Monday, October 20, 2015 Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Wrens, and Dippers

Seward, Alaska

The mirror-calm water of Resurrection Bay made it easy to spot several pods of Dall’s Porpoises yesterday.

Watery “footprints” revealed far-away porpoises as they traveled down the middle of the bay. Closer to shore, it was possible to see a bit of their white flanks and the frosty tips of their dorsal fins. Unlike the smaller, all-dark, quiet, harbor porpoises that were also spotted, the Dall’s porpoises often burst into a splashy show.

These are the speedsters that love to chase boats and play in the wakes. They are only found in the North Pacific, weigh between 290 and 490#, and can grow to 7 1/2′. Watch for the blow and splash of these cetaceans as they feed on herring and other small fish.

I happened to get a photo of the Dall’s porpoises with a FORK-TAILED STORM PETREL flying behind them. One flew very close to shore along Lowell Point Road. Another small group of 5 swooped and swirled like ghostly swallows near the boat harbor. A huge low is rolling across the Gulf with a plummeting 29.27” barometer forecast for October 28; maybe it will deliver more pelagic birds and cetaceans to the bay.

PACIFIC WRENS chip, scold, and even burst into song now and then. I usually hear at least one or two chipping at the base of Mt Marathon, and at Two Lakes Park. One recently visited my elderly elderberry and investigated the furrowed bark. Another scolded, just 10’ away, for a very long minute at Tonsina, reminding me of the circular breathing of a didgeridoo player. Others have reported them skulking around their homes near the forest. With all the reports from Anchorage and Homer, I wonder if their range is expanding, and if they will stay through the winter.

Also spotted at Tonsina, two DIPPERS racing down the creek. Just before dark around 7 pm, I heard a dipper singing its cheerful, bubbly song in duet with the murmuring creek at First Lake. What a delightful lullaby!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

UPDATE: I just deleted the wind current image because I learned that the amazing wind current website is copyrighted 2015 by Cameron Beccario. <> Wikipedia has a bit more information about Cameron.

If you click on the "earth" box in the lower left, it opens up to many more options of viewing wind currents at different heights, wave speed, surface temperatures, chemicals, etc of land and ocean in several choices of projections. To close the box, click on "earth" again. Truly a fantastic resource. 

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