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1225Seward Merlins

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  • c_griz
    Aug 1, 2006
      August 1, 2006
      Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report
      50s, overcast skies, scattered showers in the forecast. Everything is delightfully GREEN,
      accented by glowing flowers and ripening berries. 16 hours, 50 minutes of daylight;
      tomorrow will be 4 minutes and 55 seconds shorter.

      A family of extremely vocal MERLINS is zipping around the neighborhood between the
      Seward High School and the cemetery. I wonder if the school security host in their RV, or
      people passing by to use the pool, have any idea that these special birds are here. As I
      watched them recently, three sat quietly near the top of a spruce, then one fluttered off,
      leaving two expectantly waiting, apparently watching for food service. After a short while
      all were in the air, moving to another tree, crying loudly, before they disappeared.

      I fear that this family was the victim of a cat killing as a nearby neighbor confessed that
      earlier this summer his cat delivered a young, unidentified raptor. What a needless loss!

      On a brighter note, yesterday while hiking in the coastal mountains, my joyful singing was
      abruptly stilled as I suddenly noticed a petite feathered rock, quite close by. I knelt down
      and was thrilled to observe a female WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGAN mottled dark brown and
      white, watching me. I felt that I could reach out and touch her. A slight movement directed
      my attention to her chick, not 6 feet away, also frozen. Even though I raised my voice and
      made hand signals to the good dog to sit-stay where she was 50 feet ahead, the birds
      made not the slightest movement. I bade them both a very good day and successful
      winter, rose, and walked away. From a distance, I could barely tell she was there, blending
      in so well with the rock.

      AMERICAN PIPITS bobbed their tails and called from the tundra, watching me closely.

      Other than a lone HERMIT THRUSH "chwaying" from an alder on the way down, it was very
      quiet in the mountain bird world.

      July 18th, 2 juvenile owls were reported from Old Exit Glacier Road, possibly GREAT
      HORNED OWLS. Also a female PURPLE FINCH in town, seen very occasionally with flock of
      about 30 PINE SISKINS.

      July 21st, while the VIOLET GREEN and TREE SWALLOW population in town has greatly
      diminished, large numbers were reported swooping over the Exit Glacier outwash plain.
      Apparently there is more food out there than in town, so they went out to eat.

      Also on July 21st, I was lucky to observe 3 WINTER WRENS at Two Lakes Park in town, the
      adults feeding the youngster, their perky tails straight up. ROBINS and VARIED THRUSHES
      were gorging on unripe Red Elderberries. This is a great shrub to have in your yard for the

      July 22, BROWN CREEPERS reported at Lowell Point, as well as RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS,
      and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS. Other town locations report hummers still here as well,
      including one at my house.

      July 24th, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were spotted migrating through, 2 at the airport
      cul-de-sac, and 3 by the railroad dock. Due to a huge storm in the Gulf of Alaska, FORK-
      TAILED STORM PETRELS were seen lightly skimming over the bay waters, far from their
      usual open ocean home.

      Happy Birding!
      Carol Griswold
      Sporadic Bird Report reporter

      For more information on how to keep cats indoors, please refer to the American Bird
      Conservancy website, Cats Indoors at <http://www.abcbirds.org/cats> and other
      informative sites listed under a Google.com search.
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