Wednesday, November 9, 2022 American Coot, and Eurasian Brambling!

Seward, Alaska

Cloudy, mostly calm, scattered showers, temps in the low 30s. Fresh snow on the mountains but not in town.

Thanks to Robin Collman, I was fortunate to see the AMERICAN COOT that he spotted yesterday, and a BRAMBLING that he found this afternoon.

The last report I have on a Coot is from last year on October 18, 2021 at Bear Lake, also first reported by Robin. It didn’t stay long. Today’s bird lingered in a tide-flooding finger of what locals call “Bufflehead Creek” at the Airport estuary after the more wary Bufflehead pair shot off. We only caught brief glimpses as it paddled behind the beach rye grass lining the banks, but the whitish-billed, dark-bodied member of the Rail family is very distinctive.

A Brambling was last seen at the December 19, 2020 Seward Christmas Bird Count with Juncos on Marathon Blvd behind Safeway. Today’s Eurasian bird favored the company of at least dozen ROBINS and VARIED THRUSHES dining on Mt Ash berries in the 200-block of Second Ave. They flew back and forth between tall and dense spruce and the tangled branches of the Mt Ashes.

A pesky STELLER’S JAY and nosy BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE harassed all the birds, making them spooky and hard to find. The Brambling was notably smaller than the chunky thrushes, but bigger than the stub-tailed RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH working the tree trunks. Two SONG SPARROWS called from a nearby fence line, staking out their territories.

Birds once again dazzled a few lucky birders and brightened a dim, rain-speckled day.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter



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