June 22 – Delta Junction and Chicken

It’s not what you might think – I did not add a chicken to my year list today. I went to Chicken, Alaska. But before this trip of about 200 miles each way from Delta Junction, I did some exploration to try to find an Upland Sandpiper. Following the advice of Jeff Mason for most of my birding today, I went south a few miles out of Delta Junction in the area where I had found Sharp-tailed Grouse earlier this year, and was delighted to hear the distinctive wolf-whistles of an UPLAND SANDPIPER! The sandpiper only called for about 15 minutes way out in the field and then was silent, and I was never able to see him.

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About 8:30 I started the drive to Chicken where Jeff had seen a Mountain Bluebird a week or so ago. After about 125 miles heading east toward Canada, I drove 66 miles north-east to Chicken, a small tourist town based on its gold-panning and dredging history. The most obvious birds there were Cliff Swallows, which had built nests on and were swarming around various underparts of a big gold dredge. Finally I saw a pair of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS hanging around the gold dredge, and then I noticed one of them coming out of a pipe, most likely its nest spot.

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On my way back to Delta Junction in the mid-afternoon, I drove Barley Way again hoping to see a Upland Sandpiper. Instead, I had a female Sharp-tailed Grouse on the roadside that was very unhappy with my presence.

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After getting back to Delta Junction, I consulted again with Jeff about ideas for where I might look for some other birds, and tomorrow expect to drive to Fairbanks and explore.

274 species so far (see lynnbarber.com for detailed list of species seen so far)

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