January 29, 2013 Dunlins and Snow Buntings

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 9:18 am, sunset 5:04 pm, length of day 7 hours, 46 minutes; tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 56 seconds longer. The extra minutes make a huge difference as twilight extends the day.

Weather: Ahhh. The wind slept like a baby today. The cloud coverlet ranged in color from dark slate gray to soft blue gray. The thermometer rose from 23º this morning to a high of 30º. What a difference from this weekend! We received about an inch of new snow overnight with more precip on the way, unfortunately in the form of sleet and rain as another storm rolls in from the south.
Peregrine Joe reported finding both a BRAMBLING and the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR at the same site in the mid-block 400 First Avenue around 9:30 am. I refound the Brambling at 11:30 and periodically throughout the day, feeding on the dwindling Mt Ash berries and on the ground under the spruce and hemlock trees. Four GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES, PINE SISKINS, COMMON REDPOLLS, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS popped in and out.

I took advantage of the calm, benign weather to walk the beach at noon. Six DUNLINS suddenly flew up and away! What a nice surprise! A short time later, a flock of about 30 SNOW BUNTINGS swarmed over the beach rye and Canada blue-joint grasses, sifting the fallen seeds from the new snow. I would expect the Snow Buntings to survive that spell of brutal winter weather, but hooray for the Dunlins!

Joe reported 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS over at the end of Nash Road, but no Long-tail Ducks. We have not yet found this usual winter resident.

At 2:30, I happened to be passing by when a huge flock of NORTHWESTERN CROWS invaded my neighbor's feeder. The deck feeder had been covered with a heavy doormat to discourage the pigeons and crows. The pigeons were thwarted, but not the crows. In a trice, they attacked that doormat and sent it packing overboard! What teamwork and so clever! It takes more than a doormat to shut out hungry crows.

At dusk around 4:45, I again watched the Brambling, back at the same spot. It sure is amazing to see my former nemesis several times a day next door! Peering into the gloom under the two conifers, I found a very active house mouse and a feral rabbit enjoying the birdseed as much as the Brambling, dark-eyed juncos, and other sparrows.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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