Tuesday, November 3, 2015 Swamp Sparrow!

Seward, Alaska

Fresh, lacy snow on the mountains, cold, spitting rain and strong NNW winds greeted the dawn; not an auspicious start to what turned out to be a fabulous day.

I was astounded to see the sky clearing by 10 am, and shot out of the house, heading to Lowell Point. The wind, gusting to 33 mph, whipped the bay into a froth of white caps. Fortunately, Lowell Point was a tad protected, but I took advantage of the car as both a blind and a shelter.

Cruising slowly down Pinnacle View Drive with the windows down, I looked and listened for the telltale DARK-EYED JUNCOS. As I turned and drove down Beach Drive, I pulled over and stopped as several Juncos flitted in the alders and across the street. More and more crossed, including several striking Oregon Juncos, for a total of about twenty.

Suddenly, there it was! The SWAMP SPARROW hopped down from the alders and started picking through the gravel in a driveway. Even in the shaded light, the rufous on its crown, wings, and tail stood out. It seemed quite at home, and well-accepted by the Juncos. Smart bird, to associate with a flock of locals for protection.

The flock was on the move, and soon flashed away.

Over by the Lowell Point State Recreation Site parking lot, I also found the first PINE SISKINS of the season, about ten, also feeding on alder seeds. It was nice to see them again.

About an hour later, I repeated my cruise loop, but did not find any Juncos or the Swamp Sparrow. There’s a lot of serendipity to birding!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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