Saturday, May 29, 2021

Final day

Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, Wind NNE 15-25 mph

The highlights of today were a Ruddy Turnstone (for the trip list) and the Eastern Spot-billed Duck which put in a brief appearance at Clam Lagoon.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Clam Lagoon, May 29, 2021

It had not been seen since it flew off on Wednesday afternoon! And that was with a lot of birders looking. We had stopped at the West Overlook and I noticed a funny-colored bird a hundred yards or so down the west edge of the lagoon, but couldn’t make it out looking through the windshield. Gabi quickly got the scope on it and exclaimed it was the duck!

After taking some very distant photos, I changed some camera settings to try for better, but when I looked back up, the duck was gone. Neither Gabi or I saw it leave, we both had looked away for a moment and — poof — gone.

Some new birders arrived on today’s flight, so I hope they get to see it.

The Whooper Swan was still on Haven Lake this morning, but we did not see the Hawfinch or cuckoo (not that they aren’t still there).

I had no incidents on the trip home, just long layovers in airports.

In spite of the rude interruption in the middle of the trip, I had a great experience.

I got two lifers — Willow Ptarmigan in Anchorage and Whooper Swan on Adak.

Added two-and-a-half birds to my Adak list — Whooper Swan, Black-bellied Plover, and Common Cuckoo. The cuckoo was the “half” because I had seen two cuckoos on previous trips. Both were immature birds in September and, although they were presumed to be Common, they were never definitive. This sighting confirmed the species for my list.

Added 4 birds to my Alaska list — Whooper Swan, Black-bellied Plover, Rufous Hummingbird, and Surfbird.

The trip list was 65 — 2 below average. Pretty good for missing half of the trip!

I will be back September 4th to the 18tth.

Come join me!