Monday, May 28, 2012

Adieu Attu, off to gambol on Gambell

My husband, John, called from Adak to tell me about his boat trip to Attu sponsored by Z Tours. Since he was there for the birds, I'll tell you about the ABA area life birds he got first. Some of these birds we have seen on other  continents, but to count on your ABA life list you have to see them in the ABA area, which is the continental North America above the Mexican border. Since Attu is on the continental shelf, it counts, whereas Hawaii doesn't. On Attu, he saw the Common Snipe, Brambling, Wood Sandpiper, Oriental Greenfinch and Smew. At sea, he got the Red-Legged Kittiwake. On Adak, he got the Hawfinch and the Emperor Goose. So he is now up to 677 for his ABA life list.

Then there are the many additional birds John saw for the first time this year. Notable ones were 5 auklets, 3 albatross, 3 murrelets and 2 puffins.  If he is ever home long enough to make a species list, I will link it to this blog. For the year to date, he has seen 500 species in the ABA area. He would love to see at least 200 more by December 31st.

The weather wasn't bad on Attu, in the 40's but mostly clear. John said the water in the bay they anchored in was like glass. For ten days, they got off the boat and bicycled around the island looking for birds. Two days, John's bike needed repairs so he walked. The crew did a great job. Bill was the captain, his daughter, Colette, was the first mate, Nicole was the cook (really good cook) and Jake was the handyman/bike repairer and videographer. John of Z Tours and Isaac were the guides and there were 8 participants. A lady from Maine persuaded 4 friends to come with her so they really made the trip a go.

John was in Anchorage last night and today, May 28th, Memorial Day, joined a Wings tour flying to Gambell for five full days of birding then Nome for a couple more. John will fly to Chicago, June 8th, to do laundry at our son's home. The 9th he flies to Norfolk VA for a Brian Petteson pelagic the 10th. Then on and on.

I should be able to blog more frequently once John is back to regular cell phone coverage.

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