Mar. 8 – Drive South to Girdwood and Portage

Today I decided to try to find the White-winged Crossbills reported north of Girdwood (south of Anchorage). As usual, it was a beautiful drive and I stopped to take numerous pictures.

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In some areas, such as across the highway from the road into Girdwood, the ice was beginning to melt and there were open areas of shallow water that soon should be suitable for shorebirds and ducks. None there yet, however.

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The birds were not too numerous, and I only saw Common Ravens, Black-billed Magpies, a Bald Eagle, and three Pine Grosbeaks on the drive down. The Grosbeaks were singing as I passed them on the way south and still singing on my return trip. I did not find any crossbills.

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At a roadside stop not far from Portage Glacier, there were two Barrow’s Goldeneyes flying around in circles, apparently looking for open water where there appeared to be only frozenness.

The highlight on the way back was the sighting of many mountain goats/sheep (I never know which), all of which were munching on something growing on or among the rocks. People were stopped all along the road taking pictures, and I joined the crowd.

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Tomorrow I am going to try to head back to Palmer where a Northern Harrier has been found by Justin Saunders. While I am quite certain to see more of them on the hawk-watch north of Anchorage in the coming weeks, I am eager to get a year bird soon. March so far has been slow, as expected.

118 species so far

 

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