Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gull Day at Barrow

Today convinced me that I made the right decision to come to Barrow.  It was my biggest yearbird day in two months.  This morning I was more than ready to go when Bob Dittrick and Dave Porter came around at 9:00am to pick me up at my hotel, the King Eider.  Outside it really wasn't light enough to see until then.  We drove out to the spot where the whales had been brought in for carving.  That process was pretty much finished and the scraps and pieces were being picked up by machines and put into dumpsters for disposal at The Point, where if bears came, they would be far away from where the people are.  We scanned for a while until Dave spotted a female Snowy Owl  sitting on a little mound.  Shortly thereafter a couple of arctic foxes came by and harrassed her, but she held her ground and eventually they went away.  Then I spotted the bird I really came to Barrow to see, a Ross's Gull.  Not just one, but a flock of a dozen.  Wow!  Things were going well.  Then the Glaucous Gulls, which up to that point had been rather scarce, began to come in to the whale scraps.  Yesterday Bob and Dave had seen about two dozen.  Today I figure we saw about a thousand.  Big change!  Then more Ross's Gulls went by.  For the day I thought we saw about a hundred total.  At one point we looked over at the Glaucous Gulls roosting on the ice and there was a Ross's Gull (photo) standing on the ice.  It's not hard to see the pink.  This was my only photo op today, but I hope to improve on it tomorrow.  We were moving away from the area when John Pushock called to say they had an adult Thayer's Gull.  We quickly returned and scoped it, and  later saw another. As it began to snow, two birders from Ketchikan, Andy Piston and Steve Heinl, came back to tell us they had just found an adult Ivory Gull (photo).  At that point word came in that two more bowhead whales had been harpooned and were being towed in for carving.  We watched the process for quite a while then went to dinner, after which Bob and Dave went to the airport for their flight back to Anchorage.  I took over their rental car and went to the Airport Inn, my new hotel.  When I got on the internet, I got the final new yearbird of the day.  The small white-rumped storm-petrel that we saw on the Grande trip out of San Diego has been re-evaluated and determined to be a Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel.  That's what I thought it was during my initial reaction, but I didn't push the case then.  I'm glad the photographers did a good job; their good work is the reason I picked up an additional yearbird.  So for the day I picked up four new ones, bringing the total for the year to 710.Posted by Picasa


  1. I'll drink to the pink!!!! Amazing!!

  2. WOW! I had set your new goal at 710 (like how I'm helping you out?)! So, you've hit 710 . . . what's the new goal. This has been an AMAZING year for you and all of us following your blog. Congratulations! Renee

  3. Awesome day gratz on all 4 birds