Saturday, June 4, 2022

Temp in the 40s, partly sunny, light NE wind

There were only 28 godwits here today. I only saw Bar-tailed.

After several days of little birdlife at the Seawall, today I found Pacific, Arctic, and Common loon!

But the best bird was a Crested Auklet. With the 60X scope, I could see the crest, orange bill, and dark gray belly, but it was a little too far for details with the camera. Although, you can see the crest.

Crested Auklet, Seawall, June 4, 2022

I have had immature Crested Auklets in the fall in Sweeper Cove, but this is the first one in breeding plumage that I have seen from shore.

This made the trip list 68, one more than average. Of course, each time I get more than average, I up the average!

You can see today’s list at

And the total Trip Report at

All of my flights left early, but I arrive without my checked luggage. This is the first time that has happened to my except for cancelled/re-booked flights.

The trip was a good one (it is only great when I get a lifer).

I I have never been on the island for two weeks without a single day of westerly winds! No W, no SW, no NW, no NNW, no SSW, etc.

Yet, we had some good birds in spite of the nice weather.

Semi-lifers included a female Black-tailed Godwit, black-backed variety of White Wagtail, and a spring Gray-tailed Tattler.

Birds of note included the Black-tailed Godwits, black-backed variety of White Wagtail, both Gray-tailed and Wandering tattler, up to 10 Bramblings, Pine Siskins, Crested Auklet, Tundra Swan, Barrow’s Goldeneye, all of the Short-eared Owl sightings, and Least Sandpiper.

And to top off the trip, another Short-eared Owl posed for my final photo of the trip.

Short-eared Owl, Clam Lagoon, June 4, 2022

I will be back on Adak September 17 to Oct 1, 2022.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Temp in the 40s, overcast til late afternoon, then partly sunny, rain til 9 am then again from noon to 5:30 pm, winds SE 5-10 mph

Try as I might, I couldn’t find one more bird to get me over my spring average of 67.

Maybe tomorrow.

Only 28 godwits today. All Bar-tailed.

A Brambling was at the Seal Drive feeder this evening.

Late Common Goldeneye and American Wigeon were the only waterfowl of interest.

This ptarmigan posed so nicely, I just had to include his pic.

Rock Ptarmigan, Adak, June 3, 2022

I fly out tomorrow at 3 PM and expect to get home late afternoon on Sunday.

My wrap-up trip post will be done Monday morning, eastern time.

Today’s list can be seen at

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Temp in the 40s. partly sunny in the AM, overcast in the PM, Wind light East

I designated this to be my “slow” day.

I would drive 5 mph instead of 15, and linger longer at each stop. Just to see if it made any difference.

No so much…


Being here only in May and September slants my impression of Adak’s birdlife.

When I arrived a week-and-a-half ago, I was excited (maybe that’s too strong a word) about there being 4 Pine Siskins here.

Well, I just learned from Lisa (the refuge manager here) that flocks of Pine Siskins have been wintering regularly on Adak for a number of years now! But they usually depart before birders start arriving in May.

So siskins on Adak aren’t rare, just the timing.

And there are both males and females here. At least one has set up territory over at the High School Spruces.

So we may be adding a new breeding bird to the island.

Two were still visiting my feeder today.

I found the Tufted Duck today, after missing it yesterday. Here is a nice comparison shot with a Greater Scaup. You can figure out which is which…

Tufted Duck and Greater Scaup, Airport Ponds, June 2, 2022

The godwits are all still here. They were on Clam Lagoon this morning and Palisades Beach in the afternoon.

There is a pond just across the road from the West Lookout at Clam Lagoon.

This morning, there was one of the Common Mergansers there.

Common Merganser, near Clam Lagoon, June 2, 2022

When I came by this afternoon, a female Greater Scaup unexpectedly allowed me to get its photo.

Greater Scaup, near Clam Lagoon, June 2, 2022

Most of the waterfowl up here fly when you get within 100 yards. They are so pursued by hunters all winter that they are REALLY jumpy!

Also, pretty much all of the scaup are paired up now. So this lone female out on the Clam Lagoon flats caught my eye at first. It then flew over to this pond where I got the photo.

Three Buffleheads on Shotgun Lake are a bit late.

The Mount Sitkin volcano (30 miles east of Adak) has been active the past couple of years. It is now building a new lava dome (the black area), as can be seen in these comparison photos.

