Monday, May 15, 2017 Exit Glacier

Seward, Alaska

Herman Leirer Road, aka Exit Glacier Road opened for the public all the way to the Nature Center on Friday. On a sunny, blue-sky Monday morning I drove out and walked to the Edge of the Glacier trail.

The cottonwood leaves had not yet emerged, but the reddish flower catkins were just expanding. Piles of moose pellets provided evidence of moose along the trails. As I walked, I heard and/or saw COMMON REDPOLLS, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, ROBINS, VARIED THRUSHES, HERMIT THRUSHES, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a DOWNY WOODPECKER, and a RAVEN.

I was surprised by the number of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS swooping over the Edge of the Glacier Trail, so close to the glacier. Must be insects up there!

I just missed seeing 3 black bear cubs sitting in the trees near the glacier. Apparently the momma got spooked by too much attention and all disappeared over the ridge.

I did see three mountain goats including one yearling kid, resting on the nearby mountainside. While scanning for the goats, I saw PTARMIGAN flying a short distance then landing, tiny white specks.

It was such a spectacular day, I returned in the early evening to look for bears. I refound the three mountain goats, actively grazing plus two more single mountain goats. Just below them in a ravine, a momma black bear slowly ambled upwards, her two yearling cubs following.

I found another single black bear feeding in a green patch of newly emerged vegetation, and yet another large black bear viewable from the parking lot.

It’s always a good time to visit our backyard National Park!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report

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