Friday, February 22, 2013 American Three-Toed Woodpecker!

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

On a walk at sunset around Two Lakes Park, I decided to hide behind a big spruce to surprise my good dogs who were busy playing a short distance behind me. While waiting there very quietly, I heard a steady tapping from a cluster of nearby spruce trees. How serendipitous! I searched up and down the trunks in the dim light, and then moved slowly to see the backside of the trees. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Someone was very busy getting that last snack before dark.

Finally, I spotted a female AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER! Compared to the snappy black and white pattern of both the smaller Downy and larger Hairy, the Three-toed's back and sides were a mixture of black and white, making her look somewhat disheveled. This is an unusual bird for Seward, so close to the coast, and only seen sporadically.

The industrious woodpecker kept chipping off small flakes of bark from the dead tree, then flipped to an adjacent tree and racheted up higher and higher. The very patient dog and puppy and I quietly crunched our way over the snow back to the trail. Once again, I felt so lucky! Not only to have found this bird but also to be so uplifted by her presence.

And yes, the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR and BRAMBLING were spotted throughout the day as well.

Don't forget the Audubon-Seward Field Trip is tomorrow, Saturday, February 23. Meet at the Harbormaster's Office on Fourth at 10 am. Plan to carpool if possible. Dress for the weather (layers are best) and bring plenty of snacks, water, sack lunch, binocs, spotting scope, camera, charged battery and memory card, etc. Walkie-talkies might come in handy too.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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