The purpose of this blog is to show off John Lofgreen's Alaskan world through his wildlife art and nature photography. It will explain his painting techniques, and report on his latest activities including exotic journeys around the world.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Two Short Field Trips
On Thursday I went to a place I had never been in south Anchorage called Carrs/gottstein Park with Betty and Aaron. Aaron Bowman is the field trip leader for Anchorage Audubon.
The photo above is the view from the bluff looking south.
We descended from the bluff (on the left) down to the mud flats. The mud flats are much more stable here than they are along the coastal trail. You can barely see Turnagain Arm, (the water in the distance) on the right hand side of the above photo.
Our reason for coming here was to see some newly arrived shorebirds. There were Whimbrels (not in photo) and many Pectoral Sandpipers above. The little guy is a Least Sandpiper. We also saw lots of Bald Eagles, a Northern Harrier, (first of the year), Sandhill Cranes, widgeons, greenwings, mallards, C Geese, gulls, terns, magpies, ravens, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Pectoral Sandpipers can be very trusting, like many sandpipers, if you approach them slowly.
Pectoral Sandpipers look very similar to the more widespread Least Sandpiper, but Pectorals are about twice as big as a Least. Pectorals also have a straight divide between their streaky breast and clean, white belly.
Hudsonian Godwits, Short-billed Dowitchers, and Lesser Yellowlegs stay all Summer to breed, but Pectoral Sandpipers show up, feed like crazy, and move on. They probably breed somewhere close by, but I'm not sure where.
The second short field trip was this evening, (Saturday) at Westchester Lagoon. It was also led by Aaron. The weather was cool and windy, typical Alaska Summer. The trees are finally starting to green up.
The lake was dominated by Greater Scaup. There were a few Lesser Scaup, Mallards, Widgeons, Red-necked grebes, Canada Geese, and a few Buffleheads. The usual Bald Eagles nesting across the lake. Less than normal for this time of year.
In the slough below the lake we saw some Lesser Yellowlegs, one Greater Yellowlegs, and a Pectoral Sandpiper. Along the coastal trail were many godwits, Whimbrels, one Wandering Tattler, lots of gulls and Arctic Terns.
Passerines were Hairy Woodpecker, (above) Downy Woodpecker, Starlings, Magpies, Chickadees, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Not much to speak of, but typical.