Today was a very rainy day on Adak. And not the normal light rain and mist the Aleutians are famous for. This was a real downpour. So I kept busy by baking some bread and custards and basically was Mr. domestic most of the day. Finally around 5pm I got this feeling that I really needed to run down to Clam Lagoon and check to see if any Southbound shorebirds were coming though. As I started the drive to the Lagoon it was still raining and I was thinking this is dumb because I’m not going to be able to see anything. Right as I pulled up to the Lagoon the rain had changed to a heavy mist so I figured I would give the mudflats a shot and headed out with my camera and binos tucked into my jacket. With my head down scanning the flats I wasn’t really looking up that much but I did notice that a large gull was now circling me. Not unusual since the Lagoon has hundreds of Glaucous-winged Gulls hanging out. But then it flared and I saw something I had been waiting to see for quite some time. A jet black tail!! Instantly I knew I had just conquered a nemesis of mine. Black-tailed Gull!!!! This bird is probably a 2nd/3rd year bird as it is not quite in full adult plumage yet. But still an Asian beauty to me. (-:Read more →
On May 31st I made one last run to Little Tanaga Straits for the Whiskered Auklet show. As usual they put on a good performance.
I found this Rough-legged Hawk soaring over Clam Lagoon on June 1st. They are extremely rare for Adak. And in fact it was only May 10th of this year that I recorded my first one on Adak flying over my house. Nice to get some pictures of this one. Since its a light phase bird it could very well be the Asian ssp??
On June 2nd I saw these two Green-winged Teal on Clam Lagoon. Seems like I am starting to see more and more of the carolinensis ssp on Adak now. Crecca is our local resident breeder.
This was a fun bird. After several Hawfinch had been around in May I had this female show up at my house feeders in June and was a regular for over a week. What fun it was to wake up and drink my coffee while watching it feed right out the window. She was last seen June 20th.
I am now keeping my eyes out for Cuckoos. June and July have been very productive the last few years for these birds.Read more →
Always a treat to find as they are one of my favorite birds. I wasn’t even birding tonight and had my head inside a connex when I heard the alarm calls of the Rosy Finches so I new something was up. As I turned around and poked my head out there this guy was looking at me. (-:Read more →
Its been a very busy month of May for us here on Adak. Mostly because I was co-leader on a birding boat trip to Attu Island from the 11th to the 27th of May. What a great trip. I will have tons of great pictures to post once I get some time. I did want to get something on here soon so you knew what was up. Red-legged Kittiwake was a lifer bird for me on this trip and I have included a nice shot of one here.
Until I can get more pics up here please check out my buddies blog for the trip report that he had going while we were on Attu. http://zbirdtours.com/blog/. John Puschock is the owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours and is the one that organized the trip to Attu.
More soon…..Read more →
Hey everyone! I am sure you are wondering what had happened to me. Well mostly I have been home enjoying my little baby boy. He is now 5 months old and a real cutie.
But the sounds of spring migration are once again providing that irresistible call to pull me outside. The Aleutian Cackling Geese have been going by to the West for about a week now. Both the Lapland Longspurs and Parasitic Jaegers are also back and starting to stake a claim to their spot of tundra. One very cool sighting was the pair of Parasitic Jaegers back at Haven Lake. The same dark phase and light phase(ultra rare for Adak) pair have been nesting in this same spot for the last 5 years at least.
The Whoopers Swans have all left heading back West to their nesting grounds in Siberia.
Probably my coolest bird of late is one that I haven’t even seen. LOL I have a friend who lives is Yakutat and isn’t a birder. But he noticed several Doves were coming to his house. He mentioned them to me and I asked for a picture because I had a good idea of what they would be. Turns out I was right. Eurasian Collared-doves!! These guys were introduced in the lower 48 and are taking over North America at a record pace.
