Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Temp in the 40s, mostly sunny, wind NW 5-15 mph

A day of disappearing birds…

Adak Weather, Sept 28, 2022

It was cold enough last night for Mount Moffet to get its first snow dusting of the season.

Mount Moffet, Sept 28, 2022

It was all melted off by late afternoon.

I checked the High School Spruces several times today. No thrush sighting.

Between the High School Spruces and the High School Willows, there is a lone large spruce tree.

I scan it every time I pass by and have never seen a single bird there. Not even a longspur.

Well this morning I pulled up started to scan it and out popped a bird!

It was too far to identify with binos, so (not thinking) I grabbed my window mount scope and zeroed in on it. As soon as I did, it flew away!

If I had grabbed my camera instead, I would have had a chance to click off one or two pics. Distant, but probably identifiable.

I searched all of the nearby willows and spruces to no avail. I have no idea what the bird was. It was light underneath. That is all I got before it flew. Disappear #1.

On the past two mornings, while scanning Kuluk Bay for seabirds, I have spotted the Gyrfalcon hunting over the water (presumably for waterfowl and alcids). I have seen this behavior on previous trips.

At Contractors Camp Marsh, I spotted a Peregrine Falcon cruising by. But this one was an adult (unlike the juvenile I had been seeing the past week).

But by the time I jumped out of the car to get a photo, it had disappeared. Disappear #2.

After checking all of the willows, spruces, and feeders, I headed up to Clam Lagoon.

The Peninsula had no shorebirds, so I walked the Marsh Edge.

I only had Pectoral and Sharp-tailed sandpipers today. No dowitchers.

Pectoral Sandpipers, Clam Lagoon, Sept 28, 2022

But I also saw the adult Peregrine again. This time for a photo.

Peregrine Falcon, Clam Lagoon, Sept 28, 2022

Over at the Seawall there was a feeding frenzy of gulls and murres going on. With them was a Pacific Loon.

Pacific Loon, Seawall, Sept 28, 2022

By the way, the Arctic Loon that I reported a few days ago was a Common. For some reason up here, Common Loons look smaller to me and the bills look smaller as well. Once I have that in my brain, then it is a choice between Pacific and Arctic. I have to judge loon size better…

When I stopped by the Adak National Forest, just after I stopped, a small bird flew onto one of the top branches. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again! So I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car — as the bird flew away.

Disappear #3

When I stopped to see Lisa (the Refuge Manager), she asked if I had seen any recent dead birds or sickly-looking ones.

The eagle population on Adak has crashed. Down at Finger Creek, during the salmon run (right now), there should be dozens of eagles. I remember one year that Barb counted 59!

This year there are none.

And the number of eagles I am seeing elsewhere is in the single digits.

They suspect bird flu, but have not yet proven it. They are looking for freshly dead birds to analyze.


My trip list is 55.

My eBird list is at