Wednesday, February 19, 2014 An Unexpected Magical Day

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:24 am, sunset 5:59 pm for a total day length of 9 hours and 35 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 25 seconds longer.

Seward received about 4 more inches of snow overnight. This continued into mid-morning with a parade of black squalls careening in slow motion from one side of the bay to the other, somehow heading north against the wind. Temps remained in the low 20s. The sun broke through by afternoon and in a 180ยบ switcheroo, turned the sky blue while the snow dazzled the eye.

Around noon, I headed out to the tidelands into the north wind, watching the smoldering squalls dance. As I rounded a point, a SHORT-EARED OWL shot out and blew towards the east side of the bay. Wow! The third owl species this week! I wonder if the crazy weather brought it here.

Shortly afterwards, about 50 SNOW BUNTINGS buzzed around me and landed nearby on the tideflats, pecking industriously at the water's edge. After several minutes, they undulated away in big swooping loops. I watched them land on the beach rye grass, hoping to shake a few more seeds off the almost depleted stalks. The pantry is getting bare.

I had almost finished my walk when I glanced up to see a dark eagle circling fairly low, almost overhead. Small head, long tail, white wing patches, white tail with a black band...Egad! a juvenile GOLDEN EAGLE!! Another total surprise! Those squalls certainly carried fantastic secrets!

Later in the afternoon around 4:45 pm, I picked up my mail. As I pulled out of the Post Office, a dark eagle circling high over town caught my eye. Sure enough, the GOLDEN EAGLE! I watched as it soared to the south, then imperceptibly worked its way back towards Bear Mountain. Snow streamers swirled from the glistening white mountains as the eagle disappeared over ridge to the Harding Icefield. What an incredible sight!

But the magic show continued! Around 9:30 pm, the aurora borealis flickered and glowed, waving its green curtain across the northern sky, now a bowl of sparkling stars.

It is hard to go to bed but I can hardly wait to find out what tomorrow will bring!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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