Sunday, October 21, 2012 Eurasian Skylark!

On my way to Homer, I detoured into the Alaska State Parks Deep Creek State Recreation Area, mile 137.5 Sterling Highway, just south of Ninilchik, to look for the rare Eurasian Skylark. The bird was first seen on October 18 by Anchorage birder Steve Waltz who just happened to take a look on his way to Homer.  The bird is listed as rare to casual migrant in the Western Aleutians, Pribilofs, and on Gambell. This is the first record on mainland Alaska, according to the Anchorage Audubon website. Quite a find!

I understand the place was bristling with birders and spotting scopes on Saturday, fighting the chilly, brisk wind. But Sunday morning, just before noon, was calm, sunny, and beautiful. The parking lot was deserted except for one parked car. At the far end, a lone birder stood with his spotting scope, peering around. As I drove slowly along, I spotted a fellow traveler, high-stepping its way along the parking curbs in the first parking lot. Sure enough, it was the EURASIAN SKYLARK, out for a walk, picking up beach rye grass seeds and other tidbits scattered by the recent wind. 

I cut the engine, whipped out my camera, and started shooting. It didn't seem to mind, though it looked directly at me several times. It wandered through the parking lot, headed towards the beach, but kept walking steadily through the gravel and past the little shack. When it seemed safe, I drove up to the birder and parked. Enric, from Anchorage, had been there for a half hour, desperately searching everywhere in the seemingly vast area for the bird. A speck like that could just be anywhere!

I was pleased to show him his Life Bird, still walking towards us through the next parking area. We were able to walk around it and get great views from behind the little shack. Two more birders drove up and also got great views.

After it disappeared into the beach berm area, it did seem like a needle in a haystack. I felt very lucky to find the bird so easily, knowing it's not always like that! I wish this plucky little bird a safe journey, wherever it may go.

For a summary of rare bird reports in South-central Alaska, go to <>

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter on the road

No comments:

Post a Comment