Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Owls and Swans

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:39 am, sunset 8:01 am for a total day light of 12 hours and 22 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 24 seconds shorter as we approach the Autumn Equinox on September 22.

A huge storm arrived in Seward this evening bearing heavy rain and strong winds. There is a high wind warning and a flood advisory until Thursday with locally heavy rain totals expected between 3 and 6” by 10 am Wednesday. O boy!

I wonder if the owls knew about this storm. Yesterday at about 6 pm, I heard a GREAT HORNED OWL hooting softly from the mountainside. That is unusually early! He continued all evening, but when I checked around 11 pm, a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was tooting instead! First time this fall, and unusual that he would let the Great Horned Owl, a known predator, know his location. Very strange.

Five “new” adult TRUMPETER SWANS arrived yesterday at Preacher Pond, just north of Seward. Such beautiful birds! They spent much of their time feeding on the pond vegetation. Then one or two sat on a sunken log and preened, dipping their black bill into their reflection like an ink pen. Lovely white feathers drifted away like little boats.

Two of the swans shared head-bobbing to communicate a change in routine to move to a different spot to feed. These may be a pair. Another swan reached out to poke another swan who was apparently too close, otherwise they all seemed very compatible.

Two juvenile BALD EAGLES circled hopefully above then perched in a nearby spruce, peering down and fantasizing the feast feeding peacefully beneath. No chance!

I checked the Nash Road wetlands and found a single adult swan sitting on the nest site. Maybe this is the “sweet swan” that wanted so much to come home.

Today, in a lull between scattered squalls, I refound the five swans at Preacher Pond. Two more Trumpeter Swans graced the pond at the head of the bay, and the resident swan family with its five cygnets reclaimed the Nash Road wetlands. A fine total of 14 swans in all: nine adults and five cygnets. I truly think that these swans, or most of them, may all be related, but we will never know.

Listen to Richard Nelson's Encounter episode about Trumpeter Swans and apt description about "double beauty" at 

Meanwhile, Tasha reported a juvenile SABINE’S GULL between the seafood processing plant on Lowell Point Road and Lowell Creek. I checked, but only found BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, MEW GULLS, and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, with maybe a few HERRING GULLS or hybrids here and there, bobbing on the surf.

This storm, funneling such strong wind from the south, may indeed sweep more great birds to Seward and beyond.

Hold on to your hat!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment