Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alaska Birding Tour Birds, Day Two (Teller Road)

Alaska 2014 continued:

On top of all the amazing mammals we saw on our second full day in Alaska (see the previous two posts) we saw a good number of birds, too! The first bird we saw that day, Saturday May 31, was a Wilson's Snipe perched up on the end of what looked like an old fence post. The last birds of the day were two Long-tailed Ducks, one chasing the other away from its mate, very near where we saw the muskox herd with the calves.

It was not a nice day, gray, rainy, even some snow flying, and I was in the back of the van looking through dirty tinted windows, so some of the images are pretty poor. We drove from Nome to the village of Teller and back, taking a detour on the Wooley Lagoon Road to look for the Northern Wheatear--twice. In all I saw 36 birds, 10 being lifers.

Bar-tailed Godwit*

Bar-tailed Godwit. We saw the female too and I got a few pics of her but they were poor. Note the slightly upturned beak. On Teller Road.

Pacific Golden Plover* 
American Golden Plover

American Golden Plover. Not a first, but a first in breeding plumage. Note the black head, full black from belly to undertail coverts, and goldish color on back. On Teller Road.

Black bellied plover*

Black-bellied Plover. Note the lack of black on head, and white undertail coverts/vent, as compared to the American Golden Plover. Along Wooly Lagoon Road.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Golden-crowned Warbler. I know I've shared a pic of this bird from day one, but I love this straight-on shot. On Teller Road.

Golden-Crowned Sparrow*

Yellow-crowned Sparrow. We watched this fellow singing while Bill listened for Arctic Warblers, which we did not see. On Teller Road.

Pelagic Cormorant*
Common Raven
Willow Ptarmigan*

Willow Ptarmigan. This was a bird I had really wanted to see. They reminded me of my chickens back home. Note chocolate head and back pattern. On Teller Road.

Rock ptarmigan*

Rock Ptarmigan--on a rock! Note lack of brown compared to Willow Ptarmigan. I LOVE the red eyebrows. (Note also the rain streaking by.) On Wooly Lagoon Road.

White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Pintail
American Widgeon

American Wigeon. Not a new bird, but cute, so why not? On Teller Road.

Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup*
Harlequin Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Wilson's Snipe
Red-necked Phalarope
Cliff Swallow
Lapland Longspur
Red-throated Loon
Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone. Not a new bird, but I'd never seen it in breeding plumage. Quite distinctive. On Wooly Lagoon Road.

Canada Goose
Long-tailed Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger. We had seen this bird the day before but this was such a great shot. Perched on a pole right next to the road, I practically had to lay in my mom's lap to shoot it. On Wooly Lagoon Road.

Arctic Tern*

Arctic Tern. We will see this bird again. On Wooly Lagoon Road.

Northern Wheatear*

Northern Wheatear. This is a bird that breeds in the Arctic but winters in AFRICA. There are now two known populations of this bird, one that migrates east to Europe and down to Africa, and one that migrates west across the Bering Strait through Asia to Africa. We will see this bird again, too. On Wooly Lagoon Road.

Red-Necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebes. I missed an opportunity later in the trip to get some closeup shots of a pair in the morning sun in Wasilla because I did't have my camera. On Teller Road.

American Robin
Northern Waterthrush
Fox Sparrow
Northern Shoveler
Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw). I like this shot as it shows the bird's feet which I think are interesting. First time in breeding plumage. On Teller Road.

Mew Gull
Glaucous Gull

Next: Day Three, Kougarok Road and the hunt for the Bristle-thighed curlew.

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