The day began with a new fall of snow that made everything even more beautiful.
The Anchorage Audubon trip, about 30 birders led by Aaron Bowman and Carol Griswold, Seward’s excellent “Sporadic Bird Report Reporter”, began a little after 10 am, and visited sites along Nash Road to look for the Killdeer (not there) and to look at numerous ducks (including both Goldeneyes, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf Scoters, Harlequin Ducks, Buffleheads), Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, gulls (see below) and a Great Blue Heron. We also saw Sea Otters and Harbor Seals.
Herring Gulls, particularly those brown non-adults, are not everybody’s favorite bird, except for big year birders who get their first one for the year and some larophiles. I am one of the former only. As part of Anchorage Audubon’s field trip in Seward today we had thousands of other gulls, primarily Glaucous-winged and Mew Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes, but there were a couple of handfuls of Herring Gulls. No photos though. One less gull to worry about finding this year.
We visited the magnificent feeder area of Ava Eads and were treated to close-up views of Downy Woodpeckers, a Hairy Woodpecker, numerous Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls (and one or more Hoary Redpolls), and Black-capped Chickadees. Prior to our arrival there had also been American Tree Sparrows there.
I was unable to stay for the afternoon portion of the field trip, but I am sure that will be covered at various Anchorage Audubon venues. In the dead of winter, it is a treat to go to Seward with a group of birders and see such a variety of water and land birds, many of which are quite easy to see there and which are currently not found easily or at all in Anchorage.
My trip home was uneventful and I did not see many birds because I was busy trying to see through the snowflakes and watching the road to check its condition. The sun did try to make an appearance as I reached the Girdwood area. Next week I get to travel to other parts of the state, to bird of course. Stay tuned.