The Loneliest Plover

IMG_0881I was stranded on a deserted island…for 5 hours…and it was fun. This week got off to a great start with a boat trip into the sound. We had hoped to catch some whale sightings, but choppy waters changed our minds and brought us to North Island to quickly check out the views. We hiked up to a small cliff and soaked in the precious sun. Soon after, we realized that the tide was on its way out and we found our boat high and dry (not a mistake most Alaskans usually make, but it happens). After a quick game of charades, we hiked across the island which was covered with moss, rotting trees and blooming blueberry. At around 8:30 p.m., we were finally able to get the boat back into the water and head home, happily exhausted.IMG_0875

 

This weekend I also went out to visit my shorebird survey sites. I had been itching to get out there because there have been sightings of flocks of shorebirds numbering well into the thousands. Mariah and I were hopeful, but after my first two sites came up zero for zero, we began to think we might be going home with an empty data sheet. Still, we diligently combed the ½ mile of mudflats at Hartney Bay even though we saw nothing but gulls up ahead. But wait! There’s a shorebird! Just one! One lonely, Black-bellied Plover! It was gorgeous. Such a cool looking bird.

 

IMG_0894 Pumped up from my weekend, I led a small shorebird art activity with the 2nd graders at Eccles Elementary. I talked to them about how birds fly in a flock, and then I had them imitate this by becoming a little flock and “flying” with me across the playground. It was so fun! I feel that they actually got a sense of how a flock functions. After this, we flew into the classroom and I had them decorate flying paper birds. I love kid’s art!

 

Air Boat on the DeltaThe topper on this week was an airboat ride out to Dusky Camp, where we will be conducting nest island searches, monitoring, and maintenance. THE AIRBOAT RIDE WAS SO FUN! I felt like I was on a roller coaster. The Camp was beautiful and we saw so much wildlife! A huge male sea lion, some yellowlegs, a Red-throated Loon, cacklers, duskys, Sandhill Cranes, a wood frog, jaegers, Mew Gulls, widgeon, Green Teal, and White-fronted Geese. I can’t wait to start our dusky projects! I can’t wait until I’m living IN that and sleeping on the Delta under the stars.

 

Christine Smith
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