When you are fairly desperately looking for signs of spring, you do begin to find them, even though it is clearly winter and will be for some weeks yet.
Today in an afternoon trip to Potter Marsh south of Anchorage, all of the birds seen there were the normal winter birds of the area – Mallards, a Common Merganser, Bald Eagles, Black-billed Magpies, a Common Raven, Hairy Woodpeckers and Black-capped Chickadees – and not spring migrants. But there were a couple signs of spring….
Although the nights have been below freezing lately, during the day it has usually warmed up enough to keep water flowing in icy bank edges past the board walk, giving a place for the Mallards and the Common Merganser to swim nearby.
I had not seen two Hairy Woodpeckers at the same time at Potter Marsh before, but today there were two chasing each other and calling loudly. They weren’t close enough to see whether they were males or females. Whether it was territorial or mating behavior – either way, it seemed like a sign of spring to me.
Down at the end of the boardwalk when I looked out at the Bald Eagle nest, I saw that both adult eagles were there. They were moving around on the nest and on closer inspection I could see that they were lifting up and moving the sticks on the nest. Their nest building looked like a sign of spring to me. Afterward I saw them both in a nearby tree, possibly studying the branches for possible addition to their nest.
119 species so far