Monday, September 17, 2018 Peregrine!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 7:32 am, sunset 8:15 pm for a total daylight of 12 hours and 43 minutes. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 24 seconds shorter.

Our glorious summer ended on Saturday as the gray clouds rolled in and temperatures dropped  from a high of 71ยบ on September 12 to high-50s. Partly cloudy with a small chance of rain and temps in the low 60s in the forecast for the rest of the week, then showers by the weekend.

This afternoon I checked out Afognak Beach at low tide, looking for the two GREATER YELLOWLEGS I saw on September 14. As I walked past the prominent point, I spotted a large bird perched at the usual eagle lookout tree. I almost kept walking, but something caused me to pause and take a look through the binocs. Large yes, but slender, small beak, streaky breast, moustachial stripes! Not an immature Bald Eagle, but a PEREGRINE FALCON! As I fumbled for my camera, the wary bird took flight, stroked rapidly away along the trees, and disappeared. THAT was quite a treat!

Several pairs of BALD EAGLES sat at the edge of the low tide, crying greetings as others flew past. In the still air, the water glassy calm, their wild voices carried a long way. Young birds perched here and there on driftwood, waiting and watching. Remnants of silver salmon carcasses dotted the stream, still providing food for the GLAUCOUS-WINGED, HERRING, and MEW GULLS.

Yesterday, at the same point, I heard MAGPIES chattering. They’re always up to something! Alerted, I then watched a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK dash through the spruce trees after the wily Corvids. It seemed to be the afternoon’s entertainment for one species, and a futile attempt to eat for the other.

Yesterday in town I heard a surprise RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET singing a partial song in my yard. ROBINS sang a full song, and VARIED THRUSHES sputtered like wheezy teakettles. JUNCOS flashed in the underbrush, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES “yank-yanked” from above, and CHICKADEES called to one another as they foraged. STELLER JAYS busied themselves planting peanuts in the yard. Though I listened for more migrating Sandhill Cranes, I did not have that pleasure. Many flocks have been reported since last weekend.

The resident TRUMPETER SWAN family has fledged! The six sleek cygnets, about 3 ½ months old, flew to the Lagoon in town on Sunday, then back to the Nash Road wetlands. I spotted them today at the Lagoon, feeding together, heads down, tails up, feet flailing the water for balance. What a beautiful sight! Now, with the deadly power lines gone, when they fly, they don’t die. I look forward to watching them in flight, all eight magnificent Swans, commuting around the bay. We are so lucky!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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