Thursday, 9 June 2016

Alaska - 9th June (Day 13)

Another day spent birding the Council Road which runs east from Nome, thats not a negative comment, its a fantastic birding road as it extends along the length of Safety Sound with the sound to the north and the open sea of Norton Sound to the south. Today we birded as far as Skookum Pass at Mile Post 53 on the Council Road, the pass had a true mountain feel to it with short tundra like habitat and bare rocky slopes dominating, here the highlights were Northern Wheatear, Horned Lark, American Golden Plover and Semipalmated Plover. We spent the rest of the day, after birding the summit, along the shores of Safety Lagoon scanning intently for Emperor Goose but with no luck. We enjoyed great views of many of the species we had seen previously and spent some time with the fantastic Long-tailed Skua breeding on the tundra and had good views of Yellow Wagtail of the race tschutschensis, sometimes split as Eastern Yellow Wagtail. Other species that were unusual for the day included four (three male and a female) Redhead, a rare bird in Nome, a summer plumage Pacific Golden Plover and seven Sabine's Gull. A fantastic site was a pair of Bristle-thighed Curlew coming in off the sea in the evening and giving their distinctive penny-whistle like call.

Short-eared Owl, fairly abundant around Nome due to a good vole year

Short-eared Owl - Council Road, Nome

Short-eared Owl - Council Road, Nome

Cackling Goose of race minima - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua on chimney of one of the houses. The Alaskan birds are of the race pallescens which is paler than the race seen in the UK - Council Road, Nome

Pacific Golden Plover - Council Road, Nome

Yellow Wagtail of race tschutschensis, sometimes split as Eastern Yellow Wagtail - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua, note that this individual is eating Cranberries (or similar) from the tundra- Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Dunlin of the race articola - Council Road, Nome

Western Sandpiper - Council Road, Nome

Western Sandpiper - Council Road, Nome

Western Sandpiper - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Long-tailed Skua - Council Road, Nome

Redhead - A scarce bird in Nome

Redhead and Greater Scaup - Council Road, Nome

Arctic Skua - Council Road, Nome

Arctic Skua - Council Road, Nome

Arctic Skua - Council Road, Nome

Arctic Skua - Council Road, Nome

Arctic Skua - Council Road, Nome

Sabine's Gull - Council Road, Nome

Musk Ox - Council Road, Nome

Musk Ox - Council Road, Nome

Musk Ox - Council Road, Nome

Musk Ox - Council Road, Nome

Musk Ox - Council Road, Nome

Semipalmated Plover - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Northern Wheatear - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

American Golden Plover - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

American Golden Plover - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Snow Bunting (female) - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Saxifrage species - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Potentilla species - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Saxifrage species - Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Skookum Pass, Council Road, Nome

Lapland Bunting - Council Road, Nome

Lapland Bunting - Council Road, Nome

Nome High Street

Nome beach front

Greater Scaup - Council Road, Nome

Greater Scaup - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Red-throated Diver - Council Road, Nome

Short-eared Owl - Council Road, Nome

Eider of race v-nigrum and Brent Goose of race nigricans (Black Brant) - Council Road, Nome

Glaucous Gull of race barrovianus, the smallest and darkest back race - Council Road, Nome

Eider of race v-nigrum - Council Road, Nome

Links to the other days of the trip (click to view)