Saturday, February 18, 2017 Un Audubon-Seward Field Trip Report

Seward, Alaska

Saturday was a gray though beautiful, calm day with occasional snow squalls and peeks of the sun to the north. The handful of intrepid birders who came down for the field trip noted that the stretch of highway between Anchorage and Girdwood was treacherous with many cars off the road, including one flipped over. Mile 12 to Seward was also dicey. Seward’s main roads were mostly plowed, but side roads were in process, and parking was nonexistent or limited. Lowell Point Road remained closed due to avalanches. Cancellation was a good call. But for those who came, might as well bird!

There were only a few places to park and bird, but they were hot. The Alaska Sealife Center parking lot afforded a great view of the mirror calm bay and a wonderful variety of seabirds. We saw at least 30 MARBLED MURRELETS, thanks to the calm water. Marine mammals included a pod of Steller sea lions, several sea otters, a harbor seal, and ta dah! a humpback whale! It is always thrilling to hear sea lions and whales breathe. A worried SONG SPARROW called from the 10’ high snow pile and from a nearby vehicle. Maybe he was concerned about where his beach rocks went.

On the way to Ava’s Place at the intersection of the Seward Highway and Nash Road, a beautiful female KINGFISHER perched on a wire overlooking a creek. Ava’s Place was extremely well plowed, and birdy. The heavy snow and subsequent avalanche off the roof buried the yard up past the porch railing, and many pounds of seeds. Ava said she's going through 60# a week! The ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD has not been seen for the past 3½ days, which is troubling. I hope he is OK!

One AMERICAN TREE SPARROW popped up a few times. PINE GROSBEAKS surged back and forth excitedly, taking the rest with the, including a bright ROBIN. I saw a possible Merlin in the area that might explain why they were so fidgety. PINE SISKIN numbers are way up from last week and were seen in several places around town. COMMON REDPOLLS, while far from common, are increasing as well.

The amazing TRUMPETER SWAN family of 2 adults and 3 cygnets flew down the Resurrection River for a quick view then disappeared. How wonderful to see them again!

33 species seen collectively on unField Trip:
Trumpeter Swan family of 5
Harlequin Ducks
Surf Scoters
Common Goldeneyes
Barrow’s Goldeneyes
Common Mergansers
Red-breasted Mergansers
Pelagic Cormorants
Bald Eagles
Mew Gulls
Glaucous-winged Gulls
Marbled Murrelets
Rock Pigeons
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers
Steller’s Jays
Black-billed Magpies
Northwestern Crows
Common Ravens
Black-capped Chickadees
Chestnut-backed Chickadees
Red-breasted nuthatches
American Robins
Varied Thrushes
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrows
Dark-eyed Juncos
Pine Grosbeaks
Common Redpolls
Pine Siskins

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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