Yesterday, Isaac and I spent most of the day on ATVs searching for the Whooper Swans.
Friday it was extremely difficult to drive the road to Lake Andrew, the largest fresh water lake in the Aleutians, but on the ATVs we had no trouble making it. There were good numbers of ducks on the lake as well as a Red-necked Grebe, but the swans weren’t to be found. Isaac has seen them fly over town twice this winter and figures they’re moving back and forth between Andrew Lake and Lake Constance. In fact he saw a group of five earlier in December at Lake Constance. The trouble is that there is a good deal of snow on the ground and we knew it would now be impossible to climb over the pass on our ATVs. We’d have to hike several miles. Actually, with Isaac leading the way and searching for the best path, we were able to drive the ATVs farther than Isaac thought on the trail towards Lake Constance, but the pass had too much snow to trudge through.
We were blocked in. We had driven 37 miles on the ATVs yesterday over all kinds of terrain, but had no swans to show for our efforts. That’s the bad news.
I guess the good news is that I have extra time on Adak to explore other ways to reach Lake Constance. Isaac will drive his snow mobile over the pass and scout Lake Constance. If the swans are in we could launch a zodiac in Shagak Bay then motoe around the sheltered side of the island into Expedition Harbor. Lake Constance would be a short hike from that harbor. We could also use the zodiac to get further out to search for Whiskered Auklet. Extra time might allow us to find both target species.
Unfortunately, the reason we have this extra time is some more bad news. There is a problem with the FAA automated weather monitor on Adak. Alaska Airlines can’t send a plane to Adak until it’s fixed. Earliest I could leave would be Monday, but possibly not till Thursday! I’m stuck on Adak. And the weather is perfect.