Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Short-billed Dowitcher

Seward, Alaska

I was surprised to find a lone SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER today. If it was equally surprised, it didn’t show. Instead, the beautiful shorebird strolled casually beneath a nearby beach log, looked around at the scenery and then glanced nonchalantly back at me.

I crouched down to peek under the log and snapped some photos. Even that did not disturb the bird. After a short while, it walked a few steps farther from the log, and graciously let this paparazzi take a few more photos. Then, in a wink, “tu-tu-tu-tu!” off it flew. I felt grateful for this close encounter with celebrity.

Overhead, the ARCTIC TERNS were in full courtship mode, razzle-dazzling each other with their fishing expertise and aerial daring. A male delivered a long, skinny sand lance to his waiting darling with great fanfare. She accepted it, and then took the still-squirming fish for a flight-see. I doubt that this was its last wish, but what a way to go!

This observation, however, made me realize that not every fish-toting tern is a male. Very interesting! I also wonder if the sand lance are spawning now…

This evening, a female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD visited my feeder several times. When I changed the sugar solution yesterday, I was mortified to discover black mold in the plastic yellow flowers and on the bottom of the inside. No wonder the poor hummers had snubbed my feeder! I made haste to thoroughly clean it and refilled it with fresh solution. The reward was well worth it. I hope I never let that happen again!

The HERMIT THRUSHES have begun singing their lovely, peaceful, flute solos in the evening and early morning. In contrast, the tiny PACIFIC WRENS rattle off their frantic, take-a-breath-why-don’t-you song from dawn to dusk. No matter the style, every song is a welcome addition to this spring orchestra!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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