Friday, October 16, 2015 Fork-tailed Storm Petrels in Bay

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:39 am, sunset 6:45 pm, for a total day length of 10 hours and 5 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 23 seconds shorter.

After a few days of blustery north wind, and lows hovering around 40, the wind died away and it once again seems balmy at 50ยบ. Gray rainclouds merge sky, sea, and earth into a monochrome vista. Clouds march across the 10-day forecast with occasional glimpses of sun.

A huge storm out in the Gulf of Alaska pushed at least a dozen or more FORK-TAILED STORM PETRELS into the inner bay recently.  Flitting lightly like swallows over the calm water, they wove wide loops around and through the loose flocks of GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, MEW GULLS, and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. COMMON MURRES and PELAGIC CORMORANTS fished nearby.

Tasha reported the Alaska Sealife Center got their first Fork-tailed Storm Petrel of the season on October 13. Fortunately, they were able to refuel it and release it on the same day. Tasha also reported a male LONG-TAILED DUCK in the boat harbor, and a juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK hunting BARROW’S GOLDENEYES at high tide in Tonsina Creek.

The numbers of SURF SCOTERS and BARROW’S GOLDENEYES are increasing with small rafts of 18-24 each spotted off Fourth of July Creek, and another 20-30 goldeneyes off Lowell Point beach. Only a few HORNED GREBES have returned to overwinter in the bay.

It was a pleasure to see and hear BELTED KINGFISHERS rattling overhead at Lowell Point, the Lagoon, and Fourth of July beach, often in twos.

Unusual numbers of PACIFIC WRENS continue; I heard or saw 3 in my neighborhood, with reports of others around town.

The humpback whales sightings have diminished, with only one whale reported feeding along Lowell Point Road today.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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