Mount Sitkin, May 22, 2016
Mount Sitkin, June 2, 2022

The trip list is stuck on 67.

Today’s total list can be seen at

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Now this is more like Adak weather…

Temp in the 40s, rain all day, Wind ESE 15-30 mph

It poured all night, and kept raining today. There were very brief moments of respite, with emphasis on brief!

I didn’t take a single photo today.

There were 34 Bar-tailed Godwits and two Black-tailed still here

At least two Pine Siskins remain.

The only bird I added for the trip was a Gyrfalcon up at Clam Lagoon.

Here is a nice tern photo from a few days ago.

Aleutian Tern, Clam Lagoon, May 25, 2022

The gang of five left today, so I will be the lone birder on the island for the remainder of my trip (I leave on Saturday).

They were very pleased with their trip. At least one of them got 30 lifers!

Five happy Godwit-watchers at Clam Lagoon (from left to right – Steve, Bo, Dave, David, & Tammy)

The trip list is now 67, which is average for my May trips. Two-and-a-half days to go.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The weather is a-changin…

Temp in the 40s, overcast, rain starting around 6 pm, Wind SE 10-20 mph

It is feeling more like Adak again. Rain and wind and cold.

Unfortunately, the wind is still going to be easterly for the rest of my stay here.

However, the worsening weather might still blow in some interesting birds.

The Tufted Duck is still on the Airport Ponds.

And the godwits are all still here.

I spoke too soon about the Bramblings having left, I found one this morning.

Brambling, near Seal Drive Feeder, May 31, 2022

And at least two siskins are still here.

There were two late Common Goldeneyes on Lake Shirley, and the other guys had a flock of Aleutian Cackling Geese fly over.

No other birds stood out as new.

Speaking of bird seed…

Some earlier group had brought bird seed out that had a lot of red millet in it. It is still on the feeders. Not even the rats or ravens will eat it!

If you are thinking about a trip to Adak, PLEASE don’t bring seed with Red millet in it!

The trip list remains at 66.

Today’s totals van be viewed at

Monday, May 30, 2022

A good day, but frustrating…

Temp in the 40s, overcast with a few rays of sunshine late in the day, Winds light, East

Two Pine Siskins continue to visit my feeder and there is another one over at the High School Spruces.

No Bramblings have been seen for two days.

On my usual morning route, I stopped at the Airport Ponds and there was the Tufted Duck! This is where he truly belongs. I should have named these ponds Tufted Duck Ponds, because I have seen more here than anywhere else!

Tufted Duck, Airport Ponds, May 30, 2022

I then decided to go up to where the other guys had the Wandering Tattler two days ago in hopes of adding it to my trip list. I planned to walk the northwest shoreline of Clam Lagoon. I got there and started walking. After about a third of a mile, I found it!

Wandering Tattler, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2022
Wandering Tattler, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2022
Wandering Tattler, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2022

This is the first time that I have had both Tattler species on the same trip.

As I continued my way back down the lagoon, a Marbled Murrelet came closer than usual.

Marbled Murrelet, Clam Lagoon, May 30, 2022

And here is the Annual Mandatory Eagle Head Shot!

Bald Eagle, Seawall, May 30, 2022

The other guys went out on a boat trip today and had all of the auklets and a bunch of other stuff. I met them upon their return and told them about the Tufted Duck. Although not a lifer for any of them, it was an Alaska bird for them. So we went over and got it.

They then went home to lunch and I headed back up to Clam Lagoon (I had only done the west shore this morning).

When I got to the south shore, I spied the godwit flock in the same place as yesterday. I did a quick count and it was the same.

I continued around the lagoon, eventually to Candlestick Bridge, turned around and proceeded on the loop back.

I stopped a few hundred yards north of the bridge and scanned the flats. There, I saw a flock of seven godwits (which had not been there a few minutes before when I scanned it on the way to the bridge).

My first thought was “Where are your buddies?” I scanned for more, but could not find them.

More interesting is that two of these godwits were noticeable smaller than the others!


They were closer to the west shore and the lagoon channels made it impossible for me to get close from this side and the heat waves were too bad for a photo, so I chose to race around to the other side and approach them from there.

I got back around to the South Lookout in about ten minutes. Not bad without breaking an axle! The road around Clam Lagoon is not in very good shape…

When I scanned, the flock of 35 godwits was right where I saw them an hour earlier and the two Black-tailed were back in the southwest corner feeding where they originally had been found.

