NOME, ALASKA May 31, 2008
Up at 4 am to chase Bristle-Thighed Curlews…again!
The weather was nice, the warmest day so far, perhaps as high as 50 with a light cloud cover. We stopped to glass a couple of Golden Eagles nests (one head barely showing) then proceeded to look for Bluethroat and ended up finding it at the same place that Tim and I had it 4 days ago. What looked like an eagle atop a distant hill turned out in the scope to be a medium dark Gyr Falcon, so my guests were delighted to get a great two-in one!
Further along the road we picked up more Rock Ptarmigan and about 5 cow and one bull Moose. Rusty Blackbird was seen again at the same pond where we also got brief looks at a Brown Bear as he ran from the van. At least 4 more Bluethroats were seen doing their beautiful ‘falling leaf’ display, most near The Cottonwoods at Pilgrim River Bridge. All of the other expected species like Fox Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, both Redpolls, Orange-Crowned Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes, Willow Ptarmigan and Long-Tailed Jaegers were present in abundance.
The hike to the Curlews was aided by two other birders who had arrived before us and shared great 10 minute views of the bird at about 100 feet! A number of very pale Short-Eared Owls and light morph Rough Legged Hawks kept the day interesting and a small family of Musk Ox and about 10 Snowshoe Hares rounded out our mammal list.
Back to the Teller Road tomorrow…still need White Wagtail!