Saturday, November 15, 2014 Steller's Eider

Seward, Alaska

The Gulf of Alaska pulled back its puffy gray quilt last night. Orion the Mighty Hunter rose over the eastern mountains, accompanied by other sparkling winter constellations. A magical undulating aurora arced across the northern sky, silently shooting green spikes upwards through the Big Dipper.

This morning, hoarfrost embellished every rock and leaf, glittering until melted by the rising sun. Ghostly fingers of “sea smoke” wafted across the warm bay (52ยบ), releasing latent heat to the cold air.

It was a beautiful day to refind the STELLER’S EIDER, diving with HARLEQUIN DUCKS off Spring Creek Beach. The Harlequins seem to have completely accepted this unusual visitor. While other drake harlies chased each other around, squeaking like little chew toys, nobody chased the splendid Eider. A raft of BARROW’S GOLDENEYES paddled nearby, but did not mingle.

After not seeing the Eider for quite a while, it was a pleasure to watch him again, in full breeding plumage. I hope he stays for the Seward Audubon Christmas Bird Count on December 27th. Details to follow.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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