Thursday, November 17, 2011 Redwing Update

Seward, Alaska

The Redwing Rush is on! Birders from all over Alaska and beyond quickly recovered from the shock of a rare Life Bird discovered not only in State but on the road system. No expensive flight to Adak, Nome, or Gamble; this was a DRIVE-UP bird!

Important meetings, jobs, commitments, and schedules suddenly seemed trivial. A Fairbanks birder started the 500-mile drive in minus 40ยบ temperatures at midnight. A Homer birder left at 5:30 am to for the 176-mile drive, arriving in the predawn dark after being up all night with his infant daughter. Anchorage birders, a mere 120 miles away, arrived soon after, joining Kenai and Soldotna birders from central Kenai Peninsula.

After a lot of desperate and futile searching up and down the beach, into the teeth of the biting north wind far up the east shore and back into the calm of the forested center, all the birders enjoyed excellent views of the beautiful REDWING right back by the summer houses at the beach. This is the third day in a row the bird has been seen.

We had GREAT views from the beach looking towards the fence line east (right)) of the second beach house. There are a few Mt Ash trees and small spruce where the bird can find food and shelter.

The Redwing repeatedly flew to the seaweed wrack line at the very west end of the beach, but soon returned to the Mt Ash tree area. It also flew across the road nearby and basked out of the wind in the sunshine on a snow bank for a bit. The neighborhood black-billed magpies made it move around, but fortunately they were not overly aggressive and it stayed.

The sun rises around 9 am and sets behind the mountains at 2:30 pm so the light is best then. Twilight lingers until around 4:15 if you can't come earlier. I prefer around 11 am for the best light for photographs, but whenever you can get here is the best time!

The fierce north wind seems to be diminishing, but dress for cold and wind, bring hand warmers, etc. Please do not crowd this bird. Excellent views for all are easy without trespassing onto private property.

It's a beautiful bird, well worth the trip.

Good luck!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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