August 23-25 – Ferry Trip from Juneau to Whittier

The good news is: there are over 4 months left in this year. The not-so-good news is: in spite of an excellent leader (Aaron Lang of Wilderness Birding Adventures) and a great group of seven birders and lots of hours spent, there were very few birds seen on the foggy, rainy ferry trip and there were NO new birds for my big year.

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Before the ferry trip on August 23rd, we birded in misty-rainy Juneau at Brotherhood Bridge and other nearby areas. Highlights included two Killdeer photographed through the wet windshield-wipered front windshield, a Warbling Vireo among the warblers (Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped), as well as the usual Lincoln’s and Savannah Sparrows.

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We left the Juneau ferry dock midday on Tuesday, August 23. At the dock, the Glaucous-winged Gulls appeared to be nibbling at the encrustations on the dock.

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It was a bit rainy, which turned out to be the best weather of the trip. Every now and then the rain would seem to cease but it wasn’t long until fog on the water and/or serious rain cut visibility. Nevertheless we hardy birders persevered and kept watch during almost all daylight hours, although a few times, the scopes kept watch alone.

 

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Birds seen on the ferry that day included Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters (usually just grouped together in the identification of fog-shrouded distant birds), as well as ducks (Harlequin and Surf and Black Scoters), Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, Common Murres, Marbled Murrelets, and Black-legged Kittiwakes.

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We docked in early morning on August 24 at Yakutat and did a bit of land birding before setting out on the ferry again. Land-birds included Eurasian Collared-Doves, a Fox Sparrow, Bald Eagle, Northwestern Crows, Hooded Merganser (probably young of the year), Common Yellowthroat and a Barn Swallow (latter two not photographed).

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On the second day on the ferry we added quite a few Black-footed Albatross and Northern Fulmars as well as Cassin’s Auklets, Ancient Murrelets and Tufted Puffins to our trip-list.

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The ferry portion of our trip ended about 6 am in Whittier on August 25th, where we boarded a van and were driven back to Anchorage. It rained most of the way but when we arrived in mid-morning at Potter Marsh just south of Anchorage the rain had stopped and we got to bird some more before arrival back in Anchorage.

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290 species so far

 

 

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