Sunday, January 22, 2017 Snowstorm and Hummer
Seward, Alaska

It started snowing on Friday and continued through Saturday night, dumping at least 30” of snow. After shoveling for the past 3 days, it seemed like a lot more! Apparently Seward was/is under an Emergency Declaration due to the difficulty getting the roads plowed. Yesterday the gas stations were closed and only two clerks made it to work at Safeway. Pretty bad! Today was lovely, sunny, and calm at my house though the north wind rattled down the bay.

While occasionally leaning on the shovel, I spotted a First-of-Year SHARP-SHINNED HAWK dashing through the yard. Later, ROBINS, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, and PINE GROSBEAKS checked and rechecked the Mt Ash trees for any possible remaining berries. Any trees with fruit are VERY popular for these fruit-lovers.

Two VARIED THRUSHES found sunseed chips, scattered in many layers in my feeder enclosure, also a dozen JUNCOS, and a SONG SPARROW. CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES found the whole sunflower seeds, and the DOWNY WOODPECKER checked out the suet. They did not appreciate my shoveling of the roof so close, but it had to be done.

I finally got my car out of my driveway late this afternoon, breaking through some drifts and berms. Fortunately, the roads were plowed by now, with giant berms, tall snow dividers down the middle of many streets, and mountains of snow piled on every corner. First thing, I checked on the town hummer feeder, wading past my knees in the drifted snow. The feeder was intact and the ports were liquid. I ticked for the hummer, but the snow-laden spruces remained silent.

Although the sun had just disappeared behind the western mountains, it was still light, so I headed to Ava’s Place. Fortunately, Ava’s Place was plowed. I pulled up and started scanning with my binocs. I found the little guy almost immediately, sitting on his favorite metal bucket on the shelf below the lighted feeder. Yay! Guess a major snowstorm doesn’t faze him, and maybe the warmer temperatures (low today 13, high of 22) are appreciated.

Instead of sitting there all fluffed up and despondent in the shadows, just out of reach of the racing north wind, he was actively preening like it was summer and he had a hot date. It was amazing to see that long bill reach down and adjust the belly feathers; his neck must have been uber-stretched to make it reach! So he preened, contemplated, and got ready for another long winter’s nap. It was such a relief and joy to see him!

The forecast wavers back and forth, but it looks like we’re in for warming temperatures (boo!) bringing wet snow or even rain. Monday and Tuesday call for 5 to 8” of snow, less than 1 inch on Wednesday when the temp hits 39, then 5 to 8” on Friday, 8 to 12” on Saturday, and then we shall see.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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