Thursday, October 1, 2015 Three Golden Eagles!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:03 am, sunset 7:30 pm for a total day length of 11 hours and 26 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 25 seconds shorter.

Spectacular October day! A perfect day to hike Mt Alice. High of 46ยบ, clear skies and sunny most of the day. The strong NNE wind died about midday as a low slowly crept in, bringing wonderful calm at the top as the weather switched gears. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days.

The first eagle I saw was an adult BALD EAGLE, soaring overhead and then down into the Mt Alice valley. Far across the rocky alpine tundra to the south, I spotted another eagle. Fortunately, it sailed in my direction, then two more appeared. Soon all three were circling and soaring effortlessly overhead. Long tails and short heads: GOLDEN EAGLES! I only had my point-and-shoot to document them, one juvenile with white wing patches, and two dark adults. They patrolled the steep slopes and jagged peaks then disappeared over the next ridge. What a beautiful sight!

A RAVEN flew purposefully across, calling softly. It was so quiet on the mountain, I could hear the rustle of its wings stroking through the air. A PIPIT flushed up and away, showing its white outer tail feathers and calling. Overhead, I heard but did not find, a small flock of COMMON REDPOLLS. Below in a valley of scree, we heard something chuckling, then a white PTARMIGAN flashed across the rocks, just a dot bird.

I felt like an eagle with views of the sinking mountain tops of the Chiswell Islands in the Gulf of Alaska, Caines Head reaching out into the fjord of Resurrection Bay, Mt Marathon with tiny Seward hugging her feet, and the mighty Resurrection River valley extending  all the way to Kenai Fjords National Park. The creator of the valley and fjord, Exit Glacier, was tucked just out of sight. But the commanding views were that of majestic Mt Alice, rising to 5,265'.

Hiking down through the Mt Hemlock forest, I heard GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, and spotted a BROWN CREEPER working its way up the vertical, furrowed bark.

It is possible that the Golden Eagles might be seen from sea level with a spotting scope. Be sure to check out any large birds soaring high over the mountains. You too, might be lucky to spot the Golden Eagle family before they migrate.

Carpe Diem! 

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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