Wednesday, December 14, 2016 First Day CBC Count Week, 38 species

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:55 am, sunset 3:49 pm for a total day light of 7 hours, 49 minutes. Tomorrow will be 1 minute and 6 seconds shorter. Rain and show showers are forecast starting tomorrow for the rest of Count Week, including Count Day on Saturday.

The solemn gray blanket that rolled in yesterday afternoon from the Gulf of Alaska kept on rolling, leaving a clear sky for the sun to leap from the eastern mountains to the west. The low temp was 14º, the high was 26º at 1 pm. Out of the sharp north wind, it was a very pleasant winter day. 

Kerry and I birded from 11 am to 4 pm on this first day of the Seward Christmas Bird Count. We soon found the RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER diligently drilling holes in a frozen Mayday tree; such an optimist! Fortunately, he knew all about the frozen suet and feasted there often. A bright VARIED THRUSH (or two) seem to like following him around, perhaps hoping to score on suet scraps.

A pair of GREATER SCAUP dozed in the lee of the harbor Uplands with COMMON MERGANSERS and BARROW’S GOLDENEYES.

Two Steller Sea Lions popped up to breathe near a Sea Otter, COMMON LOON, and PELAGIC CORMORANT along Lowell Point Road.

Ava’s ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD zipped out to feed at the lamp-heated feeder under her carport. Ava did indeed find two flowers for the hummer, but he did not seem interested while we watched. After feeding and a quick tour of the front yard, he settled down on a freezing cold metal shovel and sat there for a long time, totally ignoring the heat wafting from the light. He’s a tuff puff!  The town Anna’s was also reported today, two tuff puffs.

At Carlyle Pond, three GADWALL, one male and two females, dabbled in the company of a dozen MALLARDS. Over at the tidelands, 30 ROCK SANDPIPERS huddled against the brisk wind, waiting for the tide to recede, one of the highest of the year at 13.7 feet.

I found a last minute AMERICAN DIPPER at the Sheffler Creek inlet of the otherwise frozen Lagoon, busily probing underwater. It paddled to the ice-shrouded shore and hopped up, round as a ball and stood there, not dipping. Then he roared off to the culvert calling loudly, and preened, getting ready for bedtime as the alpenglow tinged Mt Alice a delicate pink.

I checked the town Anna’s place and found a juvenile and adult WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, and the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. Nice finale to a beautiful day. Collectively, we found 37 species.

We did not find the two KING EIDERS reported later today on the eBird Rare Bird Alert that were found yesterday by the Alaska Sealife Center. I hope these are refound and duly noted for the Count. I’m sure we missed many more, but nonetheless, it was a great day to bird!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter


Chickadee, Black-capped                     ­­­                                    ­­­
Chickadee, Chestnut-backed                                       
Cormorant, Pelagic                                                     
Crossbill, White-winged                      ­­­                       
Crow, Northwestern                                                               
Dipper, American                                ­­­                       
Eagle, Bald adult                                                                                             
Goldeneye, Barrow’s                                                 
Goldeneye, Common                                                  
Grosbeak, Pine                                                           
Gull, Glaucous-winged X Herring hybrid      
Gull, Glaucous-winged                                               
Gull, Mew                                                                  
*Hummingbird, Anna’s­­­
Jay, Steller’s                                                                           
Junco, Dark-eyed
            Oregon                                                ­­­                       
Kingfisher, Belted                                                                              
Loon, Common                                   ­­­                       
Magpie, Black-billed                                                               ­­­
Merganser, Common                                                  
Merganser, Red-breasted                                            
Murrelet, Marbled                                                       ­­­
Nuthatch, Red-breasted                                              
Pigeon, Rock                                                              
Raven, Common                                                         
*Red-breasted Sapsucker                                           
Robin, American                                  ­­­                       
Sandpiper, Rock                                                         
Scaup, Greater                                                            
Scoter, Surf                                                                
Sparrow, Golden-crowned                                          
Sparrow, Song                                     ­­­                       
Sparrow, White-crowned                                            
Sparrow, White-throated                                            
Thrush, Varied
Waxwing, Bohemian                         ­­­                       
Woodpecker, Downy                                                                                                                         

Greater Scaup, male


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