A chance encounter with a couple at dinner the previous night led to arrangements for me to guide them today on my day off.
After a 10 am start we headed up the Kougarok Road – the best chance at most of the birds they had on their target list. They were immediately thrilled by local specialties – nearly all of which they needed for their life-lists: Gray-Cheeked Thrush, Northern Waterthrush, Harlequin Duck, all three Scoters and a life-mammal: Musk Oxen.
The Bluethroat and Gyr Falcons of the day before were even closer and cleared than yesterday. Rusty Blackbird had returned to the pond at mile 67 and Short-Eared Owls were in abundance. A hike up ‘Curlew Hill’ was the first miss I had on the birds – in part because of blowing snow and hard winds, but the couple was thrilled by ten foot looks at an American Golden Plover apparently defending a nest. Also on nests on this hill were Whimbrel and Long-Tailed Jaeger.
Returning to town we had a 9 pm dinner then headed for Safety Sound Bridge where I found my first-of-trip Common Murre and we were treated to smashing full-body scope views of Emperor Goose!