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.



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.


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