Tuesday, May 6, 2014 MORE Hudsonian Godwits!

Seward, Alaska

Eager to see the HUDSONIAN GODWITS in better light, I returned around 10:30 am. The temp was in the 40s, with spitting rain, gray skies, and poor light. Not a whole lot better than last night. But it seemed to have rained birds overnight! I counted between 35 and 40 GODWITS feeding and fussing in the fringes of the wetland ponds. It was simply amazing to see!

When the birds flew up, I could see the distinctive black tail and white rump, black wing linings, and thin white stripe on the wings. Many were in breeding plumage with a dark reddish chest. Others seemed more gray. Even in the dim light, I could see the long bicolored bill and white strip extending from the base, up and over the eyes.

Nate Senner, who for years participated in the Seward Christmas Bird Count with his family as a teenager, grew up to focus on the little-known long-distance migration and breeding success of this large shorebird for his Ph.D. project. There are several links on-line, including <http://www.crossingboundaries.org/nates-alaska-videos-1391.php> that has videos showing his team studying and banding Hudsonian Godwits near Susitna, Alaska. One of his data-logged female flew from here to overwinter 8000 miles away in southern Chile. It's just incredible that Seward is part of the migration route for these astounding birds, even for just a brief stopover.

Also seen were about 40 DOWITCHERS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 4 SANDHILL CRANES, many peeps including DUNLINS, 4 GREATER SCAUP, and a male EURASIAN WIGEON, and of course, lots of active ARCTIC TERNS.

Robin C reported the FOS WANDERING TATTLER at Scheffler Creek south of the harbor uplands.

At Lowell Point that afternoon, I finally found two COMMON LOONS, one in breeding plumage, the other still in winter plumage. Overall, loons have been very scarce this winter/spring. Nearby were about 20 BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, HARLEQUINS, 2 MARBLED MURRELETS in breeding plumage, and 3 PIGEON GUILLMOTS in breeding plumage.

Cottonwood flowers littered the ground, and the sweet, pungent spring perfume filled the moist air.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Rerport Reporter

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