Saturday, October 29, 2016 White-throated Sparrows, Redheads

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:14 am, sunset 6:07 pm for a total day light of 8 hours and 52 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 14 seconds shorter.
Mild weather returned with clouds, light rain, and calm. The overnight low was 42º and the daytime high was 49º.  The forecast calls for continued clouds and rain with mid-40s temps through Wednesday, then a gradual slide to the low 30s.

The male ANNA’S materialized this morning shortly after sunrise at 9:25 and fed periodically throughout the morning. It then disappeared and a male Anna’s was reported this afternoon a block away, likely the same one. I suspect when the temperature warms up, he goes cruising.

The Burkes reported seeing a hummer at Benny Benson Park by Dairy Hill Lane on Thursday. This is close to the other hummer location on the Cliff, so maybe he was also cruising around. Ava still has her young male. The female has not been verified for a while.

A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, another bird listed as rare in the 2016 Checklist of Alaska Birds, showed up in town today. This species has become almost an annual occurrence in Seward, but it’s always special to find one. It was associated with a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW and two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. They hopped along a hedge of alders and short spruce and rested in the safety of a brush pile.

ROBINS and VARIED THRUSHES are feasting on Mt Ash berries. I encountered a large mixed flock in the alley, guzzling on berries. They were very skittish, however, and kept flying back and forth and away. With so many berries, they have a lot of places to dine. I heard the CEDAR WAXWING yesterday, but not today.

Friday, October 28:
Ava reported an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER a very late sighting. I spotted a COMMON LOON and, very exciting, a YELLOW-BILLED LOON at Fourth of July Beach. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a yellow-billed loon. It was far away, but I watched it eat a fat fish. In the alders along the way, a whitish bird flashed near the top. A NORTHERN SHRIKE! Another fine winter visitor. Bear Lake birder reported 17 TRUMPETER SWANS at 5:30 pm.

Wednesday, October 26: A SPRUCE GROUSE exploded off the trail at Two Lakes Park.

Monday, October 24: A new state bird for me, the REDHEAD! Thanks to Tasha for the heads-up! It was a cold and windy day, and the ducks were far from the public boat launch, but I got very good looks through my scope and camera. Bobbing in the waves with them were the much larger MALLARDS, tiny BUFFLEHEAD, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES, and an assortment of RING-NECKED DUCKS, including juveniles. I wonder if they nested here this summer? Thanks to Tasha for identifying the juveniles as they sure resemble Scaup to this untrained eye.

Also on October 24th, while searching for the Hooded Merganser at the Stash and Store pond, I heard and saw two RUSTY BLACKBIRDS flying into the wind.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter 

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