After returning to Anchorage from the big mission that was Attu, I wasn’t sure where to go next. The unfortunate truth for year-listers is that there’s only one Springtime. Its impossible to be everywhere, and with Attu chewing up three of the biggest weeks for this peak period, the remaining Spring rush was always going to be tough to accomplish. Staying a day in Anchorage to twitch the long-serving Falcated Duck hanging out just south of town was a no brainer. It seemed too late to do much good with Asian vagrants at the ‘other’ Alaskan islands – St Lawrence (Gambell) and St Paul, but it wasn’t too late for the traditional Spring birding event that is Nome, Alaska (and the wider Seward Peninsula of western Alaska, for the must-get resident specialty birds, and the chance that something unexpected may show up. And that’s what happened. Although in the midst of numerous well populated birding groups, including Johnny P’s Zughenruhe outfit, VENT, and Wings, I hired a car and did my own thing. As these groups, and other birders similarly going solo, or more normally in pairs are traditionally friendly and cooperative in sharing information about the details of rarities encountered, I did manage to land one spectacular Code 5 rarity that was initially found by one of the birding group leaders: Gray Wagtail. I also saw, and for the most part managed to photograph, most of my other target species, though I dipped on Northern Wheatear, and didn’t see any Bluethroats (but had already photographed one a week before in Attu).
I’m presently on a flight heading south from Anchorage, but thought it best to post some images and abbreviated description of my nearly three days in the Alaskan gold rush town of Nome, where I enjoyed terrific weather during 21-hour days, and was totally blown away by the spectacular scenery while exploring all three of the outward roads for their differing bird treasures: Council Rd, Teller Road, and Kougarok Road.