Thursday, February 21, 2013 Siberian Accentor and Brambling still here

Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 8:18 am, sunset 6:05 pm, length of day 9 hours, 47 minutes; tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 27 seconds longer. It's light until well after 6 pm!

Weather: Fairly stable pattern the past few days, with mostly overcast skies, temperature again hovering in upper 20s to low 30sÂș, and light winds.

Last night about 10:30 pm I heard a high querulous trill that I've never heard before.  Then I spotted an owl sitting on a tree branch in a neighbor's yard. It seemed small, about the size of a SAW-WHET. I suspect it was hunting small rodents that are attracted to birdseed scattered on the ground. Or maybe the new litter of feral rabbits. It sat for several minutes, visible in silhouette only by the light of the half moon shrouded by a thin veil of clouds. Then it suddenly plunged silently down, and out of sight.

This afternoon just after 1:30 pm, I checked the mixed birdseed feeder at the bottom of Suicide Hill. A never-ending flock dominated by raspberry-colored COMMON REDPOLLS with a smaller percentage of PINE SISKINS crowded around the feeder, chattering noisily. Bright orange globes of VARIED THRUSHES barged in and out, at least six for a conservative estimate. They seemed to tolerate one another one minute and then chased each other off the next. Hidden in the trees, they wheezed and clucked. A couple WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and a SONG SPARROW hopped around, also singing when not feeding. It was quite the chorus!

While checking the surrounding tree branches with my binoculars, I suddenly spied the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR sitting quietly, looking for a chance to dine. It flew down to a nearby rock and then made its move to the ground, chasing aside several Redpolls and Siskins. Then it worked its way around the feeder, determinedly gleaning bits of dropped suet. The other birds gave it some space, but most continued to feed nearby.

After it flew back up in the trees, I found a bright BRAMBLING sitting on a Mt Ash branch. While I watched, it didn't feed or come to the ground, but it's nice to know both of these rare birds are still around.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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