With apologies to all…
Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, 15-30 SW wind
I took an early morning walk around town and had a flock of 8 Hawfinch and 1 Brambling and saw 4 Wood Sandpipers.
The Common Greenshank was seen earlier, but flew away and we did not see it when we went by. We were heading back home, when we saw the High Lonesome van. They were looking at the two Whimbrel. We saw them again later in the afternoon. They were more cooperative then.
At Contractor’s Camp Marsh, Frank walked across the marsh while the High Lonesome group walked a different section. They kicked up a Wilson’s Snipe, which Barb got a good look at. I kicked out a bunch of Wood Sandpipers. At the north end, only one Tundra Bean Goose was still present. The Ring-necked Duck had moved to the large pond at the west side of the marsh, and while looking for it, the Sitka crew spotted a male Smew! We all got to see it. In addition, a Red-necked Phalarope was seen — our first for this trip.
We continued up to Clam Lagoon. Out on the flats were two small shorebirds — a Dunlin and a smaller shorebird with a red head. Here, I must digress. Flashback to the 70s. A Red-necked Stint was reported from Jamaica Bay NWR. As it would be a lifer, we decided to try for it. We arrived and made our way to the dried-up pond where it had been reported. There were a number of other birders there. They started to go to the right, so — being a contrarian — we went to the left. We shortly found a small shorebird with a red head. We called to the other birders who ran up to our position. They set up there scopes and asked “Where in relation to the Sanderling?” Suffice it to say, we had only seen Sanderlings down the shore in winter and had never seen one in breeding plumage. Unfortunately, there were no rocks under which to hide…
Flash forward to May 2011. I am walking out the Clam Lagoon peninsula. I see a small shorebird with a red head. “Aha!” I say to myself, “I will not make THAT mistake again.” and promptly identify it as a Sanderling. That evening, back at the lodge, I downloaded the day’s photos, and as I perused the “sanderling” photos, realized it was a Red-necked Stint! (I think you can see where this is going…)
Well — today at Clam Lagoon, I trudged out to get a closer look — and photos — of the red-headed bird. The wind was howling and I could not hold my binos steady enough to get a good look, so I depended on my camera. When I got back to the car and looked at the photos on the camera, it looked like it had a thick black bill — indicative of Sanderling. Well — reviewing the photos tonight — guess what? It is a Red-necked Stint!
I will never learn.. but I do admit when I’m wrong.
Fortunately, the Sitka crew saw the bird — although at the time I put it in their heads that it was a Sanderling. The High Lonesome group was back in town packing.
At Shotgun Lake, lo and behold, the female Smew was back. We continued around Clam Lagoon. We saw the winter Black-headed Gull again and relocated the Black-tailed Godwit. This time he cooperated.
We stopped at the “Brambling feeder” near the marsh and saw 3 Bramblings!
We headed back to town and found these Dunlin along the way.
Back in town, we found a flock of 6 Hawfinch and two Bramblings. They just keep coming…
We headed to the airport to see the others off. The plane arrived late, but it arrived! It was a pleasure to meet the Sitka birders and we hate to see them go. They certainly picked the right year to come to Adak! We also will miss the group from High Lonesome — they were also fun to be around.
Our trip list is at an all-time high — 71.
What will tomorrow bring?