Monday, December 21, 2015 Winter Solstice
Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 10:01 am, sunset 3:50 pm for a total day length of 5 hours and 49 minutes. Tomorrow will be ONE second longer. Enjoy that!

Beautiful Winter Solstice Day today, 25ยบ with a bit of north wind. The luminous globes of Venus and Jupiter shone like brilliant ornaments with a much fainter Saturn and Mars strung on the same line arcing across the southern predawn sky.

A patchy quilt of blue-gray-gold clouds steadily crept north from the Gulf of Alaska, briefly sprinkling a few snowflakes. The sun poked through a few holes to spotlight the surrounding mountains. The cloud quilt didn’t quite tuck in the southern horizon, and there the sky glowed with the sun’s golden, shimmery, Winter Solstice dance.

I was again surprised to see even more COMMON MURRES flying in large numbers and many flocks. Many flocks numbered over 100, flying in long skeins low over the bay or high over the near shore like gulls. It was really unsettling to watch them frantically streaming north, then back south, back and forth, never landing.

I parked by Fourth of July Beach and intercepted waves of COMMON REDPOLLS flying from one alder patch to the next, stopping only briefly to eat a few seeds, and then off again. I estimate at least 100. A few minutes later, there were none in sight or sound. It’s easy to miss a lot of moving birds unless your timing is serendipitous.


Over at the Red-breasted Sapsucker location on Benson Dr, I did not see any action and the sap holes did not look very fresh. It sure would be amazing to find him, as did Homer for their recent Christmas Bird Count. How could sap flow and sustain a bird in this cold weather?

I spotted one GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH at the “Accentor House”, the DOWNY WOODPECKER, 2 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and the tail-less BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, still looking lively.

Five ROBINS were reported in the 300 block of Second, the first anyone has seen in a long time. I’ll be looking for them tomorrow with my extra 1 second of daylight!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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