22 July 2014

Attack of the gastropods!

As I write this, a dreary day with frequent misty squalls is passing by outside.  The wind is out of the west but a measly 15 mph isn’t quite the power we hope for (crank it up to 50+, fine by us).

Weather notwithstanding, I did venture out for a bit but the dense fog at Southwest Point instantly indicated that bringing my scope was far too optimistic of me.  Instead I stumbled around the lava field for a while hoping for anything to pop up from the soaked vegetation.  The only thing that popped was an idea into my head; get the heck out of here and head to Pumphouse Lake to scan shorebirds.

As I headed back east, I stopped briefly at Antone Slough to check on the shorebird habitat.  It appears as if the LEAST SANDPIPERS that bred there have now departed the slough.  However, a distinctive call caught my attention through the pitter-patter of the rain, it was a PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER.  Unzipping my coat and pulling out my camera, I only managed a picture of it flying away:
This is the third PAGP I’ve had this fall despite July being on the early side for this species.

I was checking Zapadni Ravine when I found this.  Gadzooks, it’s a mollusk!  A terrestrial gastropod!  Ok, fine, call it a slug if you must.  Regardless, it's the first I’ve seen on the island:
Sometimes I don’t have to leave my room to see interesting wildlife.  Just out my bedroom window, this ARCTIC FOX was intent on scavenging some spilled Pringles potato chips and rushing them off to its kits.  Nothing like healthy diet of sour cream Pringles to raise a youngster:
I’m not sure if any other guides/birders that have worked on St. Paul have tried to do this… but I figured I’d try to snap a picture of as many of the bird species here as I can.  A photo list, if you will.  Who knows, maybe I’ll leave with the record of bird species photographed in a year on St. Paul??  Anyway, what that translates to is a lot of crappy photos.  Case and point, this distant RED-BREASTED MERGANSER on a rainy day:
I may as well mention that Pumphouse Lake continues to host many shorebirds.  The LESSER SAND-PLOVER continued at least through today.  There was also a WESTERN SANDPIPER, 20+ PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and 3 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS present.  This lake has already produced RED-NECKED STINT, SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER, and RUFF this year... it's not far fetched to predict that this lake will strike again.

Yesterday evening I ventured up to Northeast Point to have a look around.  One of the highlights was finding a flock of 19 KING EIDERS swimming offshore.  After seeing 1-2 almost on a daily basis most of this summer, seeing a flock like this was quite refreshing:
Lastly, as I was driving back, I crested a hill and had to swerve at the last second to avoid hitting two ROCK SANDPIPER chicks in the road.  I stopped, hopped out, and ventured back to make sure I missed them.   Thankfully I did.  Cute little guy, eh?  No wonder I’ve worked with shorebirds for so long!