Thursday, May 31, 2012

Breeding Season

Shorebirds are finally arriving in decent numbers and seem to be pairing up quickly. Other birds are already defending territories, and it seems some of the geese (Snows mostly) are already laying eggs.

On the 27th, a surprise visitor came by camp. Say's Phoebe is pretty unexpected on the North Slope, and I can't imagine it found much to eat between snow squalls.

Semipalmated Sandpipers are back in number, and males are busy giving their diesel-truck flight display.

It seems to be a bigger lemming year than last year, and I heard Barrow also is having a lemming year, which could explain all the Snowys and Short-eared Owls around, and the number of Jaegers seen hunting the tundra. I watched this Pomarine Jaeger dive at a lemming, but it came up empty. It was tough photographing conditions in the thick fog.

There were at least 6, probably a few more Stilt Sandpipers near camp yesterday. This is one shorebird that will not allow close approach for photography. I'll work on it.

Sabine's Gulls are pairing up and setting up territories in the newly-thawed pond area north of camp. It is hard not to photograph this bird when it is around.

Weather has still been quite cold with fog and small amounts of snow. Yesterday (5/30) it did get nice and sunny at times and a lot of snow melted. The weather for the next week looks promising. If all goes well, we may have some shorebird nests in the near future.

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