Friday, May 26, 2023

Temp in the 40s, mostly cloudy, occasional light drizzle, Wind NW 10-20 mph

Weather, May 26, 2023

Although I added five birds to my trip list today, none of them were speaking Russian — or Chinese or Lao or any other Asian language — unfortunately.

But it was an interesting day.

I did my standard Sweeper Cove and Channel check in the morning and was pleased to count 13 phalaropes in Phalarope Cove — a new high.

Here is a nice shot of one not in the water.

Red-necked Phalarope, Andrew Lake, May 26, 2023

I went by the Kuluk Drive feeder and saw one of the Hawfinches.

Hawfinch, Adak, May 26, 2023

I decided to spend some time at Andrew Lake watching the seed I threw out yesterday in hopes the Brambling/bunting flock would find it.

No luck on that score, but as I traversed the road along the lake, a flock of four geese plopped down right in front of me (You’ll hear more about plopping-down birds later).

They were three Cackling Geese and one Greater White-fronted Goose. The White-fronted was only my 4th sighting out here, so that was a good bird.

The Cacklings were also interesting as two of them had the traditional white neck band while the other one appeared slightly smaller and had no neck band. Two Aleutians and one non?

3 Cackling Geese (left) and a Greater White-fronted Goose, Lake Andrew, May 26, 2023

I mentioned the Caribou tracks yesterday. Well apparently one of them did not get past a hunter’s bullet. I found a fresh gut pile there.

Caribou gut pile, Andrew Lake, May 26, 2023

I also took a splendid photo of a Lapland Longspur — another abundant species on the island that I tend to overlook.

Lapland Longspur, Andrew Lake, May 26, 2023

On my first foray up to Clam Lagoon, I saw this nice pair of Marbled Murrelets. They are all paired up at this time.

Marbled Murrelets, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2023

I also thought this guy looked cute.

Sea Otter, Clam Lagoon, May 26, 2023

I went back to town for a pit stop and lunch and then went back up to Clam Lagoon.

Up til now, the visibility off the Seawall has been terrible. So there was no use trying a seawatch. But today was different. So I set myself up looking seaward, focused my scope just short of the horizon, and with 5 seconds had a Laysan Albatross and a Short-tailed Shearwater! I only spent about 20 minutes there, but ended up with 15 albatross, 1 shearwater, and a Gyrfalcon (hunting the bay).

Not bad…

Sam caught up to me just as I was finishing. I continued down the east shore of the lagoon to Candlestick Bridge. Sam arrived a few minutes later.

Sam and Steve walked down to the beach as I turned around to return around the lagoon.

Halfway up the flats, I spotted to shorebirds that had not been there when either I or Sam drove by a few minutes earlier. They were Bar-tailed Godwits. Two males. The one that had been seen this past week was a female.

As I was sitting there, a rain squall blew in. I waited it out and was rewarded with two Pacific Golden-Plovers. I have had other days like this where birds com down to the flats during rain squalls.

It was getting late (for me), so I decided I would go back to town, shower, have dinner and then come back up to see what other birds had fallen out of the sky!

I radioed Sam about the birds and left.

I ran into Rick’s crew on the way back and gave them the info.

On my way back up to the Lagoon, I stopped at the Airport Creek Bridge (I ALWAYS stop there!) and found my first Ruddy Turnstone for the trip.

I ran into Rick’s group again as they were leaving the lagoon. They said the godwits and plovers flew off shortly after the arrived to see them

I continued on anyway.

I finally arrived once again at the east shore flats.

No shorebirds.

But, once again, a rain squall cam through, and in the middle of it I saw to shorebirds plop down. They were the godwits! Then a few minutes later, three golden-plovers plopped down!

So I upped my Pacific Golden-Plover total for the day by one.

Unfortunately, no more strays showed up.

Obviously, birds are on the move. More coming tomorrow…

My Trip List is 66 (one shy of my May average)

Today’s eBird list can be seen at