Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Alcids at St. Paul

 This morning it was Zapadini Point with Stefan and Claudia. We took the vehicle as far as we could and stopped where hundreds of Least Auklets (photo) were assembled on the low rocks along the coast. As they billowed up in flight as we came by, they reminded me of a flock of Starlings. We hiked up the slope to put ourselves on top of the nesting cliffs. Visiting the cliffs first thing in the morning is apparently the chosen time, since later in the day the activity wanes. Part way up the slope I stubbed my foot and fell face down on a rock, brutalizing my glasses as well as my face, but protecting my scope and camera. After the judicious application of a couple of Band-aids that David fortunately carried with him, the bleeding was controlled and the bird walk was again underway. I did develop quite a purple shiner and some puffiness, but what the heck. The bird cliff was indeed worth visiting as all of them have been. Each cliff has all the same species of alcids (photos), kittiwakes, fulmars, and cormorants, but still a spectacle nevertheless. I spent much of the time trying to get flight shots of fulmars with some success. It was hard not to take many, many pictures of auklets, up close and personal and cute. A couple of Winter Wrens, of a race thought possibly a separate species, sang strongly in the bitter wind roaring past their rocky singing perch. After our climb down from the cliff, we motored to the crab pot stacks where Sean had spotted a group of Hoary Redpolls. After a brief wait, they flew in where they were appreciated by us all. After lunch we went to the north side of the island where we scanned the open water finding Harlequin Ducks, alcids, eiders, cormorants, but nothing new. On the way back to dinner we went to the top of one of the volcanic cones where there are radar towers and had a fine view of St George, the brother island of St. Paul. We also saw the reindeer herd which we estimated numbered about 300. After dinner we went to a native dance performance and the showing of a video depicting the story of the people of St. Paul, a story closely linked to the harvesting of Northern Fur Seals. It was enjoyable and informative. The one new bird brought the total to 594.

Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! You are supposed to be looking for puffins, not looking puffy. Lift those feet. Let us know if we should send a helmet. And safety glasses.