Throughout this trip to southeast Alaska, rain has threatened every day and periodically briefly happened and mostly not been too noticeable, until today. Today it just rained. Still, I was out there birding for most of the day. I began at the Mendenhall wetlands a little before 8 am. I did not have any particular goal, but it did seem like it would be a good time and place to get my first snipe of the year. Those of you who have read my first book (Extreme Birder: One Woman’s Big Year) know that I like to write doggerel “poetry”. Please skip to the next paragraph now if you do not like to read it. As I walked along I was happily singing (to myself), “Just walking in the rain, getting (not quite) soaking wet, wish for a snipe, the next bird I should get.” There were very few birds along the trail, but there were a couple of Common Goldeneyes, Northwestern Crows, Bald Eagles, Canada Geese, Buffleheads, American Wigeons and Song Sparrows.
I did not see a snipe today. Instead I saw another long-beaked bird. Bev Agler and Patty Rose had arranged to meet me at the wetlands about 9:15. The three of us hiked out across the wetlands, where I not yet gone before. Eventually we reached an area where Patty had seen the earlier reported Long-billed Dowitchers. Without two much effort we spotted the two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS again today, feeding side-by-side along a little rivulet.
Mission accomplished, we hiked back, unsuccessfully scanning the Mallard-Wigeon flocks for something other than an American Wigeon.
After lunch, we headed over to Sunset Point where a Snow Goose has been hanging out with the Canada Geese. Normally (apparently) it has been visible from where one can park a car, but today many of the Canada Geese and the SNOW GOOSE were way out across the grassy puddle-full field. Having nothing else in mind to seek, I decided to slog out toward the geese and attempt a picture. Although I could not get very near the geese because of slippery mud ahead of me and because I needed to go back to avoid high tide, I did get a couple of distant photos.
Late in the afternoon I visited the Brotherhood Bridge area, which is a good birding site during migration and just pretty and not birdy on a rainy February day.
117 species so far
Two questions in that goose photo:
1. It looks a lot like a Ross’s Goose, right? I trust your I.D. though.
2. What’s that duck in the foreground? Looks like a Eurasian Wigeon from that angle, but it must be a Pintail, right?
It is likely it is my crummy photo of the goose that makes it look like a Ross’s but I am going back to check on it if possible. The other bird in the pic is a N. Pintail.
Even from that distance, I have trouble making out an obvious grin patch. The bill appears very small as well. Looks awfully like a Ross’s Goose IMO.
There has only been 1 white goose out there and today when it is closer and no rain the grin patch can be seen.