Wednesday, April 1, 2015 Trumpeter Swans in the snow

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:22 am, sunset 8:41 pm for a total day length of 13 hours and 19 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 29 seconds longer.

The weather pulled a fine April Fools’ joke this morning with a little snowstorm. It snowed enough to refresh the mountains’ dignity, surprise the colorful crocuses, tick off a disapproving ROBIN, and coat everything white. Fortunately, the joke was short-lived and by early afternoon the clouds parted to reveal a startling blue sky and a smiling sun. Maybe that was just another bad joke; a few hours later the clouds ganged up. Scattered snow and rain showers are in the forecast until Friday. Ha, ha.

On Monday, Joe was barely back when he found 2 FOS AMERICAN PIPITS on Monday. Many more NORTHERN PINTAILS have arrived, sharing the wetlands with a pair of GADWALL and MALLARDS. 

Tuesday on the Tonsina Trail, I flushed a non-migratory SPRUCE GROUSE eating gravel. As it flew to the safety of the trees (spruce of course) it fanned its black tail with a chestnut brown band. I spotted a COMMON LOON far out from shore, a rare sight all winter.

Today at Ava’s Place, I spied the PURPLE FINCH, looking much the same as it did all winter. PINE SISKINS and PINE GROSBEAKS still dominated the feeders and seed on the ground with DOWNY WOODPECKERS zipping in and out from the suet feeders.

At the tidelands, I saw four likely PIPIT suspects but they were too far to verify. It was easy to spot the four newly arrived, brilliant white TRUMPETER SWANS that joined the two local cygnets to rest and feed in the sn’rain. 

The 9-month old light gray cygnets won’t be ready to breed until they are two years old, but maybe they will migrate to new territory with other swans. Mom and dad reign over their nesting area at mile 1 Nash Road and seem to have said adios to their beloved and well-cared for 2014 kids.

During that brief break in the clouds, I watched five more snow-white TRUMPETER SWANS fly overhead with strong, steady wing beats, honking softly, discussing travel plans. What a gorgeous sight against that blue-sky window! Apparently they decided to push north, ever north.

Spring migrants are on the way and that is no April Fools!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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