Back at Nome, we checked into the Nugget Inn. The wooden finish line banner for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race sat just across the street. After settling in, we headed right for Fat Freddy's Restaurant where I ordered a huge, juicy steak. It tasted so good after eating all those peanut butter sandwiches and beef stews on the island.
Dick picked up our rental vehicle. It was a crew cab pickup truck that had no driver's-side mirror. All of the inside door handles were busted off except the driver's, so if you wanted to get out, you either had to reach through the window and grab the outside door handle or you had to wait for the driver to let you out. It had power windows, but they were so full of dirt from the back roads that you had to help push them back up when you wanted to close them. The one window sounded like Chewbacca from the 'Star Wars' movie when you tried to close it. The good news was that it got us to where we were going and, when you're 75 miles away from the nearest town with no houses visible for miles, that WAS a good thing.
With full stomachs, we headed down Council Road towards Safety Lagoon where we had some nice looks at several Emperor Geese. Other waterfowl seen there included Tundra Swan, Brant, Cackling Goose, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, and Common Goldeneye. Other birds noted were Red-necked Phalarope, Northern Harrier, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, and the always obvious Lapland Longspur. Just west of the Solomon bridge, we found the colony of Aleutian Terns, another new bird for me.
The shoreline by the colony held both Black and Ruddy Turnstones. On the way back to Nome, we stopped at some mudflats where the Little Derby Creek emptied into the sea. There, we found two Bar-tailed Godwits, the only godwit I haven't seen in the 'Lower 48', among Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers, and two other 'goodies'----a Red-necked Stint and another Black-headed Gull.
A few stops along the road produced Whimbrel, Dunlin, Wilson's Snipe, Tree Swallow, American Robin, Yellow Wagtail, American Tree Sparrow, and Common Redpoll. It was really strange to see Long-tailed Jaegers and Arctic Terns perched along the road on wires and guardrails.
A couple Reindeer were in a field near the intersection of Kougarok and Council Roads.