Wednesday, December 28, 2011 Robin and Golden-crowned Sparrows

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 10:02 am, sunset 3:56 pm, length of day 5 hours, 53 minutes; tomorrow will be 1 minute and 19 seconds longer.
Weather: Cold and clear, 16-18ยบ, and for several glorious hours, sunny! The howling 20 mph north wind with gusts to 45 tried to sweep away the joy, but O, it was so great to see the sun after so many dark, gray days! Scattered snow showers and continued wind is the forecast for the next several days, with a possibility of a bit of sun.

Thanks to the clear sky, pink snowy mountains heralded the leisurely10:30 am rising of the low winter sun. I looked for the silhouette of the beautiful immature Northern Goshawk lurking in the bare cottonwoods and listened for the mobbing call of the ravens and magpies. But the sentinels were silent and I saw no raptor. As the light gained a bit of strength, I discerned two ROBINS perched in a Mt Ash tree, gobbling up the few remaining berries, looking very cold indeed.

JUNCOS twittered from their protected spruce boughs, CHICKADEES repeated their name, PINE GROSBEAKS sang musically from the tops of the trees. I spied two GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS picking up seeds scattered under a tree near a feeder, too hidden for a photo.
A bit later, I checked out the gulls, crows, and ravens along the Greenbelt. The GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS looked like white angels against the blue sky. One young HERRING GULL or hybrid blended in except for its black primary feathers. They quickly settled to the ice and hunkered down facing the wind, saving energy and conserving heat.
I headed out Lowell Point Road. Only a few GOLDENEYES and SURF SCOTERS bounced along on the waves. The sewage lagoon hosted a large flock of MALLARDS, COMMON GOLDENEYES, and a few GW GULLS. Most of the mallards napped on the ice with their beaks tucked under a wing, facing the wind like the gulls.
At the beach, the wind curled around the point just like it did when the Redwing was pinned there. Brrrr! Out of habit and without much hope, I checked the fence line by the Mt Ash trees, but nothing stirred. Over on the far west end, the two resident SONG SPARROWS hopped along the wrack line, picking up tiny morsels to fuel them for another cold day and long night. Tough birds all!
By mid afternoon the sun said farewell and blew over the western mountains. I hope to greet it again soon!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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