Having seen an Alaskan birding post that Aaron Bowman (and possibly others) had seen a Red-necked Phalarope at Lake Hood, I decided to check it out this morning. I know that I will see others this year, but I did not have any other good ideas of nearby birds to chase. I drove around and looked at all the birds on the water on the two lakes (Spenard and Hood).
There were at least seven Horned Grebes, Red-necked Grebes, Barrow’s and Common Goldeneyes, Greater Scaup (possibly Lesser too, but I did not study them), Northern Shovelers, American Wigeons, one Ring-necked Duck, and a Canvasback.
An American Pipit huddled next to a building singing until a Black-billed Magpie chased it away.
There were also two Red-throated Loons. And that was it for birds out on the water until I came around to the west side of Lake Hood and saw four little dots out on the water, four RED-NECKED PHALAROPES.
As I was posting the phalarope sighting to AKbirding on my cell phone, I saw a large bird flying over my car and then the lake. The bird was carrying a large fish. I dropped my phone. When I rapidly lifted my binoculars and then my camera, I saw that it was an OSPREY! I do not believe that I had ever seen one in the state and was extremely delighted at the sighting even though my only pictures were just interesting blurs.
To end my morning birding, I went to Potter Marsh again. The main excitement there was two Wilson’s Snipe repeatedly chasing each other, calling and sometimes going up overhead. All of their movements were too fast for me to begin to photograph.
Lincoln’s Sparrows were singing constantly. The other sign of spring was the presence of at least four each of Tree Swallows and Violet-green Swallows. The former were perching on twigs and the boardwalk and only sometimes flying. When perched on the boardwalk, they were extremely reluctant to move when someone walked by them. The Violet-green Swallows were constantly on the move around the boardwalk and I did not see them perch.
I’m not sure where I will bird tomorrow or when I will head south to Homer for shorebirds. It’s going to get awfully/wonderfully busy soon.
170 species so far