But no sign of the seven.

I decided to walk out the flats anyway, just in case they flew back in. No luck.

After spending some time there checking the previous flock (and recounting it), I decided to go back around to the east shore again in case the seven had flown down towards Candlestick Bridge and out of sight from where I was now.

No luck.

I waited and waited and scanned and scanned, to no avail.

I am confident that they were probably two Hudsonian Godwits and five Bar-taileds, but I will never know for sure.

Just another “one that got away.” I’ve had a lot of those out here.

The Trip list is 66.

Today’s list can be seen at

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Temp in the 40s, overcast, wind light ENE

I did not see a Brambling today. They may have finally moved on.

But there are still at least two Pine Siskins coming to my feeder.

The other guys told me they had a Wandering Tattler last evening up at Clam Lagoon, so I headed straight up there this morning in hopes it was still hanging around.

However, when I got to the lagoon and did a quick scan before heading up to where the had the tattler, I found a flock of 34 Bar-tailed Godwits (plus the 2 Black-tails)!

So I headed back to town to alert them (it was a lifer for some of them) and they soon joined me up there and reveled in the new birds.

Godwits, Clam Lagoon, May 29, 2022
Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Clam Lagoon, May 29, 2022

We then proceeded around the lagoon, but could not find the tattler.

We got to the Seawall, scanned a while, then moved farther along to scan some more.

As we got out of the car, a tattler called and flew back up the Seawall a little bit.

It turned out to be a Gray-tailed! This is the first one I have seen in May. Up til now, all spring birds were Wanderings and all fall birds were Gray-tailed.

Gray-tailed Tattler, Seawall, May 29, 2022
Gray-tailed Tattler, Seawall, May 29, 2022

Better birders than I confirmed that today’s bird is a Gray-tailed, while yesterday’s was a Wandering!

After Clam Lagoon, the group went out to the Loran Station and I headed elsewhere.

I found the errant Tundra Swan on Palisades Lake.

Tundra Swan, Palisades Lake, May 29, 2022

And down on Navfac Beach, I found a lone Bar-tailed Godwit.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Navfac Beach, May 29, 2022

The Trip List is 64.

Today’s list can be seen at

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Temp 49, overcast, wind 5-10 mph ENE

Still in the doldrums, weather-wise.

No new birds today, but a fun day nonetheless.

The Black-tailed Godwits and two Bar-tailed Godwits were on Clam Lagoon this morning.

And the Tundra Swan, Common Mergansers, Bramblings, and Pine Siskins lingered.

The flight arrived at 2 PM and Sam and Bob departed and Dave and Dave and Steve and Bo and Tammy arrived!

After they quickly unpacked the birding necessities, I took them up to Clam Lagoon for the Black-tailed Godwits, which would be lifers for all of them.

The birds cooperated and they all got great photos.

They told me they were interested in the wagtail, Short-eared Owl, and Common Snipe.

So I decided to at least show them where these birds were being seen, so they could try for them over the next few days.

We went down to Contractors Camp Marsh, and as we pulled up to the White Building, there was the wagtail perched on the roof! Unfortunately, it flew down behind the building and we could not relocate it.

While we were there, snipe were calling. I’ve had both Wilson’s and Common there this trip, so I don’t know which ones they were. I can only identify them by sight.

So at least they will know where to look tomorrow.

As we were leaving that area, a Short-eared Owl popped up and perched and then flew around to the delight of all. It as a lifer for at least one of the group.

We then went over to the Landing Lights, and as we were walking out, there was the wagtail on the beach! Again, everyone got photos. I’m not sure how many this was a lifer for.

On the jetty, were a flock of Rock Sandpipers (another lifer for one of them).

We then headed into town so I could show them the feeder where the Bramblings and Siskins were coming to.

As we pulled up, there were a couple of Bramblings!

What a start to their trip!

In all of these cases, I hung back to let them get photos, so I took none today.

However, my feeder-cam was busy all day and captured this.

Brambling (rear) and Pine Siskin, My feeder, May 28, 2022

A shout out to Gabi, who suggested I put a feeder-cam up. Thanks Gabi!

Today’s trip list can be seen at

Friday, May 27, 2022

Temp 50 (again!), partly sunny, Occasional very light spritzle, Wind ENE 5-10 mph

Still caught in the doldrums.

