Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Trip Back, June 7: Another Lifer

We stopped at Kiska at the Captain's request.  We saw a fumarole on the side of a snow capped Kiska Volcano, causing yellow snow from the sulfur.   Near the anchor point was a rock with a channel worn through it.
Kiska Volcano
Fumarole, Sulfur Making Yellow Snow
Rock with Channel
I stayed on the Puk-uk to rest my ankle.  Doug had also stayed on the Puk-uk.  We were watching the group on the beach, when we got a call that Isaac had found an Eye-browed Thrush.  I rapidly gathered all my stuff into my back pack, put on my boots, and Captain Choate hustled me over to the island on the outrigger, because Eye-browed Thrush is a life bird for me.  The group was waiting at the top of a high bluff where Isaac had seen it when he went there to take a photo.  The last location of the thrush was pin-pointed, and I made my way as fast as physically possible to join the group.  When I arrived, John Puschock walked up and around the bird to flush it toward us as he walked down toward us.  The bird had flown up and then landed down in into a swale in the foot high vegetation.  We started walking toward John, when the bird flushed, but we were able to see only a dark silhouette against the bright sky.   The thrush flew around John and landed in small swale.  I walked up to it but the thrush flew up and down quickly giving me a partially satisfactory view of the olive colored back and wings, slightly darker tail and part of the completely white breast back to the under-tail coverts.   We tried again and the thrush flew a short distance back down the slope, showing only the olive colored upper-parts.  Another try.  This fourth time was the charm.   I saw the gray head and face, the white eye-brow line as well as the buffy, brownish side to the breast as the thrush turned nearly perpendicular as it flew further to the right and downhill.  Yes!  Number 804 for the ABA and 501 for the year!  Isaac had managed a photo shown here.   Thanks, Isaac.  Great job! 
Eye-browed Thrush by Isaac
We headed back to the beach and took the outrigger back to the Puk-uk to another fabulous dinner by Nicole.  We headed east to Sirius Point, and stopped to see the massive number of alcids on the water and flying back to the cliffs.  An amazing sight.  But it was too dark for photography.  See example photo below of mostly Least Auklets significantly modified in Adobe Photoshop to see the birds.
Least Auklet flock, Sirius Point

Eye-browed Thrush raises the year total to 501, and my ABA list to 804.  It preserves the record of at least one new bird per day on this trip to Attu.


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