Seward, Alaska

Uber-Birders, Thede Tobish, Luke DeCicco, Nick Hajdukovich and Scott Shuette pulled into Seward today to do a little serious birding after the big storms. At their second stop on Dairy Hill Lane between the horse corral and the Benny Benson Park Lagoon, Nick discovered a bright male CAPE MAY WARBLER. This is the first sighting for the Kenai Peninsula.

In June 16, 2013, a single bird was found near McCarthy and a pair of Cape May warblers was discovered a week later. The species is listed as Casual in the 2014 Checklist of Alaska Birds, which is more rare than a Rare bird, noted as "not annual; these species are beyond the periphery of annual range, but recur in Alaska at irregular intervals usually in seasonal and regional patterns."

Aaron Lang posted photos from Gambell on September 8, 2012 on his blog at

But enough of the statistics! If you come, park at the Benny Benson parking lot, then stroll over to the north side of Dairy Hill by the horse corral. Look in the alders and willows for a bright yellow warbler flitting from twig to branch. Thede suggested that this species would be attracted by a suet feeder and might even be persuaded to remain for the winter. I will try to get a suet feeder in place.

While you are in Seward, look for the male STELLER'S EIDER on the east side of the bay, the male RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER in the alley between First and Second Aves by Jefferson Street. Thede reported a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW in the alley too.

Thanks, guys, for the Life Bird!

Good luck and Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

Cape May Warbler: Setophaga tigrina
According to the websites, the species was first collected in Cape May, New Jersey in 1811, and was not seen in again in that area for 100 years. The species name, tigrina refers to the thin, black stripes on the throat and breast like a tiger. 

The species prefers eating spruce budworms (yea!) in the boreal forests of Canada and northern USA in the summer. It migrates to southern Florida and the West Indies for the winter. There it collects nectar (!) with its unique curled, semitubular tongue. That is amazing!
Cornell: All About Birds

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