Leilani’s cell phone makes a bloop sound that indicates she has a message. She looks, then says a friend had found upland sandpipers close to where we are on the Denali highway
“That would be a major coup!” she proclaims, so off we go. We park, walk across the road, and start hiking up a dirt trail that’s lined with willows taller than us. We hear lots of little chirps and tweets, but see no birds.
Eventually, the willows give way to open tundra and we are distracted by the numerous wildflowers. The growing season is short here, and the plants and blooms are small as a result.
|Perhaps narcissus-flowered anemone, with budding purple lupine|
|Frigid Shooting Star|
|Perhaps hairy Arctic milk vetch|
Soon, she says she hears a whimbrel, and after a bit of sleuthing, we spot it. This elegant shorebird with the gracefully down-curved bill gives us several good looks before flying off.
We go back to the truck, happy with our score. It’s another lifer for me.
As we drive along, we see Jamin and Michael approaching, so we stop our vehicles in the middle of the road.
“Want to go for a hike?” Jamin asks. He is going to lead us on a short hike to a small pond where he and Michael had been photographing plovers, a long-tailed jaeger and numerous waterfowl the afternoon before.
The lure of the long-tailed jaeger is strong. It would be a lifer for both of us.
|Just over that small mound at far left is where we hope to find a treasure load of birds.|
To be continued