Wednesday, March 28, 2012 Lapland Longspurs and Hooded Merganser

 Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 7:32 am, sunset 8:33 pm, length of day 13 hours, 1 minute; tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 29 seconds longer.

Weather:  Spring took charge yesterday gently transforming the last gasp of snowflakes into light rain and bid Winter a firm adieu. Then she turned the thermostat up to just above freezing and raised it further to the low 40sº today, allowing the sun to beam forth for several cheery hours. A pair of adult BALD EAGLES circled overhead, lazily spiraling in the deep blue sky. What a sight! Rivers of snowmelt burbled down the streets, free at last! and pooled into unnamed lakes at every low spot, trapped by sagging snow berms. Breakup will be especially tough this year as too much snow with nowhere to go is suddenly freed to flow and flood.

Yesterday I spotted a PIGEON GUILLEMOT in full breeding plumage floating expectantly with BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, MEW and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, a few SURF SCOTERS and GOLDENEYES in front of the seafood processor on Lowell Point Road.

Out at Lowell Point Beach, two COMMON LOONS and a PACIFIC LOON in winter plumage paddled and dove. A large raft of about 35 HARLEQUINS warily worked the tideline. One BALD EAGLE swept out to the bay and back, probably loaded with bait fish as before.

Today, small slides closed Lowell Point Road in the early afternoon, trapping several vehicles on the other side until city crews arrived to clear the snow. I hastily made a U-turn and headed for another beach. It was extremely quiet until four LAPLAND LONGSPURS flew past and landed in the dead sedges, likely the same birds that I spotted on March 24th.

A hot tip from a friend led me to the Harbor Uplands in the early evening. The gorgeous drake HOODED MERGANSER, accompanied by a lovely COMMON GOLDENEYE hen, paddled close to shore. Several very handsome drake Common Goldeneyes took a keen interest in the rivaling Romeo, and one tried to lure Juliet away to no avail. Either she's wasting her time, or she's hoping for some cute little hybrids.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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