Wednesday, April 24, 2013 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Arctic Terns, Greater Scaup

Seward Alaska Sporadic Bird Report

Great day for birds, thanks to the unsettled chilly weather, gusty north wind, and gray skies. It seems that it's clouds that bring birds, not sunbeams.

Passing by Dairy Hill Lane around noon today, I heard the jazzy syncopated song of a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. My friend and I walked back to find the little guy. He scolded from the depths of a low spruce, a sound I did not recognize. Then, there he was, ricocheting around the willows and alders like a green and yellow ping pong ball high on sugar. He barely stood still long enough for me to snap a photo before zipping off again. It is possible there were two kinglets, but it's also possible he moved fast enough to be in two places at once like an electron. Welcome home, Ruby(s)!

The HOODED MERGANSER male swam near the edge of the ice at the Lagoon, accompanied by a female COMMON GOLDENEYE. Male Common Goldeneyes courted females of their own species, the males beeping and dramatically tossing their heads backwards.

A hunky juvenile BALD EAGLE lurked at the edge of the ice, watching the ducks ignoring him. It toyed with a large stick, perhaps practicing for future nest building.

Over at the tidelands, 5 ARCTIC TERNS chirped and zinged, completely dominating the airspace, filling it with their presence. At least one tern carried a tiny fish in its beak, courting a sleek, beautiful companion. These were my first of season; so exciting to see them back from Antarctica!

Three FOS AMERICAN PIPITS walked along the beach, foraging in the driftwood and emerging beach rye grass, bobbing their tails. MALLARDS, PINTAILS, AMERICAN WIGEONS, GADWALL, and GREEN-WING TEAL dabbled near the large flock of SNOW GEESE intently feeding on the sedges. A small flock of about 20 CANADA GEESE flew overhead and circled back to join the Snow Geese. I did not go close for fear of disturbing them.

Lowell Creek Beach by the seafood processing plant attracts a lot of birds including HERRING, GLAUCOUS-WINGED, and MEW GULLS. Just offshore, HARLEQUIN DUCKS, BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, and SURF SCOTERS dove for small fish and mussels. The Surf Scoters included a young male, just getting some color in his bill and a dash of white on his nape. The three males crowded the female, who energetically chased them all away. A pair of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS in breeding plumage paddled along farther out.

Over by Sheffler Creek, south of the harbor Uplands, the first winter male BLACK SCOTER dove for blue mussels all by itself.  Dabbling ducks poked among the low intertidal zone, including a pair of AMERICAN WIGEON, GADWALL, and MALLARDS. Five FOS GREATER SCAUP paddled up to dive near shore; I could not tell what they were eating.

Near Second Lake, part of Two Lakes Trail in town, I heard the high "see-see-seet" of a few GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. They have been scarce this winter.

Other news: KINGFISHER reported at Mile 3 Pond (Stash and Store) and a MERLIN at Preacher Pond across the highway.

Happy Spring Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment