Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alaska Trip- Final Day

Sunday, 5/12, was my last day of birding in Alaska. We were still in Homer and woke early to get to the spit. We had a tip from another birder that Aleutian Terns could be seen from the middle of the spit early in the morning and would fly over with fish. It only took about 30 seconds before we found two distant terns foraging over the bay. They came closer and closer, eventually giving us great looks at Aleutian Terns! Although we had wonderful looks, the fog, low light and distance made photography a nightmare.

Aleutian Tern
Although the above picture is horrendous, this tern can easily be identified as an Aleutian by the dark secondary bar, the only tern in Alaska to have one. The tail is short, unlike Arctic and contrasts with the gray body.

Scott and I decided to leave the spit and do some land birding before heading back to Anchorage. Immediately after getting out of the car, a solid flock of White-winged Crossbills were noisily feeding in some conifers. At this point is was starting to lightly rain. I still got some photos.

White-winged Crossbill
There were Varied Thrushes singing (if you can call it that) everywhere. We ran into a few throughout our walk. Yet another mediocre photo for you to look at.

Varied Thrush
This hike was already very productive. I started pishing for migrants but instead a pair of curious Gray Jays responded. They hopped around, checking us out, before moving on.

Gray Jay
It was a long, uneventful ride back to Anchorage. We stopped again at Potter's Marsh so I could get some distant Red-necked Grebe photos. Keeping with the theme of poor photos, this fits in perfectly.

Red-necked Grebe
My time in Alaska was a huge success for my Photographic Big Year. In two and a half days I scored 36 new photographed year birds. The people were great as always, the birding was amazing as usual and I'm already missing Alaska.

I wasted no time once I got back to Michigan. Yesterday (5/15) I had an excellent day at Magee Marsh in Ohio, adding quite a few of my missing warblers and a few other birds as well. Stay tuned.

All funds raised through this big year go to support bird conservation in Hawaii. See this page for more information. The pledge is tax deductible.

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