We drove around for about 7 hours and had a lot of fun and I enjoyed their company and learned a lot from the two of them. The big score of the day was another Sandy Komito nemesis from 1998, the Great Grey Owl. We drove up a back road on the chance it might still be there, as it had been reported days earlier by the wildlife folks. And had we driven up a few minutes later we'd have missed it. It just happened to have taken flight as we were passing by, swooping down from a tree into a small bush. We got the scope on it and had some great looks at a great owl. My ninth owl of 2012 and number 384 for the year.
After a few more misses, the American Three-toed Woodpecker, for instance, we had a close encounter with a Brown Bear, a "brownie" as the locals call them, and that was pretty exciting and even worth the miss on the woodpecker. Afterwards, we went down to the mud flats where we scored a Parasitic Jaeger. a Semipalmated Plover and a Northwestern Crow.
Back at Ken's Cabins, we waited a second time for the Stellar's Jay, but it just wouldn't show. The Bank Swallows did fly in and that pushed my Big Year total to 388. I had a great time, though, birding with these guys and they always had a good story to tell and served a good picnic lunch in the car along the way, complete with cookies. Even though I didn't get to see as many new Lifers and Year birds as I had hoped for, it was an honour to have Ken take me around his own stomping grounds and teach me a thing or two that I can put to use on future Alaskan trips. He also put me on to locations where I could find an American Dipper and Chestnut-backed Chickadee in the Seward area. But that was for another day.