Hope to post some pictures soon.Read more →
I have just updated my Birds of Adak Island Checklist and it is posted on my page here. http://adakbirding.com/bird-list/ This is my checklist that I started when I moved to Adak in the fall of 2007. I’m currently at 143 species recorded here on Adak. Of these 31 are Asian species that are vagrants to North America. I have also recorded another 7 Asian subspecies. Along the way I have also added 6 species to the Adak Checklist which had never been documented on Adak before. These are Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Tern, American Coot, Hermit Thrush and Dusky Warbler. And last I have found one North American First Record on Adak of Asian Rosy-Finch. I am still waiting for the official word from the AK Checklist Committee on their ruling but my photos are pretty compelling.Read more →
I’m a little late getting this post up. My new baby is taking up most of my time. (-: Anyway, back on Dec 21st John Vanderpoel and I had the first ever Pine Grosbeak on Adak and also the Central Aleutians. Not exactly a bird that was going to help John and his big year. But I was excited for the record. Number 142 for my Adak list.
And then on Jan 2nd I found another Pine Grosbeak and assumed it was the same bird. But then after looking at the pictures to double check I realized that it was a DIFFERENT one! The second record just 10 days later. They could have shown up together. Who knows. The first one was in the Elfin Forest and we watched it for awhile so I don’t think this second one was with it that day anyway. This second one was in the Clam Lagoon Forest. I was searching for my Asian Rosy-Finch and decided to check the trees. And out popped this guy.
We have had a real cold snap hit Adak the last 3 weeks and have gotten lots of snow. So travel has been restricted. Which means birding has been much harder. I have only been able to get back out and search for the Asian Rosy-Finch twice since I found it. And thats been on my snow machine because the roads are getting too drifted for a truck. No luck finding the bird. I keep hoping it will come in to my house feeder where I have over 250 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches along with a few Song Sparrows and Snow Buntings.
Read more →
We have been having clear skys and cold days (12 to 30F) here on Adak for the last 10 days. There is several ft of snow on the ground. Winds have been almost calm most days. NOT what you would expect for Adak in the winter. I was going for an afternoon drive down to Clam Lagoon to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and look around for some birds. I wasn’t 10 min into the drive when I spotted 4 Snow Buntings and a dark Finch feeding in the grass off to the side of the road. Of course I was assuming it was just a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch but stopped to look anyway. Then it flew up for a few seconds and my heart about stopped!!! It did not fly like I would have expected for Gray-crowned!! Much more bunting like. And it had a short little bill and round head. And then just as I got my binoculars on the bird the sun glinted off its head and I saw the golden brown crown and streaked back. I was in heaven. For the next 10 min I had goosebumps as I photographed this bird. Amazing. Now I know what it feels like to be Paul Lehman. (-: My potential first North American Record!!! Asian Rosy-Finch!! A bird I have looked at 100′s of times in my Birds of East Asia book wondering what the chances of seeing one would be. Dreaming of one at my feeder with the hoards of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches. And now to actually see one is amazing.
Comments are welcome! Please email me at email@example.comRead more →
I arrived back on Adak Dec 4th after leaving Nov 13th for the birth of my second child. Almost a month off my beautiful island was about all I could take. I did get a wonderful little boy to bring back so that was worth it. Danian James will soon be out birding with me. (-:
Now back to the birds. This little falcon surprised me while I was at the fuel office filling up my vehicle. The reddish back and barring really had me excited for a minute as Eurasian Kestrel’s danced in my head. Alas, it was not to be. Just a colorful little Merlin instead.
Stay tuned….I’ll be around for awhile now. Lets hope something good shows up.Read more →
This November is rocking!!! My second lifer within a week! What a shocking bird to see jump up out of the grass along the road. Amazingly, it landed only a short distance away and I was able to get some pictures.
The Egret was the finishing touch to an already good day of birding. It started off with 6 more Whooper Swans (3 adults, 3 imm) in Lake Constance. With them was the single largest flock of Eurasian Wigeon I have ever seen. I counted 128. Over half were adult males. And back on the North side of town was a Great Gray Shrike trying to capture a Rosy Finch dinner at the National Forest.
Unfortunately, I leave the island tomorrow for over 3 weeks. It will be hard to leave as this is by far the best Novemeber of birds i’ve ever had here on Adak. Hopefully some goodies will be waiting for me upon my return.Read more →