Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teller Road

Definitely taking a long time to finish reporting on my Alaska trip.  Two months since the end of the trip and I'm running out of gas.

Our final full day in Nome was birding Teller Road.  One of the first birds we came upon was another, so beautifully perched it was painful, Short-eared Owl photographed from behind a van window.  It didn't stay perched long so the chance of getting a better photo were greatly diminished anyway.

Another sun-filled and beautiful day.  The landscape, while not really obvious in my photos, was always stark, expansive and beautiful.

My memory is starting to fade, but it seems that Long-tailed Jaeger was the bird of the day along Teller Road.  We saw several.

We took a fairly steeply inclined road to the right with target birds being Rock Ptarmigan and Pacific Golden Plover - both of which we found. Despite good looks at Pacific Golden Plover there was no opportunity for photos.  They were not as cooperative at the American Golden Plover of the day before.

The van overheated climbing the steep incline and I honestly think this was a gift to all of us in the back. While the van cooled down we were actually able to get out to walk the tundra.  I would never have got such photos of the Rock Ptarmigan otherwise.  We first saw the bird up on the distant ridge and I took some distant photos.  Then we walked away to find Pacific Golden Plover.  There was an excited shout which made me look back in time to see the Rock Ptarmigan fly to rocks just beyond the van.  I hurried back over the tundra to get the two photos above.  I honestly think the bird was curious about us and the van.     

The van started up without protest and, to my disappointment, did not fail again all day.  We continued on and found a fairly birdy field with Pacific Golden Plover, Black-bellied Plover and Parasitic Jaeger

Again, we had to rush away from this birdy road to get to Teller.  After this, the birds became few and far between.  The target bird in Teller - if present along the beach - would be White Wagtail.  Entering Teller, we saw a Yellow Wagtail on a utility wire. After a stop in the local general store where we purchased small bags of snacks for $5.00 we drove to the center of town for a bathroom stop and lunch.  The bathroom was a "honey pot" in the Teller municipal building.  The school was a brand new building and the American teacher was leaving with binoculars, still in their new packaging, that had just arrived in the mail for her husband.  The school doors were firmly locked to us for bathroom use and I don't know if the school also had "honey pots" for toilets.

I loved this image of laundry hanging on a clothes line.  

We were greeted by two Teller village extroverts who seemed to enjoy talking with visitors from the outside.  One of the guys made the understated comment that "they need plumbers" in Teller.  One of the guys was also selling jewelry made by one of the village residents.  The pieces was well-done and attractive.  Several of us purchased earrings, not inexpensive but not expensive either.  When I got home I gave them to my sister as a gift.   

After lunch we looked for White Wagtail around the village cemetery. We did not go into the cemetery for concern of being disrespectful of the natives beliefs and values.  We also did not find the wagtail.

A spit of land leads from the end of Teller village and juts into the water. It held a variety of apparently discarded objects - boats, mattress springs.  I suppose the sled above was used in winter. 

The two little girls above joined us at lunch time and enjoyed Oreo cookies with us.  A couple of us had our photos taken with them near a swing set.  They were happy to hang around us until they saw their teacher leave the school.  They went rushing over to her in the excited way that kids display.  Their teacher was clearly special to them.  It was sweet to watch.

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