July 17 – Nome Worried Wagtails, etc.

Following are a few more things from my July Nome trip. I need to finish this, because I don’t want to get behind. I’ll be in Nome again in early August, and hopefully will have more pictures to show.

I had never before this trip seen wagtails, so close-up and personal and in my face. It clearly was wagtail nesting time, and they were not happy anytime I came near or through their territory. I saw them a number of different places, but the two places where they seemed the most worried are mentioned and shown below.

On July 7th I went to Teller. Birders usually go to Teller to see the White Wagtails. I was about 25 miles away from Teller nearing the bridge over the Bluestone River, and not expecting to see wagtails for another hour or more, however, when two very upset White Wagtails came at my car, and at me when I got out of the car. They perched on the bridge sign, one at each end sometimes, on the road, and on the bridge itself. They seemed unhappy no matter which end of the bridge I was at, so presumably they had hidden fledglings out of the nest that they were feeding. I did not stay long enough in their territory to look for their youngsters, but drove on to see the less-concerned White Wagtails in Teller.

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Later that day after returning to Nome, I went out a short distance on Council Road and birded in the Hastings Creek area. To my surprise, there were at least two Eastern Yellow Wagtails diving at my head there, also clearly feeding youngsters. I tried to walk away to an area less of concern to them, but they followed, so I just left so they could settle down.

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In an area near the Yellow Wagtails, there was still a large snowbank remaining. It turns out that a number of birds were wandering around on the snow, apparently finding things to eat on it. These included American Pipits and a Western Sandpiper (I believe).

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I also walked along the beach near the Safety Sound Bridge toward the end of my trip on July 10th. Although it had been quite a shorebird hotspot a month earlier, it was now a bit slow, with noisy Arctic Terns overhead, and only a Lapland Longspur and a Semipalmated Plover photographed.

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The flowers were beautiful, and mostly different than those photographed earlier at the higher elevations.

I realized before I ended I should also post a picture of my birding vehicle for the last couple of trips. It stayed muddy and dirty while I was there, even though the rain washed some of it away. Although a smaller vehicle would probably handle better in some cases, especially when trying to make U-turns to chase shearwaters (see previous post), this sturdy truck had good clearance, drove well on the bumpy roads and had plenty of room for my gear.

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