Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We don’t want to leave!

Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, occasional spritzle, SSE 15-20 mph winds

As usual, we checked the feeders first thing and the Seal Drive feeder had both a Hawfinch and a Brambling.

Brambling, Seal Drive Feeder, May 27, 2015

Brambling, Seal Drive Feeder, May 27, 2015

We went up to Clam Lagoon, and the Black-tailed Godwit was still present, but no other shorebirds. At Shotgun Lake, the female Smew was still there along with two Tufted Ducks.

Tufted Duck and Greater Scaup, Shotgun Lake, May 27, 2015

Tufted Ducks, Shotgun Lake, May 27, 2015

There was nothing new on the Seawall, Lake Shirley, or down to Candlestick Bridge. As we were coming back past Lake Shirley, a small to medium-sized falcon zipped by — too fast for us to make an identification. It disappeared towards Clam Lagoon. We turned around and searched for it, but no luck.

Back at the Seawall, Frank scanned the horizon and spotted several Laysan Albatross going by. Several were within binocular-range! We turned the car around so Barb could scan, and she not only saw the albatrosses, but also hundreds of Short-tailed Shearwaters. One of the albatrosses came in just beyond Cormorant Rocks, but flew back out to sea too quickly for me to get a photo. It is always a delight to watch pelagics with our feet planted on terra firma, instead of rocking in a boat!

We stopped at Palisades Overlook to scan Kuluk Bay. A falcon flew over and we quickly got on it, as it did not look like one of the Gyrs. It was a Peregrine — our first May bird since 2012.

We continued around the lagoon with no surprises. Heading back towards town, we decided to check the Brambling Feeder — even though the ravens had been feasting there. We pulled into the fenced-in area and saw a Brambling, several Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, and a Hawfinch. Several of the Rosy-Finches flew over to a window with a lattice-grill on it and flew inside. One popped back out, and then another bird popped out that was not a Rosy-Finch. It was an Eye-browed Thrush!

Our experience with his species on Adak was poor. In September 2007, we had spotted a bird hiding in one of the spruces at the Blue Building Feeder. We called the other birders that were there at the time (John Pushock was leading a group). We waited for them to arrive before trying to get a look at the bird. John arrived and, viewing from his van, saw the bird emerge on the other side of the tree from us. Barb got a brief view of the bird before it flew off and I never saw more than a partial silhouette in the tree. It was an Eye-browed Thrush. It was never relocated. Barb had just a good enough look (but not very satisfying) to put it on her list, but I did not.

Today’s bird was much more cooperative.

Eye-browed Thrush, Near Navfac, May 27, 2015

Eye-browed Thrush, Near Navfac, May 27, 2015

We went into town, took a short break and went back out. We saw more Hawfinches and a Brambling. We went up to Airport Ponds and found two pair of Tufted Duck again. In one of the far ponds, there was a Mallard-sized (and shaped) bird with two mergansers. From this distance, it looked all dark, like a Black Duck, but with no contrast between the head and body. We saw it dive once. We drove around to the escarpment to get a closer look, but it flushed when it saw me crest the edge. It flew over to the main pond, but was gone when we drove back over there! We will search for it again tomorrow. We have no idea what it was.

Our trip list is at an astonishing 76!

We leave tomorrow evening. We don’t want to go!