Alaska – 13th June (Day 17)

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It was our final mornings birding in Barrow and indeed in Alaska as this was the final day of the trip. We decided to head out to the point to get some final views of Polar Bear. As we drove along the coast road the male Snowy Owl from yesterday was perched close to the road on the edge of town, this is a stunning looking bird, almost pure white, and we had much better views today.

Otherwise we saw the usual range of birds including Semipalmated Plover, Arctic Redpoll, large numbers of Spectacled Eider (35) and King Eider (1000’s), White-billed Diver (6) and Pacific Diver (4).

We recorded two flocks of Pomarine Skua (12 and 8) heading north-east, these appeared to be migrating birds. It was soon time to head back to our hotel and pack for our flight back to Anchorage via Fairbanks at 11:30 landing in Anchorage at 14:45.

Snowy Owl – Barrow

Snowy Owl – Barrow

Snowy Owl – Barrow

Semipalmated Plover – Barrow


Semipalmated Plover – Barrow

Long-tailed Duck – Barrow

Snow Bunting – Barrow

Snow Bunting – Barrow

Snow Bunting – Barrow

Snow Bunting (sub-adult male) – Barrow

After landing in Anchorage we picked up a hire car and dropped our gear off at Hotel 6. Andy decided to crash for a couple of hours while Martin, Ian, Barry and I headed to Westchester Lagoon for some final birding from 16:30 to 18:00. The highlights here were Bonaparte’s Gull (10), Lesser Yellowlegs (4), Short-billed Dowitcher (15) and Alder Flycatcher (2). But best of all was a flock of around 60 Hudsonian Godwit roosting on the island in the centre of the lagoon, most of these birds were in summer plumage, a fitting final bird of the trip.

Black-billed Magpie, the species is genetically similar to Common Magpie

and often considered conspecific – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Black-billed Magpie – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Black-billed Magpie – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Lesser Scaup – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Lesser Yellowlegs – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Lesser Yellowlegs – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Lesser Yellowlegs – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Green-winged Teal – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Red-necked Grebe – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (and Short-billed Dowitcher) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (and Short-billed Dowitcher) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (plus Short-billed Dowitcher, Canada Goose and Arctic Tern) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (plus Short-billed Dowitcher and Arctic Tern) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (and Short-billed Dowitcher) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (plus Short-billed Dowitcher and Arctic Tern) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

Hudsonian Godwit (plus Short-billed Dowitcher and Arctic Tern) – Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

After freshening up at the hotel we headed to the Moose’s Tooth for a final dinner of a massive pizza and beer. Martin and I then dropped Ian, Barry and Andy before heading back to the hotel. Martin departed at midnight while I had and extra night before my flight. On the 14th I was up at 06:00 for my 11:10 flight to Seattle, I landed in Seattle at 15:35 and departed for London Heathrow at 19:10 finally landing in London at 12:25.

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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