Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More Excitement at Gambell, September 10, 2013

At sea watch this morning, Paul Lehman had a Lesser Sand-Plover fly over calling, a bird I still need for the year.  I checked the sewage pond area in the sparce vegetation in dry areas and in nearby sparcely vegetated gravely areas preferred by this plover, but found no plover.  In the boat yard, I met Clarence a native, excellent bird finder and photographer, who was going to the south end of the lake, and decided to join him and pay him for the ride.  On the way along the mountain, I found a Hermit Thrush at the second pull off and between the road and the lake.  Paul Lehman sees one to two Hermit Thrushes per average year.  We had stopped to enjoy the Northern Wheatears and a single White Wagtail.

At the south end of the lake, we searched the more extensive habitat for this plover and other shorebirds.  No plover found but a number of Rock Sandpipers (30) and ten Snowy Owls.  Clarence took me to the river beyond Ooynik Point, where I could not go without a native guide like Clarence, which was a special treat to see this wilder area.  We met several seal hunters from the village.  Clarence demonstrated his sharp hunter's eyes and skill at seeing birds and locating them after flight, an obvious skill needed by a native hunter.

The real excitement came in the afternoon when James Hunnington found a Stonechat at the far boneyard.  I was at the lodge after a late lunch due to a post-noon return with Clarence. I hustled out there and I got some photos to be shared later.

Stonechat (Siberian) is a life bird for me and number 643 for the year.

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