Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Temp in the 50s, mostly cloudy, occasional light shower, Wind South 15-20 mph.

Here is the chick-pic for the trip…

Rock Ptarmigan, Adak, September 21, 2022

The Tufted Duck is still here (not surprised…).

On the walk out the Clam Lagoon Peninsula, I found this octopus.

Octopus, Clam Lagoon, September 21, 2022

I picked up Black Oystercatcher and White-winged Scoter at the Seawall.

The Pectoral Sandpiper that I had there yesterday was at the same spot today.

A Red-faced Cormorant came close enough for a photo.

Red-faced Cormorant, Seawall, September 21, 2022

I had a bit of excitement at Janet’s Cove (on the Seawall) today.

I had just pulled in when I heard a loud call with which I was unfamiliar (There are a lot of calls in that category!).

So I pulled out my phone, and set Merlin to record. For those of you who may not know what Merlin is, it is an app from Cornell that records bird calls and tries to identify them (mostly successfully).

As soon as it recorded this mystery call, it flashed on the screen “Common Ringed Plover!!!” (without the exclamation points)

A very rare bird in the Aleutians There is one record for Adak and one was seen on St.Paul a few weeks ago.

So I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car and worked my way down towards the beach. Not only couldn’t I find a plover, there were no shorebirds at all.

The bird was still calling out in front of me, but I had gotten to the edge of the beach and the only birds in front of me were a couple of Common Murres — an adult and a young-un.

I could not tell if they were making the sounds. I heard the typical ‘grunt/moan’ call several times, but never saw either bird open its beak to make any sound.

Nevertheless, the only answer was the murres.

The apps on my phone just had the standard murre calls, nothing like what I heard.

When I got back to the house, I went to eBird and brought up Common Murre recordings.

I finally found one whose sonogram looked similar to the Merlin recording.

It was a juvenile Common Murre!

I assume it is some kind of begging call.

This reminds me of last year when I was walking along a wooded trail near home and turned on Merlin to see what I was missing and it brought up White-winged Scoter!

Merlin is terrific, but you have to confirm visually what is making the call.

So, a learning experience, rather than a mega-bird…

Later on, I decided to take a drive up to White Alice. I hadn’t seen any Snow Buntings yet and that is a good place to get them.

No luck on the buntings, but on a pond just before White Alice, I found three Greater Scaup — two adults and one somewhat-downy young. It must have been a very late nesting.

Downy Greater Scaup with two adults. It must have been a very late nesting.

Just a side note. I have had Mallards and Northern Pintails with young in May up here.

The trip list is 43.

My eBird list can be seen at