Back home after a short trip to Adak, Alaska to visit my Son Isaac and family. While there he took me on many birding trips and I was able to add several new birds to my AK list. I will write more about birding there and post pictures later.
We now have several pair of snow buntings around the buildings and at least three females are busy working on getting their nests built for the new season. So far they have been carrying more peat like material getting the foundation made, then they will finish up with grasses, caribou hair and feathers from around the yard. Using nest boxes that we have put out for them, they get a early start at nesting and about half will bring off a second brood if the summer isn’t too cold and wet.
When I left on the 26th of April we were still 100% snow cover and when I returned May 4th we were down to 80% snow cover. Still a lot of snow cover left considering we had seven days straight with bright sunshine. The high temperatures ranged in the upper 30’s and one day even reached +40F. With the melting out of some of the tundra ridges, our local willow ptarmigan showed up and started staking out their territories. We now have two pair we can watch from the house and others can be heard across the river channel.
The week of warm weather started the snow cover in the Brooks Range Mountains melting at a fast rate and this morning (May 5) we had flood waters around our island in the Colville Delta, the earliest by eleven days since we have lived here. There is a cooling trend moving in for the rest of this week so maybe this will slow the breakup process down some and we won’t have any serious flooding when the river ice starts breaking up and moving out. On May 4th the river ice was still 54 inches thick.
First Greater white-fronted goose.
In the evening we saw our first goose of the season. It was flying down river, then it turned over towards the runway where a large area of vegetation is melted out. It was last seen flying off to the east.
Birds seen this week:
- Snow buntings
- Willow ptarmigan
- White-fronted goose