The day began with a bit of rain and a rainbow but eventually cleared up to puffy cloud blue skies. It occurred to me that there was probably a really good bird out there at the end of the rainbow (Golden-Plover?) but having tried to find rainbows’ ends before, I did not try this time.
Before I packed up my dog and birding gear to head out, I checked out the area around the motel and found yet another singing bird, a Fox Sparrow. The sunrise was definitely something to sing about.
A week or so ago, Aaron Lang (Wilderness Birding Adventures) emailed me to remind me that I needed to get Marbled Godwit ASAP for my big year, or they would be likely impossible later. People have been reporting them, but mostly not where I have been and I had not seen one – until today! I started at Mud Bay at the base of the Homer Spit just before high tide, where a Marbled Godwit had been seen, sometimes. I was pretty certain that I had seen one very far away, with three (later five) Whimbrels. But I did not have a photo, just photos of the Whimbrels, and a niggling doubt remained.
I decided to check out Beluga Slough/flats to see what shorebirds were around. Basically there were none visible, except for a Greater Yellowlegs and a MARBLED GODWIT!
After 50 or so pictures of the Godwit, I birded along the spit, at Lands End and Freight Dock Road. I saw all three scoters, Common and Pacific Loons, Red-necked Grebes, and miscellaneous puddle ducks. There also was a small flock of Surfbirds along the spit and a couple of apparently nesting Sandhill Cranes across the road from Mud Bay.
Much of Freight Dock Road has steep rocky edges along one side, extending down into the water. I had been told by a woman I met at the Godwit site that this was a good place for Wandering Tattler, so my dog Shar and I strolled along the edge, peering down to look for tattlers. A couple of Song Sparrows were singing along the way. Finally, under and just beyond the large dock at the end were nine WANDERING TATTLERS.
After feeding Shar and myself, I headed out for some evening birding and to watch for birds as the evening high tide came in. I decided I needed to get a picture of Shar today since it is the day that we arbitrarily designated as her birthday 10 years ago (the vet said she was about 2 years old when we got her), so today she turned 12.
I walked much of the Calvin and Coyle trail, finding the same woodland birds as I might find in Anchorage and finding a curious moose that only moved a little way off the trail.
At Mud Lake there were over 30 Semipalmated Plovers, three Black=bellied Plovers and an odd-plumaged plover that I am calling a PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER. It certainly was golden, particularly when compared to the nearby Black-bellied Plovers. I would very much like the opinion of plover experts on this, however, even if the consensus is that it is, or is likely to be, an odd Black-bellied Plover, which of course would mean that I would need to remove it from my list for now. Please give me your thoughts on this.
My final birding of the day was to walk around the Green Timbers and Louie’s Lagoon areas on Homer Spit to look for shorebirds. I could only see a few until all of a sudden there were about 25 in the air being chased by a PEREGRINE FALCON. Finally a Peregrine!
Tomorrow more Homer birding.
174 species so far (if the plover really is a Golden-Plover – see above)