Thursday, January 5, 2012 Seward Unusual Sightings
- Seward, Alaska Sporadic Bird Report
Sunrise 9:58 am, sunset 4:07 pm, length of day 6 hours, 9 minutes; tomorrow will be 2 minutes and 38 seconds longer.
Weather: The wind shifted to the south today, raising temperatures to the mid to upper 20s, a welcome relief from the recent single digits. About a foot of fluffy, marvelous snow dumped on the town this morning around 6 am, burying freshly delivered newspapers until spring. Everyone seemed to be shoveling out and the busy plows piled the snow into 10-foot mountains along the streets. All day long, a series of squalls rolled through like a manic on the weather channel remote. Snow flurries morphed to hail resembling Styrofoam beads called "graupel", then cleared with large patches of incongruous blue sky, then back to the gray wall of snow marching down the bay. More snow showers in the forecast. Let's hope the wind lies low!
Many interesting and unusual but not extraordinary sightings these past few days:
Yesterday, a ski groomer on snow machine discovered a dead RED-NECKED GREBE on the snow in the middle of Bear Lake, 7 miles from the ocean. Perhaps it never left the lake where this species nests, and tried to live at the very small open area at the outlet until an eagle grabbed it and dropped it. Very interesting!
Also on Wednesday, I photographed the LINCOLN'S SPARROW feeding with REDPOLLS, JUNCOS, a VARIED THRUSH, BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES, and a DOWNY WOODPECKER. I wonder where this sparrow has been until now?
Today, a Coast Guard helicopter circled the bay, continuing yesterday's unusual late night search by plane, following a report of an emergency flare and possible boater in distress. This unusual event preceded the uncommon sightings of a PIGEON GUILLEMOT off Lowell Point Beach, and a very lethargic-looking BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE. The gull seemed cold and slow, broadcasting an "Eat Me" signal. I doubt it will last long with our hungry eagles on patrol.
Also spotted along Lowell Point: COMMON LOON, PELAGIC CORMORANTS, BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, SURF SCOTERS, HARLEQUINS, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, RAVENS, NORTHWESTERN CROWNS, a BALD EAGLE, and two river otters.
Towards the end of the ever-lengthening but still short day, I found a moose, GADWALLS, BUFFLEHEAD, and a scolding DIPPER. Just at dusk, a GREAT BLUE HERON flew right overhead on its way to its secret roost for the long night.
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter
for photos go to <http://sporadicbird.blogspot.com>