Nome, Alaska Day 2 (May 26)
Is it a surprise that it’s snowing IN ALASKA? Well it is! But Tim and I hit the road (Teller Road) early and began picking up great birds amidst the blowing flakes: Green-Winged Teal and American Tree Sparrow and then…MUSK-OX? Yes…a big furry brown form ran into the willows ahead of us – Tim called it a grizzly but I thought I had seen horns…it shook the willows where it passed then finally emerged as a grizzled old Musk Ox Bull.
Back to birding we found some old friends like: Golden-Crowned Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow and Semi-Palmated Plover as well as some new ones like: YellowWagtail and the striking American Golden Plover. The snow got the better of us though and we turned around after 15 miles of the 75 mile road.
Not to be stopped we headed back to the lower elevation Council Road where we spent the previous afternoon. Along Safety Lagoon we added Black Turnstone and Lesser Scaup. Exploring farther out than on our previous trip we followed the Solomon River into the foothills and mountains where we came upon many Northern Wheatears and Wandering Tattlers along the cobbled shores. Say’s phoebe, rare for Nome made an appearance as did a boldly patterned Rough-Legged Hawk.
On the way back to town we were able to pick out a Slaty-Back Gull among the hundreds of Glaucous Gulls and Glaucous-Winged Gulls at the Safety Sound Bridge. A Whimbrel strolled along the roadside on the outskirts of Nome.