Temp in the 50s, mostly cloudy, occasional rain/drizzle, Wind NW 10-15 mph
Kuluk Bay off Sweeper Cove was like a sheet of glass this morning — a strong contrast to the rough seas since we arrived. There were a lot of birds (but most far out), including still a few shearwaters.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches and Song Sparrows have found our various feeders, so activity is picking up — just waiting for an Asian passerine to stop by.
We headed up to Contractors Camp Marsh, where I walked a portion of it while Barb drove around. We flushed many Pectoral/Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and at least one Snipe (Wilson’s until proven otherwise).
As I was out walking, Barb found two Long-billed Dowitchers.
Long-billed Dowitchers, Contractors Camp Marsh, September 14, 2016
We then checked Warbler Willows — no luck — and headed to Adak National forest to stop for lunch and see if any funny-looking birds might pop out of the trees. No funny-looking ones did, but a curious Song Sparrow had to check out our truck.
Song Sparrow on hood of truck, Adak National Forest, September 14, 2016
There are a lot of young Song Sparrows (and young every other species) around this time of year, but the young Song Sparrows always seem extra curious and tame.
The Red Knot is still out on the Clam Lagoon Peninsula.
At the East Side Ponds, a pair of Pacific Golden-Plovers few in front of us and landed on an island in the middle.
Pacific Golden-Plover, East Side Ponds, September 14, 2016
The water was relatively calm at the Seawall and we saw 7 Red-necked Grebes and 5 Horned Grebes — no loons today. There were 5 Black Oystercatchers on Goose Rocks. Only a few shearwaters were seen passing by.
At Candlestick Bridge, we saw the back and dorsal fin of a cetacean. It showed that much of itself three times (one second each) and then disappeared. This has been our experience with most whales and dolphins up here. They do not linger and certainly don’t stay at the surface for more than a second. All of those videos that you see on television nature specials, where the whales or dolphins are swimming along the surface, frequently breeching, etc…. ALL LIES!
Back at the Seawall, we found a lone Western Sandpiper.
Western Sandpiper, Seawall, September 14, 2016
We returned to Contractors Camp Marsh to look for more shorebirds. In the area where we had the dowitchers, there was a flock of Common Teal and Northern Pintails. The pintails were stretching up there necks and picking off bugs. I wanted to get a photo of that behavior, but by the time I got into position, they decided to tuck their heads in and take a post-prandial nap!
We saw more Pectorals, etc., but no new species.
We did a late-afternoon check of Sweeper Cove and were surprised by a flock of 18 Cackling Geese flying over. Although not rare, this is only the second of our nine September trips that we have seen them (we almost always get them on our May trips).
Our triplist is 48.