Monday, September 23, 2013 Seward Sea Hawk

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:45 am, sunset 7:53 pm for at total length of day of 12 hours and 7 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 25 seconds shorter.

Wintry weather this morning! Lacy light snow dusted the mountains then hit town with snow flurries, a dash of sleet, a bit of rain, and stirred the crazy concoction with a brisk NNE wind. But the surprised grass remained green and the trees bravely clutched their fading leaves, so it must still be Fall.

It was fairly quiet this noon at Lowell Point beach. Similar to yesterday, 2 HORNED GREBES dove and swam into the waves, 1 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT flapped laboriously into the wind, a MARBLED MURRELET popped up nearby and dove in surprise. A curious Harbor Seal watched for several minutes, then stealthily submerged.

I watched the gulls winging into the wind, mostly BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, and immature GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS. One distant bird seemed unusually dark with a longish tail. I fumbled for my binoculars, buried in my parka. A white rump flashed, a nice warm chestnut brown breast…a NORTHERN HARRIER! The hawk flew with the gulls, then veered towards land and headed over the beach rye grass at Lowell Point beach. Hmmm, says I, that must be a crazy quirk, flying over the seething sea.

About 20 minutes later, while driving back to Seward on Lowell Point Road, I spotted a dark bird towards the middle of the bay, winging low over the waves heading NORTH. I pulled over and checked it out. The HARRIER! Was there any chance of catching a surfing vole or a flying fish? Did it think it was a Seward Sea Hawk? Birds do the most amazing things!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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