Monday, April 28, 2014 Hummer Alert and Migration Report

Seward, Alaska
Sunrise 6:02 am, sunset 9:49 pm for a total day length of 15 hours and 47 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 18 seconds longer. Low 37º, high 50º with a south wind. Warmer temps in the forecast up to 65º by Saturday. Wow! That's like summer!

Sprinkly squalls on and off all day today from a blue sky ringed with innocent-looking clouds. Though it "rained" it wasn't very serious and nothing really got wet. Luckily, it was just enough to light up a beautiful morning rainbow in Lowell Canyon to the west, and a full evening 'bow  over Mt Alice to the east. What a stunning pair of bookends for the day!

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD ALERT! Sightings from just out of town were reported yesterday from Camelot, Afognak Beach, and Ava's. I thought I heard a "zip-zip-zinnnnggggg!" from Two Lakes Park in town today. I cleaned my 3 feeders with hot water and soap while 4 cups of water boiled. Though I understand boiling the water is not necessary, there is no harm and it makes the 1 cup of white granulated sugar dissolve quickly and thoroughly.  It also helps remove the chemicals from city water. Note: there is no need to add red food coloring. This could harm them, and is totally unnecessary. Be sure to keep the sugar solution fresh and the feeders clean, especially that nasty black fungus.

VARIED THRUSHES sing loud and clear from predawn to dusk throughout the area. ROBINS hop across faded lawns and sing, though not as lustily or often as their orange-breasted cousins. Last night, a sweet Robin song overlapped the steadfast beeping of the Bear Mt SAW-WHET OWL. I sure hope he finds a mate soon!

BALD EAGLES have been busy collecting monster talon-grabs of grass and even seaweed from the beach to line their massive nests. They are very enthusiastic about this task, crying loudly to one another as they score on yet another fine load.

"My" RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET returned to tumble through the budding willow in my yard this afternoon. He's so light, it doesn't seem to matter that he doesn't grip the branches. In contrast, a sturdy RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH stuck like a magnet to its branch, working methodically up to the end. A bright CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE seemed content to just sit and watch the show.

Saturday, April 26th was a phenomenal day for migration. Wave after wave of SANDHILL CRANES, CACKLING GEESE, CANADA GEESE, and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE flew against a strong and chilly north wind up Resurrection Bay and over Seward. What a thrill to hear their faint, excited cries then to search the gray clouds and spot the tiny specks moving steadily closer! Then the air was filled with the din of their mingled music as they passed overhead or across the snowy face of the mountains, on around through Resurrection River valley and northwards, ever north!

In between the crane waves, I heard a low, growly voice, vaguely familiar. I searched for the makers with my binocs and confirmed a flock of about 15 BONAPARTE'S GULLS, nattily attired in white with a black head and a touch of black on the wings. Such a pretty gull!

GREATER YELLOWLEGS flew overhead; their numbers continue to increase daily along with a smaller number of LESSER YELLOWLEGS. The completely thawed pond hosted NORTHERN PINTAILS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GADWALL, MALLARDS, AMERICAN WIGEON, one pair of EURASIAN WIGEON, 2 pairs of NORTHERN SHOVELERS, and a few GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE.

Sunday, April 27
FOX SPARROWS suddenly appeared in my yard, hop-scratching in the underbrush like they had never left. A resident SONG SPARROW lit up the morning with his cheerful song.

More flocks of SANDHILL CRANES flew over town. I spotted first-of-season SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERS (2) foraging at the beach, FOS LEAST SANDPIPERS (5) in the wetlands, a mixed flock of about 20 AMERICAN PIPITS and LAPLAND LONGSPURS in the beach ryegrass. They disappeared instantly, perfectly camouflaged in the bleached dead vegetation. FOS (for me) SAVANNAH SPARROW at Fourth of July Beach, posed calmly on a driftwood log.

Three-spine sticklebacks are a perfect size for so many birds, including the ARCTIC TERNS and YELLOWLEGS. The plucky little fish look so defeated as the triumphant birds haul them off or gobble them down, spines not-withstanding.

The two SWANS are still at the Mile 1 wetlands on Nash Road. I am currently undecided as to which species and hope to get more photos.

Spring has certainly sprung!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment