I started the day before dawn at the historical park that I visited yesterday. It was a birdy morning with drumming Ruffed Grouse, calling and singing Hammond’s Flycatchers, and over 20 White-crowned Sparrows scattered across the grounds and singing.
I then began the 350 mile drive back to Anchorage. Just south of Delta Junction two caribou crossed the road and stood looking at the car as I photographed one of them.
I stopped periodically at bogs and various overlooks as I drove. High in the mountains I encountered a couple of snowfalls but the temperature was above freezing and the roads were fine. I did not see very many birds as I zoomed along, other than Trumpeter Swans, Mallards and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.
When I got to Palmer (about 40 miles away from Anchorage), I took a break from driving to check out the Matanuska Townsite road. I was delighted to finally be able to photograph a pair of Sandhill Cranes for the year.
In Anchorage I went to Westchester Lagoon where Canvasbacks and Short-billed Dowitchers had been reported. I easily found the CANVASBACKS, at least 5 of them far across the lake, but there were no dowitchers visible anywhere. In addition to a Greater Yellowlegs that was in the wetland adjacent to the lagoon, I did find a LESSER YELLOWLEGS where I expected the dowitchers to be at one of the islands in the lagoon. Bonaparte’s Gulls and Arctic Terns, recently new for my big year, were everywhere.
Tomorrow I plan to do some exploring around Anchorage to see what else has arrived.
144 species so far