Tuesday, January 2, 2017 Banded Junco and more New Year Birds

Seward, Alaska

Another cold and clear, sunny day! I headed out again to see about checking off a few more birds. In the alley behind my house, I found the EUROPEAN STARLING with a bunch of ROBINS. Check, but not a happy check for this invasive species. I also found a single PINE SISKIN. Check! It’s so odd to only find one of these normally gregarious birds.

While trying to get a photo, a banded SLATE-COLORED JUNCO popped into the frame, a photo bomb. I had no idea it was banded until I reviewed my photos later in the evening. I wonder who is banding Juncos, where, and why?

The PINE GROSBEAKS were gorgeous in the morning light, busily juicing the frozen Mt Ash berries. The snow under the trees is red with their discarded berry skins and many seeds. It is interesting that they are so selective, slow, and messy whereas Robins and other birds eat the whole berries quickly and neatly. This could be a collaborative “Jack Sprat” situation to “lick the platter clean” if only another bird would eat the skins and seeds off the ground.

At the tidelands in the brisk north wind, I found the ROCK SANDPIPERS, about 33 with a few DUNLINS, feeding voraciously. Check! I did not conclusively find the Sanderling. It was fascinating to watch them, flying urgently from one area to another, feeding at the edge of the tide, then in a fresh water creek, and over to an ice-rimmed rivulet, their heads often totally underwater. I never did see what they found to eat.

The AMERICAN TREE SPARROW popped up at Ava’s. Check! A GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW scratched for grit under the carport just out of the sunshine, but its golden crown glowed. After a long while, the plucky ANNA’S again appeared and after a quick sip or two, sat quietly in the shade away from the 100-watt lamp on the ice-cold metal shovel. What a guy!

I looked unsuccessfully for the Red-breasted Sapsucker, but enjoyed a show of sprightly JUNCOS, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES, bossy RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, KENAI SONG SPARROWS, a DOWNY WOODPECKER, STELLER’S JAYS, and several pumpkin-orange VARIED THRUSHES.

My last stop as the light drained away was along Second Ave where I managed to get a photo of the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW when it briefly emerged from the alders as if to say “good night!”

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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