I am writing this blog entry from Anchorage, Alaska. Today I fly out to Adak half way out the Aleutian Island chain to board the boat for this year's Attu trip with Zugunruhe Birding Tours led by John Puschock. I will be two days in transit to and from Attu Island and we will be living on the boat and birding on Attu for 9 days. After returning to Anchorage on June 9, I will spend 3 days birding in the Anchorage area and then will fly to Nome to spend three days in Nome. I will return to Anchorage on the evening of June 15 and stay overnight. I will return to Ohio on June 16. The Attu trip has the potential for approximately 50 new species for the year and 2 or 3 Life Birds for me, Whiskered Auklet, Short-tailed Albatross and on the return from Attu, Mottled Petrel. Without any other new lifers on Attu, which is always possible, I have a chance of reaching 800 Life Birds in the ABA Area on this trip. There are about 5+ new birds for the year possible in the Anchorage area and about the same in the Nome area. I decided to bird in Anchorage for a few days first before going to Nome, because the Kougarok Road to try for Bristle-thighed Curlew, is often not open until a few days after June 10. I am not sure if I can update my blog while on the Attu trip, so be patient. I will eventually up data my blog. It looks like I can do so in Anchorage and maybe also in Nome.
Since returning from Colorado on Monday, I have been busy organizing for this three week trip to Alaska, so I have not done much birding. However, on Thursday morning I left home before 4:00 am to drive to the Waggoner Riffle Road area in Adams County to listen for Whip-poor-will. I listened at the Eulett Center for the Nature Conservancy, down the road at the old location for the Nature Conservancy Office, at the bridge on Waggoner Riffle Road before Abner Hollow Road and at the picnic area on Waggoner-Riffle Road. I did not hear any Whip-poor-wills calling. It was a cold windy morning, which may have been the problem. I should have gone a little farther east to Shawnee State Forest and will do so when I return from Alaska. However, I did hear two Chuck-wills-widows calling at the bridge on Waggoner Riffle Road before Abner Hollow Road, but this is not a new bird for the year except for my Ohio year list. I continued on Abner Hollow Road listening at several locations until I found a singing Acadian Flycatcher, a new bird for the year. It was singing its compete "pee-tsup" (with emphasis on the first syllable as well as a reduced call of only the first note). I continued to nearby Cole Road and found three different singing Henslow's Sparrows, new for the year, and also tried for Grasshopper Sparrow on Tater Ridge Road but did not find any singing birds.
I returned to Cincinnati and continued west to Fernald where I found two White-rumped Sandpipers and at least two singing and seen Dickcissels, both new birds for the year. The Dickcissels were on the trail behind the visitor Center, where i also listened for Grasshopper Sparrow, but di not hear any. The White-rumped Sandpipers were mixed in with about eight Semipalmated Sandpipers, one Semipalmated Plover, two Spotted Sandpipers and a rather late Solitary Sandpiper, none of those new for the year. After Fernald, I stopped by briefly at Miami Whitewater Wetlands area and while walking to the viewing platform from the bike path, I heard a gulping, croaking sound and saw a large bird fly up from the marsh on the left side of the trail. I was an American Bittern, on which I saw all the details this time, the dark primaries and secondaries on the brown upper wings, the streaked breast to the throat and the dagger like yellow bill and dangling yellowish legs. It dropped down behind the cattails in the marsh north of the observation platform. Perhaps, American Bittern is trying to bred this year in this marsh. Cool, if it does.
The addition of Acadian Flycatcher, Henslow's Sparrow, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Dickcissel raises the total to 456.