Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nome again

John had a great time on his second day of birding around Nome with the Wings tour group. Besides adding the Willow Ptarmigan, American Tree Sparrow and Fox Sparrow to his big year list, his tour group went out on the famous Nome highway.  Yesterday, I wrote about an incident at the Bristle-Thighed Curlew bluff years ago when curlews flew down to the van on the road so that people who decided not to climb the bluff saw them and the people that did climb the bluff did not. Well, this time, most of the group started scaling the hummocky tundra slope while a few stayed back at the van. Sure enough, when the climbing group was about halfway up, the non-climbers radioed that a curlew was flying about the van. Then it flew up the slope nearer to the climbers and they got fair looks. Some members of the group were satisfied and went back down. John and a few others stayed on the slope to try to get better looks and photos. They actually found the curlew again and got great photos. John is very happy. When he and I, did the climb several years ago, I saw a curlew flying away, at least, the guides told me it was a curlew, and John didn't see it at all. Now he has another ABA life bird.

The curlew bluff was at mile marker 72. They went out to 74.4 to see the Bluethroat, turned back toward Nome and at mile marker 42 got sort of looks at the Gyrfalcon on its nest. The best for John was the Arctic Warbler at 24.4 because everyone told John he was too early for it. 

For added fun, a really grizzled grizzly bear lumbered along down the creek next to the road. 

John has an ABA big year total of 526.

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