Monday, April 21, 2014 Black-bellied Plovers and DC Cormorants

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 6:22 am, sunset 9:32 pm for a total day length of 15 hours and 9 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 23 seconds longer.
First day of summer! Or at least it was a remarkable imitation. It seemed much warmer than the official 55ยบ.  The unblemished blue dome graciously allowed complimentary puffy white clouds to adorn its perfection. The snowy mountains, gleaming in the sun, kissed the sky. Buds swelled, vigorous green leaves shot through the brown turf, anxious to get going. Milbert Tortoiseshell butterflies emerged in numbers, so bright and beautiful.
Mostly sunny is forecast for the next few days, then rain and a chance of snow by the weekend. Go figure. It can't last.
Recently arrived and First of Season, a pair of elegant, breeding-plumage BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS dared to land in Mew Gull territory, i.e. the whole beach. The mew gulls lurked nearby, more like bouncers than bodyguards. Occasionally, a gull nonchalantly eased closer and closer, then suddenly struck out with its bill, making the alert plover move off. The tired migrants really had to watch out for these tin-horn tooting bullies.
Two ravens raced overhead, performing a high-speed chase mixed with acrobatics that included flips, flying upside down, and 360 synchronized spins. Raven sure know how to celebrate!
Four BALD EAGLES, perhaps inspired by these commandos, chased each other across the sky, throwing in a few spins and talon-to-talon flips.
Cruising past the old pilings south of the Uplands, I spotted two large black cormorants, yellow-faced with sea-green eyes and poufy eyebrows. FOS DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS! What a nice surprise! The nearby MEW and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS did not disturb their preening, nor did the newcomers relinquish their chosen roost. It must help to be bigger.
While scanning the mountains for mountain goats and bears, I noticed black specks like fruit flies swarming above the rugged peaks. I counted over 30 RAVENS soaring and sailing on the afternoon breeze. My theory is these are female ravens on a freedom flight, all taking a break from incubating those darn eggs while the sun kept them warm. Who knows? Why not!
Like Mario collecting gold coins, I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter 

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