Nome, Alaska Day 3 (May 27)
Despite waking up to 2 inches of new snow at sea-level, the locals assured us that the Teller Road was doable all the way to the small fishing village for which the road is named. On the edge of town we spent 20 minutes breaking down a shore-bird only to conclude that it was one already well known to us: Pectoral Sandpiper (it looks different in the snow!). We were soon thrilling to small flocks of Snow Buntings skittering away from the road. Near Washington Creek we had 20 foot perched views of a bird we were later told shouldn’t have been here: American Kestrel!
By far our most productive stop for the day was the Sinuk River Bridge. Cliff Swallows greeted us as we scoped a pair of bright Bar-Tailed Godwits on a gravel bar. While watching a Yellow Wagtail we had great looks at the hard-to-find Pacific Golden Plover. On our return we had another locally rare bird – a pair of Red Knots…here only during migration.
We traveled over high passes completely white with snow, but still found Horned Lark, lots of Willow Ptarmigan and comedic Rock Ptarmigan challenging our Ford Escape! At Bluestone Creek a shrike perched in the willows, which out of habit I called Loggerhead but Tim correctly called it as Northern.
The spit at the native village of Teller held Pigeon Guillemot and Pelagic Cormorant. Our ride back was quicker but we added Short-Eared owl to our trip list. Bed felt good at midnight, even though the sky was as light as 7 pm!