30 May 2014

High Cliffs and a "storm"

The high pressure has finally moved out and our first "storm" has rolled in.  It's not as epic of a storm as we might have hoped for but with sustained winds around 30 mph along with rain and snow, I think it probably qualifies as a storm.

Birding in that kind of weather isn't exactly easy or thoroughly enjoyable.  However, yesterday morning still provided a few interesting things.

Only a mile or two down the road was a NORTHERN WHEATEAR that we bumped off the shoulder.  Although not a rarity (they're listed as uncommon in the spring), it was nice to see a new arrival.  I didn't manage a picture of it before it flew the coop but we did walk around in the general area for a few minutes.  You can see a dusting of snow too:
Our next stop was Antone Slough where I flushed a suspicious-looking snipe.  We managed to find it again and confirmed it as our first COMMON SNIPE of the season.  In the below picture, note the distinctive white underwings:
Again, this isn't a rarity here; in fact, COMMON SNIPE is more expected than WILSON'S SNIPE.  Either way, it was a lifer for me and so that continued a productive morning.

Do you know your jaeger silhouettes?  At Southwest Point, this PARASITIC JAEGER came by while we were scoping the kelp beds and offshore flybys:
Not too long after, a different species of jaeger came by, this one a LONG-TAILED:
There were a few KING EIDERS offshore here, as there often are, but these were finally close enough for photos:
Yesterday was my first time up to the High Cliffs on the far western side of the island.  One of the attractions for this more-remote part of the island are the... high cliffs, and even though we were up there in a snow storm, the views were stunning:
If you want to see RED-LEGGED KITTIWAKES actually on nests, this is the place to hike to.  On your way up the 2 miles to the High Cliffs, you'll likely start seeing them perched on various cliffs outcroppings:
At the top, though, you'll get to scope and watch them up close and personal.  Here's a pair on the left with the larger and paler BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE on the right:
Here's another view of a RED-LEGGED at its nest:
Feel free to take pictures of them... just don't fall off the cliffs, it's a long 379 feet down to the rocks and water below:
In the afternoon, we were able to confirm that the ratty BAR-TAILED GODWIT was still present out at Tonki Point:
Hot off the press, I just followed up on a report from GD of SNOW GEESE on one of the nearby lakes.  Sure enough, they were there just a few minutes ago:
As with the last post, I'll close with a random flower picture.  I haven't gotten around to IDing this one yet but I'll let you know when I do: