Wednesday, June 11, 2014 Birding at Exit Glacier

Seward, Alaska
Sunrise 4:34 am, sunset 11:21 pm for a total day length of 18 hours 46 minutes. Tomorrow will be 1 minute and 39 seconds longer.  We're still gaining day length, but not by much, and not for much longer as summer Solstice rapidly approaches. Today was sunny with a maximum temp of 57ยบ. I appreciate our natural air conditioning especially when I hear about scorching, mind-melting temperatures elsewhere.

Tomorrow is the full moon. The forecast calls for partly cloudy with temps in the upper 50s and rain likely for several days.

Bird song has diminished considerably in town as the birds have settled down to nest and raise their families. Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park, however, is still full of songsters, though it's hard to actually find them. Seems like the trees themselves are singing!

The wetland/mixed forest area between Resurrection River bridge and the Welcome to Kenai National Park sign is a great place to hear warblers. I actually saw several YELLOW WARBLERS who don't seem shy about perching right on a treetop to sing. Such a bright yellow bit of the tropics! Several NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES sang back and forth, maintaining their territories. Try as I might, I could not find even one.

A PINE SISKIN, and a couple COMMON REDPOLLS actually showed themselves and called.

TOWNSENDS WARBLERS ,VARIED THRUSHES, HERMIT THRUSHES, a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, PINE GROSBEAKS, and a FOX SPARROW were heard closer to the more mature spruce forest on the east side of the river by the trail parking lot.

Walking back to the sign and along the Park trails, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WILSON'S WARBLERS, and ORANGE-CROWNED rounded out the warbler checklist. I did not hear any Blackpoll Warblers today.

I scored on thrushes this morning too. A fantastic, pure, solo by a HERMIT THRUSH concealed close by in a cottonwood, was riveting. I don't know how people can just walk past without pausing to appreciate his music. If he had a tip jar, I'd fill it up. I also heard a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH along the short trail to the Outwash Plain, and few distant SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, loud VARIED THRUSHES, and one plaintive ROBIN along the main trail.

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS swooped over the outwash plain, and a BALD EAGLE soared above the mountain peaks, possibly checking out the two Mt Goats resting below.

I invite you to enjoy a ranger-led walk, offered at 10, 2, and 4 daily. The 1 ½ hour tour goes very quickly and can add so much to your understanding of this amazing natural treasure, "America's best idea." Ranger-led walks are also offered to Marmot Meadows and farther up the Harding Icefield Trail. You can easily bird while enjoying the walk. Bring a friend!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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