Monday, February 3, 2014 Herons, Rock Sandpipers, fallen eagle nest

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:06 am, sunset 5:17 pm, for a total length of day of 8 hours and 44 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 7 seconds longer.

After a brief dip this weekend into the mid 20s with clear skies and a visit by a cheery sun, the misty clouds returned today. The temps hovered around freezing, toying with the option for slickery ice. The forecast calls for peeks of the sun tomorrow; we shall see. If the skies are clear just before dawn, look for bright Venus preceding the sun.

The ground remains bare of snow; most of the feeder birds are dispersed. No reports of the SWAMP SPARROW, the KILLDEER, or the BRAMBLING. One feels lucky to even spot a NUTHATCH, though the CHESTNUT-BACKED and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES are abundant and reliable visitors.

The small flocks of ROBINS and GROSBEAKS are still here, picking through the remnants of Mt Ash berries on the ground. I spotted a Kenai SONG SPARROW among them, with a few DARK-EYED JUNCOS.

Highlights today were seven GREAT BLUE HERONS spotted by the harbor jetty, sitting in the light sn'rain, looking as despondent as Eyore. 26 ROCK SANDPIPERS fed along the tideline, usual winter visitors, but often as hard to find as the secretive herons.

GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS perched on the pilings south of the harbor uplands. The soft gray sky behind merged seamlessly with the calm gray ocean. BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES are also on the rise as seafood processors gear up for cod.

MEW GULL numbers are astronomically high this winter. Whereas some years it's hard to find a handful, this winter there are upwards of 800-1000 gulls lining the head of the bay, concentrating on the mouth of the Resurrection River. When stirred up by an eager eagle, it looks like a snow globe blizzard.

An adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported near Phoenix and Dora Way over the weekend, perched in a spruce tree. I have not yet seen it, but will keep looking.

Around January 22nd, the overburdened cottonwood branches bearing the famous, enormous BALD EAGLE nest near the intersection of Exit Glacier Road and the highway, snapped off. The nest crashed to the ground in smithereens. The eagles still frequent the area. We all hope they will rebuild nearby this spring.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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