Monday, July 5, 2010
AK - Bar-tailed Godwits and Bristle-thighed Curlews - 06/20
So we were fortunate indeed to have a perfect morning for our attempt at seeing Bristle-thighed Curlews in Nome. My recollection from previous years suggested that we might have a wet, mosquito-ridden hike up Coffee Dome before we met with success, but this was far from true. The day was beautiful, a real stunner, cool and crisp with a light breeze keeping the mosquitoes at bay. As soon as we arrived, a Bristle-thighed Curlew could be heard from the road, a bird which we eventually tracked down along with numerous (Hudsonian) Whimbrels. Perhaps we didn't need to do the infamous hike up Coffee Dome but having driven so far on dirt roads (72 miles) we made the effort anyway. Not only did we find more Bristle-thighed Curlews but we were richly rewarded with a pair of Bar-tailed Godwits on territory, my first at this particular locality. We also shared the slopes with nearly 40 Long-tailed Jaegers and several American Golden Plovers. With Grizzly and Moose in the area too, if proved to be a stellar morning in the field, a day which evolved to be one of the best of the whole tour.