Not a lifer, but close…
Temp in the 40s, overcast, occasional very light drizzle, Wind light SSE
No sign of the Hawfinch today, but the other birders were looking again as I write this. No Tufted Ducks today.
At Sweeper Cove, Ancient Murrelets are often easy to see and pose for photos (These are the kind of birds we like — easy to identify!).
We found nothing new on Sweeper Creek, so we headed up to Clam Lagoon. At the viewpoint of Kuluk Bay near the Navdac Creek, we finally added Horned Grebe to our trip list. We were worried that this would be our first May trip without one.
We didn’t see anything new on the Clam Lagoon flats, so I decided to walk out the peninsula.
Just a short way out, a small shorebird flushed in front of me and flew back behind me, between me and Barb, who was watching from the truck. I could quickly see that it was a “peep”, had light legs, and was not a Least Sandpiper. This left two possibilities — Long-toed Stint and Temminck’s Stint. Since we needed Long-toed, we tried to make it into one. However, no matter how we tried to fit a square peg into a round hole, we couldn’t. Paul and Don arrived shortly, and later Bill and Chris. Chris, having spent some time in China, confidently identified it as a Temminck’s — of which he had seen plenty.
So — not a lifer, but since the only other one we had previously seen was in classic fall juvenile plumage — all gray — this was a semi-lifer for us.
By the way, the Red Phalarope was still there, also.
We continued around Clam Lagoon. At the East Ponds (next to the Seawall), a Common eider posed nicely.
At the Seawall, there were four Pacific Loons today (Paul and Don counted at least 8), but no Arctic Loon.
There were the usual assortment of scaup and mergansers on Lake Shirley, as well as this Mallard shepherding her flock.
Speaking of shepherding her flock, a few days after we arrived, there was a Northern Pintail with seven ducklings in the pond across from the Clam Lagoon West Lookout. Each day as we went by, the number dwindled until today when there were none. By the way, I posted a photo of probably this same female with young on my blog back on May 17, 2013.
As I was writing this, Chris called to tell us he saw a small gull on Clam Lagoon that could have been a Bonaparte’s or Black-headed. Although we have Black-headed on our Adak list, we don’t have it yet for this trip, and Bonaparte’s would be a new Adak bird for us.
So we headed back up there. When we got there Paul and Don were already looking at it with their scopes — it was a long way out. It was a Black-headed in winter plumage. We had one like this last year. The distance was too far and the lighting so poor that we decided to try tomorrow for photos — if it sticks around.
That brings this trip list to 64. One above average.
A day-and-half to go…