Rumors of the return of Arctic Warblers to the Seward Peninsula proved to be true as we located our first of the season this morning on the Kougarok Road at mile 26. The bird sang brashly from the tops of the pussy-willows for all the group to see and a Bluethroat appeared on the scene to display to everyone’s delight, One mile down the road we found a Gyr Falcon tucked back in her nest in a low rock face while her mate appeared profiled on a distant ridgetop.
Returning to the Council Road Black-Legged Kittiwakes floated amongst Mew, Glaucous and three Slaty-Backed Gulls and Aleutian Terns showed nicely at the Safety Sound Bridge.
With the promise of our first opportunity to make it to the village of Council we forged ahead seeing Northern Shrike along the way. The road was finally open and we found the small spruce forest at the end of the road to be productive for new birds. Blackpoll warblers (2) in breeding plumage were our first surprise, followed soon after by Boreal Chickadees and a another great first – a pair of velvety Bohemian Waxwings!
On the return trip I stopped to investigate a Long-Tailed Jaeger sitting on the tundra and had my hat nearly knocked off as the bird rose to defend a nest and was joined by a second…I snapped a couple of quick photos of the eggs and ran for the vehicle!