Feb. 19 – Drive to Seward

Tomorrow is Anchorage Audubon’s field trip to Seward for which most people are driving down tomorrow morning. I decided to come today so I’d have all day to get over Turnagain Pass if that proved to be necessary and I wanted time just to explore in Seward.

It was an enjoyable trip with the sun beautifully trying all morning to break through the clouds. I kept stopping to take pictures, which meant that I took over 3 hours to drive 122 miles. Birds seen along the route were the normal Bald Eagles, Common Ravens, Black-billed Magpies and Pine Grosbeaks.

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I stopped at Subway for a sandwich when I arrived in Seward and drove to Seward Waterfront Park so I could scan the water while eating. While I ate I watched a couple flocks of Goldeneyes, mostly Barrow’s, a few Harlequin Ducks, a couple of Buffleheads. I then walked the path along the shore to the Alaska Sealife Center and returned.

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Later I saw a Horned Grebe, Pelagic Cormorants, about five Bald Eagles, five Glaucous-winged Gulls, a Mew Gull (and a distant flock of unidentified gulls), a few Common Ravens, and about 30 Northwestern Crows. My attention was drawn to one of the eagles that was perched in a tree and was being attacked by crows and ravens. When I neared I could see that the eagle was dining on a large black bird, probably one of the many Northwestern Crows.

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There were not too many birds at the local feeders while I was there, but I expect we will spend more time there tomorrow. Today it was mainly Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, Black-capped Chickadees, a Hairy Woodpecker, and a couple of Pine Siskins.

Later in the afternoon I drove the shore area again and saw about 10 Common Murres (in addition to the many Murre carcasses on the land along the water). Down by the port area I added a Northern Shrike and 7 Mallards. I also stopped periodically to watch the sea otters that dotted the water surface.

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A drive down Nash Road added a couple more Buffleheads and a Common Merganser diving and then hopping up on the ice to preen.

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I checked into my motel, requesting a water view, and snapped a picture out my window at early dusk before I headed across the street for fish and chips.

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109 species so far

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