Thursday, March 5, 2015 Three-owl Evening

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:44 am, sunset 6:35 pm for a total day length of 10 hours and 50 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 30 seconds longer. Full moon tonight, shrouded in clouds.

With temperatures consistently in the 40s, overcast skies, and light rain showers for most of February and now March, winter seems stuck on April. Many native Sitka willows that should know better are budding out. Unmulched rhubarb is up, its stems a startling and hopeful magenta. Dandelions, of course, shot their leaves out weeks ago, willing to take the gamble. Who knows? These eager starters might win. There is absolutely no snow at sea level, and the surrounding mountains are bare more than halfway up. It is a very strange winter.

The long twilight makes for convenient owling. Tipped off by recent reports, I drove ALL the way out to Lost Lake trailhead at mile 6 Seward Highway this evening. At about 6:45 pm as the light seeped away, a PACIFIC WREN burst into full song from the edge of the parking lot, paused, flung its thrilling, burbling good night into the dusk, and fell silent.

Shortly before 7 pm, a WESTERN SCREECH OWL quietly called nearby, a distinctive rapid “bouncing ball.”  After a few more calls, the deepening twilight shushed. Not long after, I again heard the Screech Owl in the distance. It’s hard to know if there was more than one; it’s possible. More silence. Then again, close the parking lot, a GREAT HORNED OWL hooted in its deep low voice. Silence. Listening hard, I heard the faint but steady beeping of a little SAW WHET OWL far away. As the night began to settle down in earnest, I was content to leave and drive ALL the way home. It was a very worthwhile 12 mile trip.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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