Thursday, April 25, 2013 Snow Bunting, Swans, Shovelers, Sandhills, Sssspring!

Seward Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Sunrise 6:10 am, sunset 9:42 pm. Length of day 15 hours, 32 minutes; tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 19 seconds longer. Full moon rose at 10:19 pm, will set at 6 am tomorrow.

Clear blue skies cradled the bright warm sun all day, rocked by strong NNW winds at 15-20 mph, gusting to 39 mph. Max temp of 46ยบ melted a lot of snow along the edges of the snow patches and shrank their height. The Lagoon is almost ice free.

Bright green shoots of pushki and beach rye grass poked through last year's withered leaves and brown stalks. Sitka willows are in bloom, ready to attract insects to pollinate their flowers and feed hungry Kinglets,Warblers, and Hummingbirds whenever they arrive. 

Mile 1 Nash Road at 12:20 pm
A single TRUMPETER SWAN found the only, tiny section of open water at the back of the frozen wetlands. It blended in almost perfectly, easily overlooked, until it raised its head up on that long white neck to briefly look around.

Mile 5 Nash Road by the boat basin at 12:30 pm:
hunting spiders in the snow
pecking at loose gravel;
where did the others go?

Fourth of July Beach at 1:00 pm:
Two BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS napped at high tide at Fourth of July Beach, waiting for the tide to retreat and their grocery store to reopen.

One sleek and curious Steller's Sea Lion rose up from the waves to check us out, then another, and another, and another. Soon there were at least 7, possibly 10, treading water, bumping into each other, snorting, and splashing.

Town at 2:30 pm:
I heard the distinct bugling of SANDHILL CRANES from my house. I looked up and there were 8 flying right over town!

Seward Highway 3:40 pm:
Two SWANS flew past the eastern mountains near the Nash Road wetlands; one could be the same Trumpeter I saw earlier. A short time later, 11 SWANS circled over the bay, white against the snowy mountains.

13 CANADA GEESE with 7 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE circled over the head of the bay. A single SANDHILL CRANE led and then trailed a flock of CANADA GEESE and one CACKLING GOOSE north.

About 60-80 SNOW GEESE lifted up like a shaken down pillow, behind them in the distance 100s of GULLS likewise rose up in a cloud. Eagles or other raptors at work, perhaps?


Town just after sunset at 9:50 pm:
I scanned the violet twilight evening sky for a glimpse of Jupiter. Instead I found an undulating arc of about 200 SANDHILL CRANES preceded by an arrow of about 50 GEESE flying into the wind high in the sky. I watched through my binocs as they flew right over Race Point, heading north past Mt Marathon. What a glorious finale to a spectacular spring day!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment