Tuesday, June 2, 2015 THREE RED KNOTS!!!

Seward, AK

Sunrise 4:44 am, sunset 11:08 pm, for a total day length of 18 hours and 24 minutes. Tomorrow will be 3 minutes and 3 seconds longer.

After 5 days of sunshine with a record high of 78ยบ on Saturday, the clouds returned yesterday, and the temperature dove to a more normal low 50s. Rain, including heavy rain of more than 2.5”, and strong winds are in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, tapering to plain rain the rest of the week.

This afternoon, while conducting the COASST dead bird survey, I spotted three wary, medium-sized shorebirds feeding at the tidelands. One was very rufous-red, in full breeding plumage, the other two were more drab. I shot off several photos as they walked briskly away, then flew soundlessly down the beach and out of sight. My hope that these were RED KNOTS was confirmed when I returned to my car and checked the bird book.

This is the first documented sighting of a RED KNOT in Seward, as far as I know, and to have three here is extraordinary!

According to ADFG and USFS websites, this subspecies, Calidris canutus roselaari, migrates directly from its last stopover in Washington to Alaska, and thence to breeding grounds near Nome, the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, and to Wrangel Island, Russia. This is the only red knot subspecies known to nest in the United States.

Although much remains to be learned about this subspecies, banding has shown that it primarily uses a few stopover sites, including the Copper River Delta, during their northward migration along the Pacific coast of the Americas. Red knots are known to take long flights spanning thousands of miles, bypassing sites used in the spring while migrating south to Mexico, a few to the coast of Texas, and possibly farther south to South America.

Gee Whiz fact for Father’s Day: male Red Knots brood and defend their young, which leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching.

Tip of the day: Shoot first and ask questions later.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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