Monday, November 28, 2011 No Redwing

Seward, Alaska

In brief, the REDWING was not seen today. This is the second day in a row it has not been found.

Today was a perfect day to see the Redwing at Lowell Point Beach: 25ยบ, sunny, and out of the north wind. As the sun rolled sleepily over the eastern mountains far to the south around 10 am, John Vanderpoel, the 2011 Big Year birder from Colorado, and Barrett Pierce from Texas cruised into town. Local birders, Joe, Robin, Jim, and I converged at Lowell Point to help find THE BIRD.

The beach was under surveillance from about 10:15 am to well after 2:30 pm when the sun began to wander behind the western mountains. We enjoyed more great close-up views of the single RUSTY BLACKBIRD adult working along the tide line, picking through the seaweed. Five AMERICAN ROBINS distracted us countless times, looking somewhat like THE BIRD, hopping along, feeding just like IT did. The robins are a recent addition to the beach scene as none were seen last week. Two very dark, long-tailed SONG SPARROWS stayed at the far west end of the beach, their preferred dining area. NORTHWESTERN CROWS and BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES also strolled along the tide line, snacking steadily. None of the birds seemed particularly concerned about our presence and most came very close, often too close to focus the camera.

A small group of birders split off to search other areas of Lowell Point (one GREAT BLUE HERON perched in a spruce), the rest of the beach, likely spots in town, and even across the bay in case THE BIRD had moved.

Two PACIFIC LOONS fished just off shore. Two RED-NECKED GREBES, a HORNED GREBE, a small flock of BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, a smattering of HARLEQUINS, a few COMMON MERGANSERS and a BALD EAGLE perched in a spruce provided a diversion from the hours of scrutinizing robins, counting crows, and staring at the favorite spots where THE BIRD should be.

For a dozen days straight, the Redwing provided magnetic mystery and magic to this special place. Without IT, the beach seems a bit empty. Far more empty than a couple ounces of missing feathers.

Tomorrow is another chance to find IT. The next regularly scheduled blizzard is expected late Tuesday night, bringing snow and strong winds. Maybe the nasty weather will pin the Redwing back down at the beach, or maybe it will bring in another fascinating bundle of feathers from afar.

KTUU web story: <,0,7935362.story>

John Vanderpoel's blog: <>

Toby Burke's Refuge Notebook article: <>

John Lofgreen's blog: <>

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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