Thursday, January 19, 2012 Loons and sea smoke

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 9:40 am, 4:37 sunset pm, length of day 6 hours, 57 minutes; tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 14 seconds longer.
Weather: Clear skies dropped the temp this morning to 0º downtown and to 8º below in Forest Acres. A waning fingernail moon hung in the early morning sky. Golden billows of steam boiled off the bay, piling up an impressive layer of sea clouds, only slightly stirred by a northern breeze. Ominous gray sky clouds from the Gulf overpowered the brilliant sun by early afternoon, snuffing out the magical light. But by late afternoon, the skies cleared once again. Bright points of light, Venus and Jupiter, suddenly appeared as Mt Alice turned a delicate pink then faded to lavender, and the spectacular day changed to night. What a day!
Lured by the light on the smoking bay, I headed to Lowell Point Beach. A wealth of seabirds floated in the ghostly vapor, appearing and disappearing. One YELLOW-BILLED  LOON, at least four COMMON LOONS, three PACIFIC LOONS, a pair of HORNED GREBES, several RED-NECKED GREBES, 12 COMMON MURRES, at least one PIGEON GUILLEMOT, several PELAGIC CORMORANTS, BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, SURF SCOTERS, HARLEQUIN DUCKS. Three NW CROWS walked the beach, shared by the resident SONG SPARROW. Three GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS patrolled the shore.
What a thrill to hear the explosive exhales of two Steller's sealions, one a large bull. The pair swam and dove side by side back and forth in front of the beach, the vapor of their breath merging with that of the sea.
The wavelets gently lapped the shore; the seabirds preened, stretched, and dove, revealed and concealed by the mist; the sealions glided along peacefully; the sun warmed my face. Another priceless gift from Mother Nature: northern beauty and resilient life wrapped in sunshine and tied with a sea smoke bow.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter


  1. thanx for all your fine photos, carol! i tuck them in my slide show and enjoy them every day.

  2. I really enjoy the finch looking at the camera.