Friday, February 17, 2012 Black Brant

Seward Sporadic Bird Report

Giant swirling snowflakes halted for a bit at midday, revealing surprising blue skies and peek-a-boo views of gleaming snowy peaks. I was fortunate to refind the 5 handsome BLACK BRANT busily feeding at the tidelands, accompanied by 4 cautious GADWALL, and a sprinkling of MEW and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS. Each BRANT sported a bright white neck patch that indicated they are all adults.

While there, I watched a BALD EAGLE snatch yet another hapless COMMON MURRE from the water by its neck and body, and fly to a driftwood perch. Another eagle invited itself to lunch and a loud screeching ensued from the indignant diner. The dispute moved too far away to see the finale, but at any rate, the murre did not win. COASST beach surveyors tagged 8 dead murres, a small portion of those that are live-caught, dying at sea, or scavenged from the beaches. This sad seabird die-off is aptly called a "wreck."

I checked Clear Creek and finally found the male HOODED MERGANSER with his COMMON GOLDENEYE sweetie. It seems highly probable that this is the same drake that was here last year, and possibly the same smitten Goldeneye hen. MALLARDS and oddball mallard-types preened and bathed by the bridge, enjoying the sunshine.

Back in town, 14 GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES perched in a cottonwood; a flock of PINE GROSBEAKS commandeered the adjacent cottonwood, warily watching for raptors.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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