Image of King eider

Image of King eider


Several dozen King Eiders moving along the coast. Most staying several hundred yards offshore. Hundreds of Common Eiders also seen but not photographed. They show a great deal of white in the plumage unlike the Kings. This time of year the eiders are mostly in eclipse plumage so not much to look at. Barrow!? What am I doing in Barrow, Alaska, you ask. Well…it’s like this. I have a friend in Austin named Isaac who is a crazy bird photographer like I am. A couple of months ago he sent me an email saying he wanted to go to Barrow for a long weekend to try to photograph Ross’s Gull, one of the rarest gulls in North America. Apparently the species migrates from Siberia across parts of the Arctic Ocean in early October and sometimes can be seen in numbers in Barrow. I had seen the species once before, in Canada in 1988: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/151409 but I thought, what the heck. Sounds like an adventure. Very few birds will be around in Barrow, but we might see some Ross’s Gulls which is a super fine bird. So, to make a long story short, we left Austin at 7 PM October 8 and 18 hours of airplanes and airports later found ourselves in Barrow, Alaska where it was 24 degrees F., with a 20 mph north wind. Just balmy conditions. We will have two and a half days here before heading home. Yeah, I know…totally insane!

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Greg Lasley
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