01 July 2014

My Hawfinch shave

I don’t think I’ve brought this up on my blog before but better late than never.  So the subject?  Right, here’s the deal.  Here on St. Paul, I’ll only shave my beard if I get a new ABA lifer.  In other words, if you catch a glimpse of me this summer with a big bushy beard, lifers have been hard to come by!

HOWEVER, there was a twist in the story.  I had come to grips that my next lifer was going to be Gray-tailed Tattler, hopefully sometime in July.  My beard was already starting to grow out a bit (my previous lifer was Common House-Martin, I believe) but things were going to change, I could feel it (no I couldn’t).  Either way, I was leading some visitors to the local Russian Orthodox church when I heard an odd call note from above.  I glanced up to see this:
Woah!  I know what this is, it’s a HAWFINCH!  It perched briefly on an antenna at the top of the hill.  I snapped another shot or two:
I rushed into the vehicle to get my scope but when I returned, the bird was gone.   Augh, where did it go?  I made some calls to alert the other groups but still to this day, no one has relocated it.  A true 30 second wonder.  Anyway, that lifer brought me a June 30 shave.  Now, will the tattler actually be my next lifer?

Speaking of the church though, I visited again (you know, to see if any other rarities fall from the sky around there).  No luck with the rarities but our local and ratty BALD EAGLE was perched on the tip top of the church:
Crab boats will sometimes store their crabbing traps on the island (called crab pots).  I might go into more detail about them later but for now, here’s a close up of some very rusted out metal from one of the pots.  What looks like bark is... actually rusted metal:
I’m continuing to see what I believe are fall shorebirds; another WESTERN SANDPIPER joined the other one on Pumphouse Lake.  Also present today was this DUNLIN, my first for St. Paul:
On the west side of the island, we had a great chance to compare PELAGIC CORMORANT (back) with a young RED-FACED CORMORANT (front).  Note the different colored bills and facial skin:
The cuteness factor of the day came when we saw five ARCTIC FOX kits outside the Trident.  Now, it’s hard to get much cuter than a bunch of sibling foxes jumping around, playing with each other, and pouncing on inanimate objects:
Next up... July.