I had the urge to check out the wetland areas south of Anchorage for a couple of species that are beginning to appear in the state but which I had not yet seen this year, and as it turns out have still not seen not that the birding day is over. This morning as I gradually realized that there apparently was nothing new around these areas, I settled back to just enjoying the drive and the birds that were there.
I began, as usual on my southward drives, at Potter Marsh. The pair of Common Mergansers was still there, so maybe they are thinking of staying around. On the highway along the marsh there was a smattering of duck species – the usual Mallards, plus Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, and Gadwalls, and five Trumpeter Swans. There were also five moose out grazing in the marsh, causing a group of cars to gather to watch them.
At Girdwood, there were two pairs of Canada Geese. While I watched, one of the geese stormed over to the other pair and there was a flurry of honks and wing-flapping before they settled back into peacefully browsing.
Today there were 15 Trumpeter Swans along the highway just past the road to Portage in little groups of 2-4 birds spread out across the shallow water.
My next-to-final birding before turning around to head back to Anchorage was to walk a small portion of the Trail of Blue Ice that extends along much of the road into Portage. The portion of trail that I walked was completely clear of ice and snow, the green moss beneath the trees was lush, and little green plants were coming up in the boggy areas. I then did a quick check of the little lake at the national forest roadside area. This area usually has a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes when the water is open and they were there today too.
Tomorrow it’s again time to go someplace that’s not on my regular birding route.
126 species so far