Friday, February 3, 2017 McKay’s Bunting

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 9:05 am, sunset 5:18 pm for a total day light of 8 hours and 12 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 6 seconds longer.

Brilliant sunshine continued accompanied by the anticipated chilly north wind. Temps ranged from a low of 23 to a mid-afternoon high of 29º. Out of the wind, the sun felt warm, though the crusty snow refused to soften. The forecast for Saturday predicts a high of 38º which may create bonus bird baths everywhere.

I blew out to the head of the bay today on my kick sled. The tide was way out and few birds were seen. But sometimes, one bird is enough. Today that bird was a McKAY’S BUNTING. I believe she is a female, unless someone wants to correct the ID and/or gender.

I was struck by how white she was, an elegant minimalist with just the right touches of contrasting colors: bright orange bill, shiny black eyes, daubs of light brown on the head, delicate black streaks on the back (first year bird?), black-tipped primaries, black central tail feathers (white rump), and black legs with long-toed black feet.

She didn’t seem to mind this paparazzi quietly shooting photos, and when I was satisfied, I remained sitting on my delightful kick sled chair (so convenient for birding!) and let her choose when to leave.

On the way back, I refound a single SNOW BUNTING that I photographed yesterday. Considerably darker, it served as a nice comparison to the McKay’s.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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