Monday, June 5, 2017 last morning in Yakutat

Yakutat, Alaska

Annette of Leonard’s Landing kindly gave me a ride to the Yakutat Airport at 8:15 this morning. Close to the road by the Lodge, a Sitka Blacktailed Deer paused to look at us, then wandered off.

The airport didn’t open until around 8:30, so I enjoyed watching the BARN SWALLOWS swoop around the buildings and dash into their mud nests on the ends. As soon as possible, I checked my bags and then Mary Willson scooped me up for one last mini-field trip before the 11 am check-in.

We headed right for Cannon Beach, a superlative, fascinating place. This time, instead of walking along the bluff, we walked on the beautiful sandy beach to the old barge wreck about a half mile away. That thing is not going anywhere anytime soon!

On the way back, we saw two spouts and I finally got good looks at migrating Gray Whales, possibly a mom and calf. Unlike the Humpback Whale, there is no definite dorsal fin, just bumps. That was exciting!

We found Dungeness Crab claws and Razor Clam shells scattered along the sparse wrack line. Two CASPIAN TERNS flew overhead and called with their prehistoric voices.

Back up on the bluff, a FOX SPARROW perched at the tip of a young spruce, swaying in the breeze. A BELTED KINGFISHER sped past with a fat little fish in its bill. After he perched, he flipped it around to face head out, perhaps ready to feed a youngster. A TREE SWALLOW swooped overhead. Add BALD EAGLES (of course!) and a RAVEN.

Just before we came to the rusty WWII cannon, a large woodpecker flashed across the clearing and disappeared into the woods. I followed for a short distance, marveling at the low light levels. Almost nothing grew under these densely packed spruce except mosses and lichens. It was rather spooky!

We did a quick run towards Strawberry Point to see the beautiful Shooting Stars one more time. I was reminded of William Wordsworth’s poem,
“I wandered Lonely as a Cloud/The Daffodils”:
“I gazed and gazed, but little thought,
What wealth the show to me had brought…”

I’ll think back about all the fabulous birds, animals, people, scenery, and experiences I enjoyed at the Yakutat Tern Festival,
“and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.” (or Shooting Stars…”

The flight back to Cordova was fairly cloudy with peeks at the massive Malaspina Glacier, the enormous Bering Glacier, and the immense Copper River Delta. The clouds opened up a little more on the way to Anchorage, granting me a view of impressive Columbia Glacier which I had missed on the way out.

Soon the wind generators of Fire Island were below and the jet descended into the big city sprawled across the landscape. After a stop at Costco, I drove the 120 miles back to Seward, noting a pair of TRUMPETER SWANS with one year-old cygnet at the mile 15 pond. Hmmmm. Daddy’s Girl?

Welcome home!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Traveling Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

PS Not counting my mystery birds, Flame, or Ghost, I tallied 66 species!

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