Saturday, June 27th: We didn't have any birding scheduled during the morning. I slept in, and then caught up on writing my trip report. At 11, we met up to go to the Coastal Inn, where the other group was staying. We had lunch at Piper's (in the hotel), then went to the airport.
The flight to Barrow stopped first at Prudhoe Bay. It was a short turnaround, and we all stayed on the palne. We got to Barrow shortly after 6. It took a while for out leaders to get the bus, then we headed to the hotel. We had dinner there, then went birding around 9pm.
We drove out to Freshwater Lake. Usually it is largely frozen. Not this year. The is little remaining snow and the tundra is surprisingly green and wet. When I was here before there was more snow and the tundra was mostly brown and frozen. There is also no landfast ice this year. In 2001, there was no open water visible from Barrow. Now any ice is hard to see, although we did see a fair amount of pack ice from the plane. The ice was nearer shore in the Beaufort Sea (east of Point Barrow) than in the Chuckchi Sea (Barrow and its road system).
There were three new trip birds today: Long-billed Dowitcher, Steller's Eider, and Greater White-fronted Goose. Some of us walked across the tundra in search of a possible King Eider, but we didn't find it.
I ended the day with 24 species of bird, 3 of them new for the trip. This brought by trip total to 164 species of bird including 4 lifers. No new mammals means the mammal count stands at 16.
Top of the World Hotel, Barrow