Sunday, January 15, 2017 Golden Eagle juvenile!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:45 am, sunset 4:30 pm for a total daylight of 6 hours and 44 minutes. Tomorrow will be 3 minutes and 58 seconds longer. The low today was 8 with a high of 27 as the dark clouds rolled in and spit snow flurries.

The National Weather Service posted a Winter Weather Advisory late today for up to 6 to 10” of snow, and blowing snow with gusts to 35 to 45 mph until 9 am Monday morning. The forecast is for partly cloudy and much colder temps, hovering around 10 with strong NNW winds, all week.

This afternoon at 3:30 pm, Tasha texted to alert me to a juvenile GOLDEN EAGLE along Airport Road. The last time we had a Golden Eagle, also a juvenile, in Seward was January 2015. The light on this gray, overcast day was increasingly dim, but I dashed out there. The north wind had increased considerably in the past couple hours, whipping yesterday’s fresh snow in horizontal sheets.

I was lucky to refind the beautiful eagle in the lee of a spruce grove. Passing RAVENS half-heartedly detoured to harass it, but seemed in a hurry to get to their nightly roosting spot. When the young eagle took flight and headed towards town, an adult BALD EAGLE swooped in and perched in its customary spot. Territories are established and defended; this newcomer will have a hard time squeezing in.

Tasha observed the young Golden trying to grab one of the numerous, tempting MALLARDS, and thought it might have except for the interference of the pesky Ravens. It’s hungry time and I hope this magnificent eagle succeeds in finding food.

Sadie reported a single GRAY-CROWNED ROSY FINCH feeding with the JUNCOS at her feeder in town. This is the first sighting all winter; we usually have at least a small flock by December. Perhaps the fresh snow on the mountains pushed it down to town.

The BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, about 13, are still in town, double-checking the almost depleted Mt Ash berries with PINE GROSBEAKS and at least 24 ROBINS. Even NW CROWS, RAVENS, STELLER’S JAYS and MAGPIES are nibbling at the remnant berries.

Ava’s Grosbeaks have switched to sunflower seeds, but I don’t know if the fruit-loving Waxwings and Robins can.

I got a glimpse of Ava’s ANNA’S yesterday and am so glad that he returned. Ava’s usuals feast on home-made suet, chunky peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and sunflower seed chips: DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS, BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, GOLDEN-CROWNED, WHITE-CROWNED, and SONG SPARROWS. A NORTHERN SHRIKE lurks nearby, keeping all the birds alert.

Along the Iditarod National Historic Trail, aka waterfront bike path it’s easy to find the small raft of 14 SURF SCOTERS with one male BLACK SCOTER, HARLEQUIN DUCKS, several RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, more numerous COMMON MERGANSERS, and COMMON and BARROW’S GOLDENEYES. Farther offshore are PELAGIC CORMORANTS, sometimes a couple COMMON LOONS, and even farther off, MARBLED MURRELETS. The gulls are mostly GLAUCOUS-WINGED, with an occasional MEW GULL.

I enjoyed a hike to Clemen’s Cabin on January 10. Along the winter route, I found GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, PINE SISKINS, COMMON REDPOLLS, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, RAVENS, a BROWN CREEPER, and a glimpse of a woodpecker that I heard drumming. It will remain a mystery to be solved. I was hoping for a Gray Jay near the cabin, but no luck this time.

Keep those feeders full; we’re in for a tough, cold, windy week.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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