Saturday November 2, 2013 Swainson's Thrush!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:24 am, sunset 5:57 pm for a total of 8 hours and 32 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 9 seconds shorter. Daylight savings ends tonight; don't forget to set the sun back an hour!

The dramatic flooding ended, Lowell Creek bridge and the adjacent infrastructure was saved, and the area's swollen streams are gradually subsiding. Yea! Snow again dusts the mountaintops as the temps edge down. Winter is sneaking into town like the camel's nose in the tent. Soon the whole shebang will be here!

Four birders from Talkeetna scoured town today, enjoying the novelty of our seabirds, a delightful PACIFIC WREN, a BELTED KINGFISHER, the season's first BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, and others. No luck, however, on the YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS or the elusive WARBLING VIREO.

Towards dusk, I received a call from Chris Mannix that they had a SWAINSON'S THRUSH in the scope on some Mt Ashes next door. How convenient! I should bird more in my neighborhood!

I walked over to the tell-tale sign of birders: a car parked in the middle of the alley, all the doors wide open including the rear hatch door, and the four gathered around the spotting scope, binocs to the treetop. There, sitting quietly on a Mt Ash branch, was the latest SWAINSON'S THRUSH I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. By now, this 7" ethereal songster wearing buffy spectacles should be well on its way to overwinter in the tropics from Mexico to Costa Rica.

A BROWN CREEPER "seeeeped" as it spiraled around a cottonwood. PINE GROSBEAKS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS plucked berries nearby. A ROBIN did the same in the bountiful trees across the alley. The little bird mostly sat, but eventually it grabbed a few berries, and then flew off to the seclusion of a nearby spruce. By now, the sun had set and it was getting dim.

Thanks to Chris and the rest of the group for spotting this late thrush and for letting me know. I'll be looking for this normally secretive thrush tomorrow.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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