Friday, November 30, 2012 A great day to bird!

Seward Sporadic Bird Report

I returned to Lowell Point this morning, hoping to refind Louann's remarkable pair of Bramblings and maybe get a peek at her skinny black bear. I didn't find either, but it was a lovely time out of the increasingly stronger north wind.

I walked along Beach Drive. WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS sang from swaying spruce tops; PINE SISKINS zipped in voice and action between trees. A stately pair of BALD EAGLES roosted in another spruce, out of the wind and in the sun. They seemed well fed and content to sit there for hours. Two NORTHWESTERN CROWS perched in a Mt Ash, snacking on the frozen red fruit. The ever-present MAGPIES investigated everything, flamboyantly dashing here and there. One perched nearby as if to inquire exactly what I was doing, and did I happen to have any food? Such a beautiful bird, such an elegant tail! No Juncos and no Bramblings.

I walked back to the beach parking lot and watched "Sparrow Corner". Several WHITE-CROWNED, GOLDEN-CROWNED, and SONG SPARROWS hopped up and down from the ground to the shrubby spruce trees. One Song Sparrow graciously allowed me to photograph it, front, sides, and back. Now why, I wondered, not for the first or last time, couldn't a Brambling be as cooperative?

Perky little CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES busily went about their business. Chittering DARK-EYED JUNCOS flitted through. No Brambling. (s)

I checked the young spruce trees and alders by the beach with my able furry assistants happily fielding balls and sticks. I saw no seabirds at all in this sheltered lee while the whitecaps raged on the bay just around the corner. A BALD EAGLE flew past, silhouetted against the low sun and the golden hazy sky. Then a silhouetted NW CROW flew over to Pinnacle Rock with a berry in its beak, and just as his fellow crow arrived, dramatically gulped it down. It was amusing how a berry in someone else's beak was so much more desirable than the hundreds left in abundance on the trees.

The Bramblings escaped me once again, but the effort was not wasted.

Thanks to a tip, I found nearly 100 SURF SCOTERS diving quite close to shore along the Greenbelt in front of town. Two female BLACK SCOTERS swam at the front of their scraggly line. It's been a long time since we've had this many skunk heads.

Over by the Uplands, I spotted 2 pairs of MARBLED MURRELETS and a pair of HORNED GREBES swimming and diving in the waves. Four PELAGIC CORMORANTS, including a very brown juvenile, and several COMMON MERGANSERS swam in the boat harbor with BARROW'S GOLDENEYES.

Just before the sun set at 1:15 (on the west side of the bay), I refound several RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and ROBINS at the horse corral. Also PINE GROSBEAKS, PINE SISKINS, BALD EAGLES, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, DOWNY WOODPECKER, MAGPIES, STELLER'S JAYS, RAVENS, and NW CROWS.

Robin C drove back into the sunlight on the east side of the bay and found a COMMON LOON in the SMIC boat basin. Loons have been very scarce so far this winter. I'm happy he found one.

Brambling or no, it was a great day to bird!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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