Wednesday, November 9, 2016 Rock Sandpipers and Dunlins

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 8:43 am, sunset 4:39 pm Alaska Standard Time, for a total day light of 7 hours and 56 minutes. Tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 55 seconds shorter.

On this mild, calm day, light rain morphed into heavy rain by evening. Continuing heavy rain is forecast with lows in the high 30s and highs in the mid 40s for the next week. Bah!

After the terrible election results last night, birding was a perfect antidote. I celebrated refinding all five resident Trumpeter Swans, including Daddy’s Girl feeding close to her daddy. They had successfully flown from the Lagoon, where they have been delighting passersby for the past several days, to the pond at the head of the bay. The three remaining cygnets look healthy and strong. Such excellent genetics and parents!

At the tidelands, I noticed two juvenile MEW GULLS feeding at the edge of the tide. Nearby was a busy flock of 25 sandpipers! I was able to edge close enough to get photos and a better look without making them fly. At least 4 DUNLINS fed alongside the two subspecies of ROCK SANDPIPERS, all in winter plumage.

It was fun to hear them chattering as they rapidly probed the silty mud for lunch. Brief squabbles broke out over favored dining spots or personal space, hard to tell. It was such a pleasure to welcome them back to Seward, and I hope they stay for the winter, or at least until the Christmas Bird Count on December 17.

I labeled my photos to identify the Pribilof and the Aleutian subspecies; if anyone has corrections, please let me know.

The juvenile male ANNA’S HUMMER seems to be spending most of his time at my neighbor’s down the block. When I have seen him briefly, he zooms off in a diagonal beeline for her unheated feeders. With the warmer temperatures, and his apparent distain for creature comforts, I turned off the light. I keep the 4 watt nightlight feeder warmer on in case he changes his mind. What a tough puff!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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