August 18 – Sparrows, Hawk and More in Anchorage

I needed to be sure my new (replacement) boots felt okay for all my upcoming travels so I chose a wet grassy place to bird today, Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area. They were fine, so my packing decisions were done.

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On my walk in the woods and in the grass and brushy area were a few Orange-crowned Warblers but no other warbler species today.

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Other non-sparrow birds seen and photographed included a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and fly-over Sandhill Cranes and Mallards.

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While I was peering into bushes to try to find the source of little chipping sounds, a raptor arrived, apparently also interested in the little chipping sounds. It landed very close to me so I could just see its head through a nearby bush, and sat there silently peering around. I gradually inched sideways so I could see more of the raptor, taking pictures continuously. Although it was large, leading me to initially think it was a Northern Harrier, I’m now thinking it was a large (female) juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk (Cooper’s Hawks are not supposed to occur in Alaska). I did notice that its tail was not rounded but rather squared off. It flew off low to the ground between bushes and I could not see it leave. Comments are welcome.

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Sparrows seen by me, and probably by the raptor, included numerous Lincoln’s Sparrows, at least two Fox Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (juvenile and preening bird in photos below). Some of the juvenile birds looked like possible Golden-crowned Sparrows and for awhile I entertained thoughts of even rarer sparrows, but probably they were White-crowned (last picture below showing a sort of golden area near its bill). Again, comments welcome.

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289 species so far

One thought on “August 18 – Sparrows, Hawk and More in Anchorage

  1. AMR August 29, 2016 / 6:28 am

    You’re right on the Accipiter ID. The belly pattern of rusty-brown splotches indicates Sharp-shinned over Cooper’s Hawk.

    Like

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