Monday, January 15, 2015 First of Year Birds and then some

Seward, Alaska

Overcast with light sprinkles, north wind, and 48º today! This is a strange and scary winter: no snow, ice on lakes and ponds wavering between frozen and liquid, willows and alders are starting to bud out. Green grass is easy to find, and the rest of the landscape is shades of brown.

No Golden Eagle today for me, but the HOODED MERGANSER was back in the half open Lagoon, looking mighty pleased with himself, accompanied by an adoring COMMON GOLDENEYE female.

I added three species to my 2015 list today at the head of the bay: a single NORTHERN SHRIKE, just a glimpse and then gone; a single SNOW BUNTING, who should not be alone; and 7 ROCK SANDPIPERS feeding at the tide’s edge.

I capped off the dim but exciting afternoon with a visit to the Alaska Sealife Center. I felt like Aladdin in Ali Baba’s cave, so many riches and all mine for the taking! The pair of SMEWs are so interesting to look at; the male is simply stunning. And the KING EIDER is, a one little visitor called him, a “rainbow bird.” He purred and cooed like a dove, though the lovely females were not impressed. What a great place to see the adorable LONG-TAILED DUCKS up close, and watch the antics of the puffins.

I had to skip the seals and sea lions, (like Aladdin I couldn’t see everything), but the moon jellies were mesmerizing. What a tremendous, inspirational facility; the wonders of the ocean universe await your visit.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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