Boat Trip to St. Lazaria

The forest service was running a training for local guides to learn some birds, and I was able to participate on some of the activities (some were open to the public generally, but the boat trip was available because not too many guides ended up showing up).

This morning was an early bird walk around Starrigavan. It was fairly quiet overall, but I was pretty sure I heard a Swainson’s Thrush (briefly), my first of the year. We also heard the most extensive and loud heron calling that I’ve ever heard. We weren’t able to get where we could see what was going on before it quit (it probably lasted close to a minute) – but it seemed like it might have been a response to an eagle, perhaps one near a nest?

This afternoon Rowan and I joined the boat trip to St. Lazaria. It was reasonably calm on the water, birds were patchy, but abundant where we saw them. Between Vitskari and Low Island there were a bunch of gulls, Rhinoceros Auklets, and some Pacific Loons, with probably some other things mixed in. They seemed to be concentrated in one area (both going out and coming back in), so I’m guessing there was a bunch of feed there.

In the vicinity of Vitskari we saw a couple of Red-necked Phalaropes.

Between Low Island and St. Lazaria there were quite a few Ancient Murrelets (which we mostly watched on the way back in). The cliffs at St. Lazaria were pretty quiet, but many murres (both species) were rafted up on the south side of the island. There were also 50+ Tufted Puffins. Also at Lazaria was at least one Peregrine Falcon.

Weather-wise, it was pretty nice. There was some haze and clouds over the mountains looking towards Baranof (and especially towards the southern parts), but on the water it was clear and not really windy.

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