The weather systems in the Bering Sea are basically stationary.

Nice weather for those who live here, bad for birders…

All three godwits remain. This morning the Black-tailed were sleeping out on the flats on one leg each. Unlike the previous couple of days, they were still in the southwest corner of Clam Lagoon this afternoon.

The White Wagtail was seen again today (not by me).

While coming back around the northeast corner of Clam Lagoon, another Short-eared Owl flushed from the side of the road.

Just to be clear. SEOs are not rare out here — in fact they breed here. You just have to be in the right place and time to see one. Of those 22 other trips when we did not see one, many other birders on the island at the time did.

I decided to go out to the Loran Station. I have never had much luck out there scanning for pelagics, but I go out there at least once a trip, just because…

I did manage to see some way-out shearwaters and one Laysan Albatross, but nothing I couldn’t have seen from the Seawall.

One good bird I had there was a Pacific Wren — new for the trip.

Here is another common bird photo.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Adak, May 27, 2022

And another…

Common Teal, Adak, May 27, 2022

Sam alerted me to an American Wigeon pair out at Lake Andrew.

American Wigeon, Lake Andrew, May 27, 2022

95% of the wigeon out here are Eurasian, but we usually get a couple of Americans each spring.

My feeder-cam came through, with shots of all four siskins today.

4 Pine Siskins and 1 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, My Feeder, May 27, 2022
4 Pine Siskins and 1 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, My Feeder, May 27, 2022

And I saw a Brambling at my feeder this evening.

One nice thing about here is the gas price. Unlike the rest of the country, the price is only up 22 cents since last year. It helps that they only get gas deliveries once or twice a year.

The trip list is 62.

Today’s list can be seen at

Sam and Bob are leaving tomorrow and 4 new birders are arriving.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Temp 50!, overcast, occasional very light drizzle, Wind NE 5-15 mph

I forgot to mention a pair of Thick-billed Murres I had yesterday at Sweeper Cove.

Thick-billed Murre, Sweeper Cove, May 25, 2022

After checking the feeders and Sweeper Cove, I decided to head up to Clam Lagoon, as low tide is in the morning right now.

As I drove by the airport, a Short-eared Owl flew by.

Short-eared Owl, Adak Airport, May 26, 2022

Having seen these owls on only 5 of my 27 trips out here, it has been a treat seeing three on one trip!

At Clam Lagoon, I found the three godwits were still here (2 Black-tailed, 1 Bar-tailed).

Black-tailed Godwits, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2022
Black-tailed Godwits, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2022
Black-tailed Godwits, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2022

The 5 Common Mergansers were on Hidden Lake this morning (Common Mergansers are uncommon out here).

Its been a while since I posted a chick-pic, so here it is…

Rock Ptarmigan, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2022

At the north end of Clam Lagoon, I found 2 Ruddy Turnstones.

On the way back to town, I found this Song Sparrow overlooking the Palisades…

Aleutian Song Sparrow, Palisades Overlook, May 26, 2022

At the Seal Drive feeder, I had 4 Bramblings. I have not seen very many the past couple of days. I am wondering if some of them moved on or I just have bad timing.

Brambling. Seal Drive Feeder, May 26, 2022

At the Sandy Cove Bluffs feeder, a pair of Snow Buntings were feeding.

Snow Bunting, Sandy Cove Bluffs Feeder, May 26, 2022

Since I’ve been here, other birders reported seeing 4 Pine Siskins, but all I ever saw at one time was 2.

Well, this evening, I looked out at my feeder (yes, I have a feeder in the back yard of my townhouse) and beside the ever-present Rosy-Finch was a siskin. Then two, Then four!

Unfortunately, the battery on my feeder-cam had died by that late in the day, so I got no videos.

This is the first year I have a feeder cam, so I am learning its limitations. Today, it took 218 video clips before the battery ran out around 3 PM. I have it plugged into a spare battery pack, but even that was not enough for the whole day. Next year I will get a larger battery pack.

I did get a photo of three of them with my Canon, but they were through two panes of glass, so they are not great.

Three Pine Siskins and a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Adak, May 26, 2022

I hope, now that the siskins have found this feeder, that they will visit earlier in the day and be captured on video.

The trip List is at 60.

Today’s total list can be seen at

I just found out that there will be 4 more birders arriving on Saturday, so I won’t be the only birder on the island next week.