Friday, November 11, 2011

Kittiwakes with Red Legs and Death

Despite the nasty, rainy weather, new birds continue to "pour" in (har har). Red-legged Kittiwakes put in a solid appearance, and while I had awesome looks, only managed horrible pictures through rain-filled dirty windows high above the water.
The proof is in the legs!
I also got mediocre looks at Crested Auklest in tight little flocks wizzing by. I hope to get better looks at them later. Ancient Murrelet was another new bird for the year, and one I haven't seen in quite some time. A group of tiny sparrow sized white and black alcids also cruised by, too far for any field marks, and I can't help but think they were Least Auklets. So far on this cruise, I've managed 4 life birds, with more surely to come soon.

I got a page (yes, I learned how to use a pager on this cruise) that there was a very cold, hungry looking bird on board, so I went to check it out. Turned out to be a dead Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, the same one that stuck around yesterday. I hear he was trying to eat a foam ear-plug yesterday, so that didn't help his cause. He will make a nice study skin at some lucky museum.

If you are keeping track of our path, you will see we have made quite a bit of progress north-bound. We should be passing the eastern part of St. Lawrence Island tomorrow, and up through the straights to Barrow. I hear the Bering Straights are a good place to pick up auklets, I just hope we go through them when there is light!

I mentioned the weather was crummy today, and it is getting worse. House-sided waves (depending on your social-status) have bombarded the boat. They have built to steady 15 footers, with some reaching 25ft. Nothing this boat can't handle, though. Should be fun trying to sleep tonight!

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