Thursday, November 22, 2012 Brambling encore

Seward Sporadic Bird Report

The gray slab of clouds piled up over the Gulf of Alaska this morning changed course and permitted the sun to once again smile broadly in a deep blue sky. The north wind continued to beat the bay into a froth of whitecaps, and the temperature remained in the high teens. Out of the wind, it was quite nice, a beautiful Thanksgiving Day.

I checked out the various key alder and spruce locations along the road at Lowell Point without success. GROSBEAKS called overhead, but did not land nearby. A few JUNCOS flitted through the trees, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES busied themselves at a feeder, and the ever-present and numerous BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES patrolled the Point, alert and aware of everything.

Fortunately, Aaron Bowman was on the scene and scooped me up for a short walk along the beach where he had just seen the BRAMBLING. Though many JUNCOS were still zipping between the young spruces, the Bird was not. We checked the dense spruce hemlock forest bordering the beach ryegrass where other juncos flashed from bough to bough. Suddenly Aaron spotted a little speck of burnt orange. I never would have seen the BRAMBLING without his help! We had good looks at it sitting in the open with an attendant Junco on various spruce branches, though it was fairly far away. I did not notice the white rump when its back was to me; the wings seemed to fold over and hide it.

A small flock of REDPOLLS flew overhead, and a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW popped out on a rock in the sun. A FOX SPARROW emerged briefly to sit on an alder branch. JUNCOS continued to work their way from left to right, heading towards the parking lot. I wonder if they have a route?

We hoped the Bird would drop down into the ryegrass and get closer, but it chose to stay far and high before flying across the road and into more dense brush.

Back at the beach, a female HARLEQUIN waddled into the ocean to safety. A HORNED GREBE in winter plumage paddled along, and COMMON MERGANSERS dove.

Aaron speculated that there might be more than two BRAMBLINGS given the ease he found the one. Easy for some! The challenge will be to find them all together at once. That has to wait for another day as it was time for me to go home and prepare the Thanksgiving feast, and for Aaron to head back to Anchorage.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

Here's a link to beautiful Brambling photos from Germany:

Songs and calls:

Google for several other informative internet sites.

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