Date: May 6, 2013
Tonight’s Location: Homer, AK
Weather: mostly sunny, a few sun dogs and rainbows
Temperature: start 31º
Wildlife count: Sea Otters, Moose, Pine Squirrel, Bear scat
Year List: 208, Life list: 348
Birds: Bufflehead, Scaup, Red-necked Grebe, Bald Eagle, Whimbrel, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Rock Dove, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tundra Swan, Common Raven, Northwestern Crow, Black-bellied Plover, American & Pacific-Golden Plovers, Western Sandpipers, Common Loon, Glaucous Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Red Knot, Dunlin, Harlequin Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Herring Gull, Greater White-fronted Geese, Canada Geese
We spent much of the morning checking Beluga Lake, finding lots of waterfowl. We began a short hike out to the lake from the west side, but didn’t want to hike in mud. We saw a small clearing and headed down to see what was there. About 10’ down the trail, there was a large pile of bear scat – not steaming, mind you, so we went on, watching much more closely. By the time we got to the clearing, there were very plain moose tracks in the mud, which we have seen virtually everywhere we have been. However, when we stepped out into the clearing, about 50’ in front of us was a bull moose. We froze! He turned his head to look at us; decided we wouldn’t cause him any grief, and then went right back to munching. That was the end of that hike, at least for today!
We knew that Eider ducks were supposed to be visible from the top of the bluff, so we drove up to the place where we had camped 3 years ago, getting propane at the gas station there. We drove back to the campground, which is not open for the season yet, and looked down at the bay. No ducks, but a whole raft of sea otters frolicking in the waves – what fun to watch! They dive down, grab a clam, come to the surface and float on their back, cracking the clam and having breakfast. Such fun.
After a brief lunch break, we went back to Mud Bay to check out shorebirds, as high tide was around 1pm. We set up the scope and saw lots of birds, including our first Red Knot here, when a helicopter came buzzing over the lake and all of the shorebirds dispersed! So much for THAT set-up! It was fine – we were both getting cold, as the wind off of the bay combined with 45° was pretty raw.
We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to check with Marianne about the Festival, as well as to take a shower. We are still without water, and are sure hoping to get it turned on tomorrow. We will be asking, at any rate!
Dinner was chicken/veggie/pasta/parmesan Alfredo. It really tasted great to be cooking from scratch, instead of pulling one of our homemade dishes from the freezer. However, with cooking means dishes, which means heating water and then having enough rinse water. Oh well, it was worth it.
We went back to the spit after dinner to see if we could find any Surfbirds, but no luck. Instead, we saw 2 pairs of Harlequin Ducks – really beautiful ducks, though the light was not the best for photography. We are really excited to be able to see these beautifully colored birds.