Saturday, February 8, 2014 Mobile Human Birdfeeder

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:54 am, sunset 5:30 pm for a total length of day of 8 hours and 36 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 16 seconds longer. The temperature rose from 25º to a very comfortable 35º, with a steady but moderate north wind.

Friday's blizzard warning was cancelled and Seward was spared the destructive high winds that hit Homer, Anchorage, and Mat-Su. Instead, the area received a dusting of snow, mostly less than an inch, with a strong north wind to repel the sky-to-sea invasion of storm clouds trying to advance from the Gulf of Alaska. Jupiter and a sprinkling of stars peeked through the thinning clouds by evening.

Bright Venus again proclaimed the imminent arrival of the Sun this morning. In the predawn twilight on the morning walk, a flock of about 12 ROBINS mobbed a small Mt Ash, suddenly popular due to the presence of its once-rejected berries. Apparently there are a few different varieties of Mt Ash; some are preferred over others when there is a choice. GROSBEAKS warbled from the treetops; vocal RAVENS flew from their hidden roosts to investigate the town hotspots.

Halfway 'round the block, I heard the cheerful call of a CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. I spied the little sprite quite close in the bare branchlets of an alder. Luckily, I still had some sunflower seeds in my pocket. I grabbed a handful and held them out. The chickadee wasted no time in flying to my hand where it flung a few rejects to the ground and selected one to go. After a minute, back it flew to choose another seed. What a great way to start the day!

It was too beautiful to stay inside so I soon headed to Ava's. Yesterday's storm brought 7 or 8 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and several OREGON JUNCOS back to her feeders. I hoped to see the Swamp Sparrow but it was quiet except for the usual DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS. I'll keep checking. One bonus was the male BELTED KINGFISHER perched on the powerline on Nash Road and Salmon Creek Road.

Over at Spring Creek Beach two paddleboarders stroked out into beautiful Resurrection Bay. Farther out was a mixed raft of SURF SCOTERS, COMMON MERGANSERS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS (just a few), PELAGIC CORMORANTS, HORNED GREBES, COMMON and BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, MEW and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, and a few BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. A sea lion leisurely cruised along the shore, its breath leaving a vapor cloud.

I glanced over at the eastern mountains at just exactly the right time to catch the growing moon peeking over the shoulder of a snowy mountain peak. It quickly rose over the snowy peaks like a helium balloon to adorn the blue dome into the starry night.

One last stop was to walk Chamberlain Road on the west side of the Lagoon to look for the reported GOLDEN-CROWNED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. The trimmed alder hedge suddenly came alive with little peeps, and once again, a bright-eyed CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE looked at me inquiringly. Do I look like a human bird feeder? I scooped up some sunflower seeds from my pocket and held out my hand. This time, two cute chickadees took turns selecting seeds. Such a light step!

A RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, caught up in the excitement, bravely landed on my hand, reconsidered, and flew back to the safety of the hedge. It must have been a male, he was so bright! After a bit, I kept walking and the chickadees kept following, accepting/demanding seeds at intervals. When I turned around to walk on the other side, there they were again! What a pleasure to walk along, with such fine company! I didn't find the sparrows, but did not mind a bit.

Other notes:
Two TRUMPETER SWANS were reported at the mouth of Salmon Creek; their freshwater options are very limited now that most ponds and wetlands are refrozen.

A VARIED THRUSH was spotted in the alley between First and Second, 400 block. Feeder activity is up with the lower temperatures and snow cover.

The WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was reported last Saturday at Lowell Point, and a second one has been seen at Raven Lane behind Spenard's Building Supply on Exit Glacier Road.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment