Birds at Barrow

We saw all four Eider species in one day at Barrow, including this Spectacled Eider. Another well-named species.

Spectacled Eider, Barrow

Steller's Eider was actually the most common eider species here.

Steller's Eider, Barrow

The native people are allowed to hunt most forms of wildlife that are protected from the rest of us. However, they are not supposed to hunt Steller's Eiders. This roadside sign says, in part "Help Protect Our Steller's Eiders! Steller's Eiders are threatened with extinction in North America. The Barrow region remains the only place on the continent where they still regularly nest. Please do not shoot or chase Steller's Eiders. Please do not disturb nesting Steller's Eiders."

Steller's Eider sign, Barrow

Also note the distant satellite dish at the left. At this latitude, satellite dishes are aimed nearly horizontally.

Pacific Loon

Pacific Loon, Barrow

The question arose, is it possible to take too many Red Phalarope pictures? No.

Red Phalarope, Barrow Red Phalarope, Barrow Red Phalarope, Barrow Red Phalarope, Barrow

The male Ruff takes showy plumage to an extreme.

Ruff, Barrow Ruff, Barrow Ruff, Barrow

For comparison, here's another look at the female Ruff (Reeve) that we saw at Nome.

Reeve, Barrow

At Barrow, most of the jaegers were Pomarine Jaegers.

Pomarine Jaeger, Barrow

At the Barrow landfill, nearly every last gull was a Glaucous Gull.

Glaucous Gull, Barrow

Except for a couple of "Vega" Gulls (a form of Herring Gull that some authorities split into a separate species).

And except for two odd black-backed, yellow-legged gulls that stumped us at the time. We tried to make them Heuglin's Gull, but were prevailed upon to call them Lesser Black-backed Gull, still a rarity for Barrow. Compare Simon Thompson's photos of the Lesser Black-backed and a Vega Gull.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Barrow Lesser Black-backed Gull, Barrow

Arctic Tern -- actually in the Arctic!

Arctic Tern, Barrow

We saw many Snowy Owls in the Barrow area, most just sitting on the tundra at great distances (in one spot, 16 in view at one time). This one that perched on an antenna on a house was slightly closer.

Snowy Owl, Barrow

Dusky Thrush. Another close relative of American Robin, even rarer than Eyebrowed Thrush. Another bird that you won't find in Sibley. A terrible photo taken on a cloudy day, but recognizable and good enough for a bird I'll probably never see again.

Dusky Thrush, Barrow

Varied Thrush is a common Alaskan bird, but the several that we saw in Barrow were far from their normal forest habitat.

Varied Thrush, Barrow

Guess what bird nests in this house? No, really, take a guess. Then click on the photo for the answer. That's the ice of the Arctic Ocean (Chukchi Sea) in the distance.

bird house, Barrow

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