I was wide awake by 2am this morning; it doesn’t help coming from Eastern Time zone. Before the others woke up, I took a short walk around town adding only Savannah Sparrow to my trip list.
The rest of the day was spent walking back and forth across the tundra collecting snow and lemming data. It was very tiring but it was great to go out onto the tundra.
Here’s what one of our survey plots looked like – still a lot of snow. You can go from walking on bare tundra to snow up to your waist and occasionally you’ll find yourself sliding as you walk across puddles with iced bottoms.
The most abundant shorebirds were Dunlin, Pectoral and Semipalmated Sandpipers but American Golden-Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Long-billed Dowitchers, Red-necked and Red Phalaropes were also present. At one point I watched five Red Phalaropes in full breeding plumage feed just a few yards away as I sat there wondering why I didn’t have my camera. I will try to get back there soon and take some photos.
Besides shorebirds, I also added Common Raven, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Tundra Swan, Brant, Northern Pintail, Long-tailed Duck and these Greater White-fronted Geese to my trip list.
It looks like we’re having orientation and protocols tomorrow so I’ll have some free time to bird around. Also, sorry if any of my blog posts are too dull...I've been running on very little sleep so it's hard to think what to write.