Talk about a great day to bird and be out on the bay!
As we left the harbor, piped on our way by 50 or so ROCK SANDPIPERS, en route to Kasitsna Bay Lab to pick up Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies school kids, a Humpback Whale surfaced just in front of us. That augured well right there.
On the return, I spotted a black shape on Hesketh Island - right spot, right shape, could it be...?
Yup, a BLACK OYSTERCATCHER. I edged the boat in for everyone to see ( okay, for me to see ). The George West list for average arrival dates - generously made available from our wonderful birding group at Aaron's ever- excellent presentation - shows April 22.
Thank you for compiling that list for us Lani, or whomsoever. You enrich all our birding experiences.
Reeling from that, Seth Spencer ( who diligently posts on eBird, so don't chastise me George ) and I simultaneously spotted a tiny bird... an Ancient Murrelet perhaps? But the instant it flew, its flight pattern was unmistakenly a FORK-TAILED STORM PETREL, followed by two others towards the Spit.
Goodness me, what riches. Then off Land's End, not one, not two, not three, but four Steller Sea Lions cavorting.
Our Rock Sandpipers were there to pipe us back in.
But the day had not finished for birds.
Towards Mud Bay, I saw two people with the tell-tale "I am a birder" sign - binos. Alerted, it got my focus more honed, and I spotted... Three YELLOWLEGS, looked to be Greater. On consultation, they ( being Wendy & Peter ) said they had also seen three PEEPs further back down, but were unsure of IDs. To my dismay, despite 30 mins of searching, I couldn't find said PEEPs.
But Yellowlegs there were, and again, referencing His Lordship West's list, it gives 17th April for Greater, and 23rd for Lesser.
A great day to bird - and whale - and sea lion indeed.
Bird sightings and reports from around the Kachemak Bay area in Alaska
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