Sunday, October 2, 2016 Three Anna’s Hummers!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:07 am, sunset 7:24 pm for a total day length of 11 hours and 17 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 25 seconds shorter. Overcast with sprinkles today with a low of 44º and a high of 51º and calm. Termination dust decorates the peaks of all the higher mountains, and is dramatically lower on the mountains to the north. Still, the grass in town is green and the nasturtiums and geraniums are bright and hopeful.

I am working on my notes and photos from a recent fabulous trip to Kodiak and will post those when I get caught up.

Meanwhile, it is extremely unusual and exciting that three ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS are currently in Seward: the continuing male at Ava’s Place, and two female-types in town. I have not been able to document the two in town, but received photos showing the tail extending past the wingtips, and assurances that there is no rufous coloration. As the weather gets colder, it will be interesting to see how long they are seen.

On Monday, September 26, a very camouflaged, eared owl was reported from the Jeep Trail, sitting on a branch up against the trunk of a spruce tree about 20’ up. The observer noted a light colored spot on the middle of the chest. He did not think it was a Great Horned Owl. Remarkably, he got a “bad cell phone photo” and I agree that it does not look like a large, bulky GHOW. The tail, however, does seem to extend farther than a Western Screech Owl and shows a banded feather. I’ll keep listening for more clues!

On my first morning back on Wednesday, September 28, I found fresh moose tracks along First Avenue. A small black bear was reported at the base of the Mt Marathon Hiking Trail aka Jeep Trail in the afternoon. And at 9 pm, a neighbor reported a SAW-WHET OWL on the ground next to my driveway. By the time I rushed outside, it was gone, but I noticed a small bird dashing from one spruce to the other, landing with an undignified clatter of feathers, perhaps spooked by the little owl.

On Thursday, September 29, I found two Trumpeter Swans at Tern Lake, the continuing COMMON LOON adult with a large juvenile, and several unidentified ducks. As the snow descends the mountains and ice seals the lake, these lingering birds will have to migrate.

Yesterday I spotted the FOS BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, only three, but a pleasure to see at Fourth of July Beach. Ten SURF SCOTERS formed a tight raft nearby, and a single RED-NECKED GREBE in winter plumage bobbed in the waves off shore. Our winter seabirds are coming home!

The resident TRUMPETER SWAN family fed at the rear of the Nash Road wetlands, holding steady with five cygnets. Three more adult Trumpeter Swans graced Preacher Pond near the intersection of Nash Road and the highway. While I was away, I received several reports of 11 swans at Preacher Pond, including the family.

A visit to Exit Glacier turned up 12 COMMON REDPOLLS. The cottonwoods framed the outwash plain with a golden blaze of color, even as their leaves reluctantly sailed to the ground. The toe of the glacier is receding rapidly, an alarming and simultaneously fascinating sight.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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