Monday, January 7, 2013 Respite from the Rain

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 9:56 am, sunset 4:12 pm, length of day 6 hours, 16 minutes; tomorrow will be 3 minutes and 2 seconds longer.

Weather: Practically balmy today, up to 38ยบ, cloudy and calm. I was sorry to miss the brief thunder and lightning this morning around 6:30 am; we rarely get such a collision of fronts. Our recent snow showers top-coated the ground with a white crust, and cloaked the surrounding mountains in sparkling white splendor. Just after noon, the sun peeked out from behind a dense gray blanket as the perpetual precipitation hose spritzed out just enough sprinkles to generate a small but brilliant rainbow. Quite a treat!

At dusk yesterday, a NORTHERN GOSHAWK showed up in the 'hood, looking hungrily at all the well-fed feeder birds, but it flew off without supper.

Today, First Lake behind AVTEC fairly buzzed with bird activity. WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS sang from the spruce tops, COMMON REDPOLLS and PINE SISKINS flocked between the cottonwoods and the bare ground under the spruces. BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS churred and PINE GROSBEAKS sang then fluttered down to feast on snow-capped Mt Ash berries. CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES and DARK-EYED JUNCOS chipped and called from the smaller spruces. A few ROBINS clustered cautiously nearby.

Although I already have a lot of photos of the Pine Grosbeaks, I couldn't resist taking a few more as first a female then a gorgeous male leaned down, such a gracefully curved neck! what a nicely patterned back! to reach yet another red berry. It was so interesting to watch them work the pulp off of the desired seed. The male had red berry juice all down his front. It was tough to leave!

Over by the Waterfront Park, a small flock of SNOW BUNTINGS flew out from the beach rye along the bike path. The lone hybrid GLAUCOUS-WINGED X HERRING GULL perched on the pilings. SURF SCOTERS, BARROWS-GOLDENEYES, HARLEQUINS, PELAGIC CORMORANTS, and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS paddled just off shore in the calm bay while a nonchalant sea otter steamed backwards.

The recent storms washed up a lot of debris including a tropical-looking red alder tree, its trunk fairly glowing, warm reddish-orange against the snowy beach. I found a plank with two neat circles and made a little beach person, waving hello. Fun at the beach!

I was fortunate to get a photo of a COMMON MERGANSER hen when she circled right overhead, looking for her relations. A bit later, an adult BALD EAGLE flew purposefully past, too close to fit in the frame. I was glad that the new puppy was safely snuggled away.

All in all, another beautiful day in Seward!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

Mt Marathon in her new winter cloak

Sophie at 7 weeks

1 comment:

  1. Carol! Thank you for your lovely photos! I spotted a male Pine Grosbeak a few days ago in the tree in my yard and had no idea what it was until just now, reading your blog. Lovely little bird! Thanks so much.

    Traci - 2nd Ave