Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Robins, Warblers, and Snipe

Seward, Alaska

I wandered into a massive ROBIN gathering on this foggy afternoon. Small groups of 5-10 flew from one spruce top to the next and then launched across a clearing. Unless they were cleverly flying in a wide circle into the fog and behind my back to have another go-round, I counted at least 70 Robins, probably more, including many spotted juveniles. It was pretty amazing!

Mixed in were smaller birds, engaging in midair skirmishes. I followed a bunch down to an alder and when they popped up, I discovered YELLOW and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. Apparently, they didn’t care for each other’s company, and the chase continued around and through the branches. With the precision of Olympian divers, they launched upside down off the branches and briefly flew like that, still chasing and still mad.

A MERLIN suddenly materialized and barreled through the Robin party, scattering the hefty thrushes to the safety of the trees. The fleet falcon did not catch any dinner, and streaked away. A false peace ensued; with a raptor around, the birds can never really relax.  

A short time later, I watched 5 long-billed, chunky shorebirds fly up and circle around. I carefully tracked them down and found WILSON’S SNIPE probing the mud for grub in the company of LEAST SANDPIPERS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and AMERICAN WIGEON. MALLARDS and GADWALL, including almost grown ducklings, dabbled in the open water.

Also spotted were four SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and several SAVANNAH SPARROWS.

Not bad for a foggy day!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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