August 12 – Sockeye Burn and Palmer

Although it rained before, sometimes during and after birding today, we managed to sneak in most of our birding in the non-rainy times. Barbara Carlson, visiting from San Diego, and I first went to the Sockeye Burn north of Willow with woodpeckers as our goal.


The drive there took about two hours with few birds seen along the way, but as soon as we got on Sockeye Drive we heard a Western Wood-Pewee, apparently a late lingerer. Although we saw it well, including its dark breast-pattern, my only photos are of its back.

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After hearing and seeing Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Lincoln’s Sparrows, a Downy Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays, we saw our first goal bird, a female American Three-toed Woodpecker.

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We then wandered more of the road area in the burned-out spruce forest, finding a Swainson’s and a Varied Thrush, an Alder Flycatcher, a Black-capped Chickadee, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Spruce Grouse along the road, and finally our second goal bird, a Black-backed Woodpecker.

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Mission accomplished there, we went to our second destination, Jim Lake along the Old Glenn Highway in Palmer. A Pied-billed Grebe, a rarity in Alaska, had been seen there a week or so ago. I had not gone earlier to see the Palmer bird because I saw one in Ketchikan this winter. I am glad I went for this one too because it was closer and could be seen better. Also at the lake were about 18 Red-necked Grebes, a Belted Kingfisher and various goldeneye ducks (not photographed).




I’ve got about a week left before my intensive fall birding schedule begins, and probably won’t see anything new for the year before then. But if I don’t go out birding I surely will not see anything new, so I’ll be trying.

289 species so far

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