Tuesday, March 8, 2016 Pintails, Gadwall, and juvenile Shrike
Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:33 am, sunset 6:44 pm for a total day length of 11 hours and 11 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 31 seconds longer. Thin ice that formed in puddles overnight melted by midmorning as temps rose from 32 to 44ยบ, no wind. Peeks of the sun in the forecast for the next two days.

The rain paused today and even let a few shafts of sunlight touch the ground. Blooming crocuses, budding blueberry flowers, and pussy willows vote for spring! As for the happy little DIPPER, it sings all winter, so that vote counts for joy.

The first of season NORTHERN PINTAILS arrived recently, represented by two very handsome drakes. GADWALL numbers rose to 3 pairs, and the pair of GREEN-WINGED TEAL are still here, all mingling with the overwintering MALLARDS. The GLAUCOUS GULL is still here as well.

While driving along the highway, I spied a bird perched on a power line in an odd place for a Kingfisher. I did an errand, and on impulse, decided to go back to check it out. Fortunately, the little guy was still there, preening, and looking around.

The light and angle were tricky, but it sure looked like a juvenile NORTHERN SHRIKE with a soft brown head, faint eye mask, and fine barring on his fluffed out belly. Its hooked bill looks too long to be a Brown Shrike, the other possibility.

I wonder if shrikes nest in the winter, where the nest is, how old this juvenile might be, and how far from the nest did it fly?

With spring in the air, anything is possible! (See rare white Flamingo below.)

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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