagoon, but saw nothing new on the west side. At the north end, we spotted a winter-plumaged Black-headed Gull (We saw the breeding-plumaged one also, later in the day).

Black-headed Gull, Clam Lagoon, May 22, 2015

Black-headed Gull, Clam Lagoon, May 22, 2015

At the Seawall, Barb spotted a large loon that she thought was a Yellow-billed, but it disappeared (as birds are wont to do on Adak!), but later, the High Lonesome group confirmed a Yellow-billed Loon at the Seawall.

As we were heading down the east side, we got a call that there was a Black-tailed Godwit at the south lookout! We raced around the lagoon (boy, do we wish Candlestick bridge would be repaired!). Luckily, the bird was still there with a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits for easy comparison.

Black-tailed Godwit (left) with Bar-tailed Godwit, Clam Lagoon, May 22, 2015

Black-tailed Godwit (left) with Bar-tailed Godwit, Clam Lagoon, May 22, 2015

Although both Barb and I had seen the only Black-tailed Godwit in Pennsylvania, Barb got to see it the first day it was discovered standing in a wet area, while I only saw it as a fly-by two days later. So this bird was practically a lifer.

We birded around the lagoon some more and headed back to town for gas. As we were coming back from the gas station, just south of town, we saw two large shorebirds flying towards us. Barb quickly saw they had down-curved bills, so they were curlews of some sort. They disappeared over a bluff down to the airport runways. We put the call out and Sitka arrived shortly. We then walked over o the edge of the bluff and scanned the area for the birds. Two Whimbrel (of the Siberian race) flew out from below us and onto a runway. The white up their backs was easily seen as they flew.

"Siberian" Whimbrel, Airport, May 22, 2015

“Siberian” Whimbrel, Airport, May 22, 2015

We went back out after dinner and saw both Black-headed Gulls up at the lagoon.

As we drove back into town, we spotted one of the Hawfinches.

Our trip list is now 68 — just one shy of our record!

More, more, more!