Talks about a beautiful bird! I flew to Ketchikan this morning from Juneau, and picked up Steve Heinl. He and Andy Piston had discovered a Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4 days ago, and I had been yearning to get to Ketchikan since then to look for it. I understand that although Rose-breasted Grosbeaks do regularly appear in the state, it is not a species that I could expect to get in Alaska. We drove to the area, where he told me the bird has been singing every time anyone when to look for it since it was originally found. But when we got there, there was no sound of a grosbeak! We walked the road, we drove the area, we got out, we listened. Thrushes, Pacific Wrens, Fox Sparrows, lots of singing, but no grosbeak. We drove until the road makes a sharp uphill turn, turned around and slowly drove back down the road, listening.
When we got to the main area where it had been originally found, we were delighted to hear it, and then we saw it – a beautiful male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK! What a wonderful bird to be the bird that ties what is believed to be the big year record for Alaska! Number 287.
We celebrated by having lunch out (sandwiches). I decided to change my reservations back to Juneau to an earlier flight, and then I went to Ward Lake to relax and take a walk around the lake before it was time to go the airport. The scenic trail around the lake is one of my favorite spots in Ketchikan. An interesting sighting on my walk was a very large white slug apparently eating, or eating something on, a white mushroom.
Tomorrow, some more southeast Alaska birding….
287 species so far