Jan. 5 – Day 2 in Juneau

Although I still did not find a Western Meadowlark, today was otherwise an excellent day. In the chilly predawn hours, I walked part of the Dike Trail at the Mendenhall Wetlands and was delighted to have a little flock of COMMON REDPOLLS land next to me along the path. Although I have them in my yard in Anchorage, I can’t get Anchorage birds when I’m not there. (Note: I have decided to capitalize my new birds for the year in this blog so readers can skim for that information and not need to read in detail.)

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In the water next to the trail were some diving birds (which I think were there yesterday but I never got around to trying to figure out what they were because they were underwater most of the time). Today I took the time and found that they were PACIFIC LOONS, 3 of them. Later in the day when I returned, there were 7 of them, all busily diving. One of the Great Blue Herons was hunched over the water, looking a bit cold.

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Late in 2015 I had seen a Facebook post indicating that somewhere in Juneau there was a SPOTTED TOWHEE. I had tried to follow up on the sighting and then forgot about it until I talked to Gus Van Vliet on this trip and he said the towhee was still being seen. He told me which house was hosting the bird, and this morning at about 11:15 I found it hanging out with juncos (mostly the Oregon Dark-eyed Juncos). A HAIRY WOODPECKER tapping away on a dead snag behind the same yard was also new.

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About 2:00 I met Gus Van Vliet who took me to some of the Juneau hotspots that I need to know about. Along the way we stopped at some feeders where I got my year CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES. We drove around the Mendenhall or Back Loop area.

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Gus spotted a car that he said we needed to follow, which turned out to be driven by Gwen Baluss. We followed her to her house and stayed around her yard for a short time watching her hummingbird feeder, but because it was getting dark, we then left. We hadn’t gone far when Gus got a phone call saying that Gwen’s ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD had just come to the feeder. We made a U-turn, and shortly after we got back to her house, the hummingbird returned.

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After leaving Gwen and her hummingbird, Gus took me to some more good birding locales before it got completely dark.

Tomorrow in the very early morning I am scheduled to fly to Ketchikan for a couple of days’ birding.

61 species so far

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