Feb. 9 – The Best Laid Plan

The plan was for Louann Feldmann and I to drive up Arctic Valley Road to look for ptarmigans this morning, but it did not happen. We did drive to the beginning of the road, but there we encountered a roadblock. We do not know if the road was impassable or if military maneuvers were planned or what, but we will have to try again another day.

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We decided to bird on nearby JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson) instead, where she has a permit to go and where I had never birded. As with most of Anchorage, there were very few birds around. Snow covered most of the ground and the lakes were frozen.  Common Ravens and Black-billed Magpies were most common, but we also had a Northern Shrike and a Gray Jay, Black-capped and Boreal Chickadees and a couple of Bald Eagles. We also saw four moose.

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We were heading back toward the gate when we came over a little rise and were surprised to see open water, apparently due to water from beneath the ice of a frozen lake pouring under the road and through a culvert into the unfrozen lake. In any case, there were two Common Goldeneyes enjoying the open water, diving often, and we enjoyed them.

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107 species so far

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