November 14 – Barrow’s Cool But Should Be Colder

A few more eiders, a lot more ice;
Some Ivory Gulls, would’ve been quite nice.

Yes, I cannot tell a lie – I went to Barrow (soon to be Utqiagvic) for the day to try one more time, unsuccessfully, for Ivory Gull for the year. The day was short and not too cold (about 15-20 degrees) but blessed with a bit of sun first as seen from the plane this morning just after I saw the very large moon, and then seen out at the base of the point, peeking through the clouds for the 3 or so hours of official daylight.

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Although there were ice and snow on the land and shore, there were very few ice lumps visible in the ocean water and in fact the water near the shore had much less ice than a couple of weeks ago. Most of the day the most I could see at any one time was about 4 bergs a couple feet long and some little 6-inch lumps of ice. Initially because of low clouds out over the water I could not see whether any ice pack was visible but later in the day when it cleared a bit more I could see a thin white line that may have been faraway ice.

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For quite a while I saw no birds at all, but then Common Eiders were periodically seen on the water, a total of only about 16 for the day. Toward the end of the day when there were  few more bergs and when it was almost too dark for pictures, one climbed a piece of floating ice (where I’d rather have seen an Ivory Gull). The only other birds for the day were three Glaucous Gulls seen toward the end of daylight.

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The only nonhuman mammal was a single distant arctic fox.

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My future birding plans are a bit fuzzy (like the fox picture). I can’t take any trips until Friday, and it’s possible that all the rarities (e.g., Lewis’s Woodpecker in Petersburg and some type of large white egret in Kodiak) will be gone by then. We shall see.

303 species so far

 

 

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