May 12 – Homer – Birds Still Singing; Me too

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tomorrow more Homer birding.

174 species so far (if the plover really is a Golden-Plover – see above)

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