Not NA rare, but Adak rare…
Temp in the 40s, overcast with some (very little) sun in the afternoon, rain and drizzle most of the day, Winds S 20-30.
The overnight storm brought a few birds today.
The weather conditions at the feeders today were not very conducive for observations, so we did not see any Hawfinch or Brambling today. There were still four Tufted Ducks at the Airport Ponds.
We headed north, and when we got to the Clam Lagoon South Lookout, we spotted a small shorebird scurrying out on the flats. Our first impression when viewed through the scope was a Western Sandpiper. But it was a little too far out to be sure. So Frank walked out to get a better look (ie. photos). It was a Western Sandpiper. Although we have seen Western Sandpipers on all of our September trips, this was our first spring record. And, in fact, Birds of the Aleutians cites only one other spring record for Adak !
We continued around Clam Lagoon and, near Candlestick Bridge, there was a large number of gulls feeding together. So far this trip, the tides (both high and low) have been very low, so the flats have not been replenished with sea life since we got here. Today the tide covered much of the flats, creating more feeding opportunities for the birdlife — as seen by this picture.
At the Seawall, we spotted three loons — two Pacific and an Arctic. We called JJ’s group (who we had just passed) and they came and saw them, as eventually did the other birding groups on the island as well. The Arctic was our first for this trip.
As we came back around to the western side of the lagoon, we ran into the group from Minnesota, who told us we just drove past a Red Phalarope! We hopped out of the car, looked behind us at the edge of the road and there was a Red Phalarope. We were so focused on the other group as we approached them that we weren’t looking for birds! This was a new bird for our overall Adak list, giving us a total of 140.
We headed to town, checked the feeders – still too windy – and went back up to Clam Lagoon. Everyone was there, having just walked out to see the Western Sandpiper. After they left, we stayed awhile to see what else might fall out of the sky. Unfortunately, the only bird of note was a lone Cackling Goose flying by.
Our trip list is 61.