January 25, 2013 Birders, Bramblings, and Siberian Accentor

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 9:26 am, sunset 4:54 pm, length of day 7 hours, 27 minutes; tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 43 seconds longer.

Weather: The thermometer dropped steadily from 32º this morning to 23º by evening as the north wind picked up speed to howling velocity. Brrrrr! The bright sunshine, however, was wonderful until the sun dropped behind the western mountains. The forecast for the weekend is clear and cold with a high of 10º with winds from the NNW at 15 to 20 mph for a wind chill as low as minus 18º. Brrrrr!

Today, a flock of birders from Juneau, Palmer, Anchorage, Cooper Landing, and Homer (maybe other places) converged on Seward to seek the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR, BRAMBLINGS, HOODED MERGANSER, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, and other coastal residents. Birders from Fairbanks, Kodiak, and other Anchorage birders are expected tomorrow.

Many birders had excellent success while others missed one or another species. That Accentor is quite crafty, popping up at Ground Zero with the VARIED THRUSH and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, then vanishing for a time only to reappear down the alley with FOX, GOLDEN-CROWNED, WHITE-CROWNED, and SONG SPARROWS. One never knew where to be and many wished they could cover both spots simultaneously. With much bare ground under the trees, and lots of brush piles, there is a lot of territory for the sparrows and Accentor to hide.

One big bonus of covering Ground Zero and down the alley was the appearance of two BRAMBLINGS, perching nicely in the same Mt Ash for the paparazzi. One was quite bright, the other much paler. While the two were spotted, another one was seen flying north of the site, make THREE in town. Meanwhile, Ava also had a BRAMBLING at her feeder just off Nash Road. Aaron Bowman suggested back in December that there might be more than two, and he was right. There might even be more than four! Pretty exciting!

Yesterday I documented a very bright BRAMBLING at the Alaska Sealife Center parking lot, feasting on Mt Ash pulp both in the trees and on the ground, surrounded by at least 20-25 AMERICAN ROBINS. It was thrilling to finally get close enough for some really good views. This bird has a lot more going on than just an orangish breast band!

If you come to Seward tomorrow, be sure to dress really, really warm with windproof outerwear and bring the best ice grippers you can find. I understand REI is temporarily out of the Kahtoola Microspikes, which I highly recommend, but anything is better than skating down Suicide Hill on your face. Brown and Hawkins in downtown Seward carries a nice selection of ice grippers and high quality winter gear if you forgot anything. 

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

Pale Brambling

Bright Brambling

Bright Brambling

1 comment:

  1. Love your pics Carol. With the aid of those, at least I know what to look for if, by any luck, one of these rare birds decides to visit Chenega!

    Happy Birding,

    Kate McL