Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Temp in the 50s, mostly cloudy, rain starting after 8 pm, winds light and variable.

Another interesting day.

First, the stint from yesterday has been confirmed as a Red-necked.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that my stint identification skills ain’t!

At best my odds of getting an ID correct are 50/50 (and that’s being kind).

But as long as I have a camera and friends who have much better shorebird identification skills, the correct ID will eventually be made.

While Tennessee headed down to Finger Bay, I checked out all of the vagrant passerine habitat (spruces and willows) as I worked my way north.

Still no vagrant dickey birds…

All of the action today centered on Clam Lagoon (really?).

I walked out the peninsula and had a flock of ten peeps. It looked like 2 Red-necked Stints and eight Western Sandpipers. I took a bunch of photos to confirm my first impression later. Note: I don’t carry a scope on these forays — relying on my camera, instead. So any preliminary ID is through binos and viewing the photos on my camera’s screen.

Later this morning, when Tennessee got back within radio range, I alerted them to the birds. They had arrived at Clam Lagoon and the gals were walking the marsh edge, while the guys drove the truck up to the peninsula to start from that end.

They told me they had just flushed a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, so I headed their way and joined the walk.

Earlier, after walking the peninsula, I had walked the marsh edge, but didn’t find any shorebirds. However, a Peregrine flew over.

Peregrine Falcon, Clam Lagoon, September 7, 2021.

A quick note about Clam Lagoon marsh edge walking…

The ideal way to do it is to have at least two birders. One walks along the edge and the other walks through the reeds. This way, any birds on the edge can be spotted by the edger and any birds hiding in the reeds can be flushed by the reeder.

Obviously, when I am alone, I have to make a choice. I prefer walking the edge, as there is then a better chance of actually seeing the birds on the ground — rather than just flying away — and it also allows me to take a wide berth around any birds I do find so as not to flush them.

The sharp-tail and Ruff were both reed birds today — hence I didn’t see them on my pass by.

But I saw them now.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Clam Lagoon, September 7, 2021.
Ruff, Clam Lagoon, September 7, 2021.

I returned to my car while the others headed out to the peninsula to look at the peeps.

When I came by later, they said they had a dozen birds out there and were working on the ids. This evening they report one Red-necked Stint and the rest were Westerns.

When I got back to the house and downloaded my photos, I discovered that one of my “Red-necks” was a Least Sandpiper! I have seen them three times on Adak before, but always in May. I know of nine other records for Adak — all in May. So this is probably the first fall record for Adak.

Least Sandpiper, Clam Lagoon, September 7, 2021.

As for the stint(s), I’m still working on it. There was definitely one Red-necked, but there may have been two.

Less-exciting birds today included more Cackling Geese flying over, more Short-tailed Shearwaters hanging around, and 30 Rock Sandpipers down at Sweeper Channel,

My trip list is up to 42.