Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August in the Aleutians

Birders drool at the thought of seeing a Horned Puffin. Birders in the Aleutians drool because they are so common and boring. Ok thats not true...the puffins never get old, even after seeing them every day for months. They finish nesting really late in the summer so right now they are probably very busy bringing fish back to their fat fluffy chicks.

This picture is totally not from August, sorry. By now almost all the Least Auklets will be out at sea, as they finish up nesting and fledging pretty early. It's sad when you are out clambering around on Buldir Island's Main Talus and have no auklets for company...you are accompanied by a hole in your heart instead. Note the Crested Auklet and Least Auklet doing weird things in the background.

Aleutian Cackling Geese spend weeks higher up on the island while they molt their flight feathers...by August they have mysteriously reappeared near the coast. I think the front birds are juveniles.

The view from the front door of the cabin. Or, more obnoxiously, "my office".

July and August are stressful because you are just fiending for rare shorebirds (like this Red-necked stint) to appear. Rare birds, especially of the Aleutian caliber, have an addictive quality.

Some Tufted Puffins mingle above a Thick-billed Murre colony. No big deal.

Red-legged Kittiwake battle. So intense. I think those are Black-legged Kittiwake wings sticking out in back.

Black-legged Kittiwakes. Some juveniles (foreground) should be fledging by now.

Aleutian Song Sparrow. I don't know what else to say about them, except that I'm glad they were there. It's weird to not be around Song Sparrows. These are big and dark.


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