Friday, July 10, 2015 Summer Surging Along!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 4:51 am, sunset 11:14 pm for a total day length of 18 hours, 23 minutes. Tomorrow will be 3 minutes and 3 seconds shorter.

Highs today in the upper 60s, with a variable southerly wind and high overcast. It felt muggy, but we are wimps regarding heat and humidity, and thus unreliable. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain; temps in the 60s are in the forecast.

The RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS have fledged and are hitting feeders, sometimes in multiples. It is so fun to watch them! Cleaning and refilling the feeders for them is a joy.

Ava reports baby birds all around her place, as is the case everywhere, hanging around waiting for fast food delivery while they grow new feathers and molt. Frantic and disheveled songbird parents rush around collecting beakfuls of insects and invertebrates then dash back to stuff them down the throats of their hungry offspring. Eagles haul fish and discarded fish carcasses, maybe an unlucky gull or seabird. Arctic Terns dive for sandlance, dolly varden fry, and other salmonid fry to deliver to their waiting chicks. Ravens pilfer just about anything they can get, forgetting that a flashy piece of trash provides neither calories nor vitamins for their loud, squawking, ungainly youngsters.

This is a good time to remember that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits “taking” i.e. harming birds in any way. Disturbances to the nest sites, including tree and shrub cutting, should be postponed until after the babies have fledged.

The USFWS recommended guideline for restricted activity is May 15-July 15. I suspect many species may try for a second brood with such an early spring start. Photos or reports documenting birds nesting after July 15th would be helpful for their database. Contact USFWS Ellen Vance in Anchorage at 907-271-1467.

Bird song has tapered off considerably. Instead of multiples, there may be just one bird carrying the torch: SNIPE, PACIFIC WREN, VARIED THRUSH, HERMIT THRUSH, ROBIN, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, FOX SPARROW, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, and PINE GROSBEAK.

Shorebird migration is underway with many more WESTERN, LEAST, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS showing up every day. Some later nesting SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS are still tending to their babies, while others are already foraging. On July 6, five HUDSONIAN GODWITS stopped in to feed on their journey south. Kerry and Jim reported 2 BLACK TURNSTONES and 3 WHIMBRELS on July7. 

Seems like they just got here, and they’re already plotting to leave.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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