Friday, May 19, 2023

Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, wind N 5 mph

Weather, May 19, 2023

We decided to go down to Finger Bay/Creek this morning.

There were a lot more birds in Sweeper Cove this morning and, as we drove up the south side of the cove, we spotted a couple flocks of ducks which Amanda scoped.

She quickly picked out two Tufted Ducks with a flock of Greater Scaup.

Tufted Ducks (top 2 birds) with Greater Scaup, Sweeper Cove, May 19, 2023

We had been looking for these guys for three days. The flock apparently moves around a lot. They had been seen at the Airport Ponds, Lake Andrew, Contractors Marsh, etc.

At the North Quarry, we got a pair of Pacific Wrens.

Pacific Wren, North Quarry, May 19, 2023

Up at the South Quarry, we got a pair of Snow Buntings.

We didn’t see anything new down at the Finger Bay area.

We then headed up to Contractors Marsh, where we had several Common and Wilson’s snipe calling and flying.

As we turned to leave, a Short-eared Owl flew by. It headed over towards the Thrush Feeder and caught something nearby. It then landed in the field across from the feeder and devoured it.

Later on, I went over to the spot where it was eating it, but found no fur or feathers. As we watched it eating, it appeared to be eating it piece-by-piece, rather than swallowing it whole like owls usually do. So I was surprised not to find any evidence of the prey (the location was easy to find, as it was on a little tussock which stood out from the surrounding vegetation).

Short-eared Owl, Contractors Marsh, May 19, 2023

Amanda was scheduled to go out on the Whiskered Auklet boat trip later in the afternoon, so I took her back to the house where she got in her own car and was going to bird around town until the boat was ready to go.

I went over to the Kuluk Drive feeder to try for the Hawfinch and was rewarded as soon as I stopped.

Hawfinch, Kuluk Drive, May 19, 2023

I then headed back up to the Marsh and did the above-mentioned owl-prey search.

I drove north and had just stopped at the Palisades Overlook, when I got a radio call from Amanda saying she had a Brambling at the Rock Feeder.

So I raced back to town and, after a 35-minute wait, saw the Brambling.

Brambling, Sandy Cove Rock Feeder, May 19, 2023

Then it was back north.

At Clam Lagoon, I added Common Goldeye and 2 Parasitic Jaegers to the trip list. And at the Seawall, there was a flock of 85 White-winged Scoters. Unfortunately, they were too far out to determine if any were Stejneger’s.

Also, at the Seawall, I had two Pacific Loons.

Pacific Loon, Seawall, May 19, 2023

There were a couple more Common Goldeneye at Lake Shirley.

As I came back around the lagoon and stopped at the West Lookout, I looked up to see 3 Caribou running across the lagoon!

The Caribou out here stay away from the north end of the island except in winter, so it was totally unexpected. My landlord, Steve, didn’t believe me until I showed him the pics.

Caribou, Clam Lagoon, May 19, 2023

They ran across the lagoon (heading west), crossed the road and burst up the hillside and disappeared.

Caribou, Clam Lagoon, May 19, 2023

This was only the second time I had seen Caribou in all of our trips out here.

I topped off the day’s list with 5 Aleutian Cackling Geese which flew over as I was standing in the driveway telling Steve about the Caribou!

The trip list is 45.

Amanda and the High Lonesome BIrd Tour group leave tomorrow and a few new birders will be arriving.

Today’s eBird list can be seen at