[Tweeters] Got Auklets?

Larry Schwitters lpatters at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jun 18 22:54:59 PDT 2010


For those of you deranged enough to take on a NA Big Year, or even a
big decade, probably the birds that will demand the most time,
trouble, money, and effort are the four auklet species of the Aethia
genus. They nest on remote, largely unpopulated islands west of
Alaska and are rarely viewed from the NA mainland. It takes a trip to
some place like Gambell or the Pribilofs. This usually means a
commercial tour, and even then you'll only see 3 of the 4 species.
The Whiskered Auklet requires a separate trip to Dutch Harbor.

When Texas Attorney Lynn Barber pulled off her amazing 2008 big year
she got all four Auklets up close and personal in just one place,
Adak, the farthest west civilian community in North America. Until 15
years ago it was a US Naval base of 6,000, busy protecting our nation
from whatever evil lurked to the West. Now not many more than 100
humans remain on the entire island. No Thrifty Rent-A-Car. No Motel
6. No Subway. No line up to take the cruise ship out to see the

But if you know the right guy, its one stop shopping. There is one
birder on the island who will pick you up at the airport, provide you
with a vehicle, let you stay in his very comfortable duplex with Rosy-
Finch feeder, be your guide, and motor boat you out to the tidal rips
where the auklets play. (weather permitting) Unlike Gambell, St.
George and St. Paul, Adak has a real airport with genuine Alaska
Airlines twice a week service.

The birder guy is Isaac Helmericks, a very competent, reliable,
straight shooter. Isaac at adakbirding.com http://www.adakbirding.com/tours.html


Tweeter John Puschock put together a very successful tour out that way
and beyond this spring and has more in the works. You should collect
all your auklets and see more vagrants using Plan B. John is real
sharp, but don't tell him I said so. http://www.zbirdtours.com/attu/attu_spring2010.htm


Adak's Clam Lagoon may be the very best place to find Kittlitz's
Murrelet. On a calm day you may see hundreds. Good luck catching a
calm day.

There are also lots of big cute Sea Otters in the lagoon.

You can hunt the caribou on the island all year round.

Alaska Air has a great frequent flyer program.

Hope you can do better than Barber's 723 total species.

Larry Schwitters

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