Saturday, January 28, 2017 Anna’s Hummer still humming!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:19 am, sunset 5:02 pm for a total day light of 7 hours and 42 minutes. Tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 52 seconds longer.

After the big snow dump, officially noted as 32”, the temperature rose to 39º.  Instead of snow, rain mixed with sleet pelted down, turning the snow to concrete and the streets to ice. On Wednesday, the unusual weather brought lightning and thunder at 11:30 am, followed by more hard rain with winds from the south. Very turbulent, crazy weather!

So, how did Seward’s smallest celebrity fare through all this? Quite well, thank you! I popped in at Ava’s Place when I could and found him as perky as ever. He has now endured up to18-hour nights with temps as low as 3º, brutal winds and wind chill, light rain to hard rain, sn’rain, sleet, and heavy snow; and other conditions I cannot imagine. What a champ!

This afternoon, he zipped over to inspect the trunk of the Mayday tree, possibly searching for insects, checked out the suet feeder without feeding, sat on a small branch for a brief minute for his fans, then zoomed away at top speed and disappeared around the house.

Ava noted that he seems to be cruising more, flying across the river, or over to the neighbor’s feeder, but he always comes home. When it was really cold, he did snuggle up to the 100-watt lamp at night. Smart move!

As nothing, not even a hummer, can subsist on sugar solution alone, Ava is now providing dried mealworms/grubs packaged for chickens that she pulverizes then stirs into a regular sugar solution. She dips the bottom of the hummer feeder into the solution and (when the temps allow) lets it freeze. The hummer knows where to find this protein-rich treat and hovers under the feeder to eat. He is a very lucky little guy!

I’ve only heard him ticking this winter, but Ava said he is singing his buzzy little song again, and even confronted her decorative hummer hanging from the porch. Life is good!

As the Mt Ash berries in town have all been devoured, the Robins in town have dispersed; I even watched several hopping through the plowed snow chunks along the waterfront, possibly eating sand bits. 

A few fortunate VARIED THRUSHES and ROBINS found Ava’s Place, where they too enjoy the dried grubs, suet, and sunseed chips. PINE SISKINS numbers increased from just a few over the last week to about 50 today, mingling with the PINE GROSBEAKS, and adding their buzzy “Zzzzzzzzzzip!” to the chorus.

I received a late report of the RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER that was spotted 4 to 5 days ago, back at the Mayday tree and feeders in the neighborhood near the schools. I wonder where he has been hiding as I have not seen or heard any reports since late December.

On January 23, I surprised a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK on a recent passerine kill in the neighbor’s driveway. I did not want to disturb the diner any further and did not get to see what was on the menu.

On January 26, a CRESTED AUKLET was reported near the Alaska Sealife Center. I have looked several times without success; it would be fun to see it.

On January 27, I discovered a small earthworm wriggling slowly across the crusty snow. Like the rest of nature, he’s a pretty tough little invertebrate to survive this weather medley.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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