August 30 – North of Anchorage

Lena and I birded this morning in the Palmer area and at Reflections Lake between Palmer and Anchorage. On the road to Palmer, we were startled to see a family of 8 Trumpeter Swans at the edge of the road, looking like they were trying to cross the very busy, fast-moving highway. We took pictures and drove right alongside them and made shooing sounds but they just watched us warily and refused to move away. On our way back later, we were glad that we did not see any dead birds on the road and that the swans had disappeared and no longer were near the road.

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In Palmer, we briefly visited the Old Matanuska Townsite Road, the highlights there being a young Northern Shrike that I was only able to photograph blurrily through the windshield, and a distant perched Osprey.

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At the site on Inner Springer Loop where Sandhill Cranes regularly stage, we found them again, an estimated 350 or so, some of which were clearly young of the year. They were mostly unmoving, although every now and then a few would fly away and others poked a bit at the earth.

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Our final stop was at Reflections Lake where a Red-necked Grebe dozed far out on the lake. There still were quite a few warblers moving around, primarily Yellow-rumped and a few Wilson’s as well as a few Black-capped Chickadees and a couple of Downy Woodpeckers.

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This evening back at our house Lena took another opportunity to hand-feed our Steller’s Jays before our trip tomorrow to Gambell on St. Lawrence Island. Because the wifi there may not always be accessible, my blog will at best probably not be posted daily but only be posted every couple of days or so for the next 10 days.

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291 species so far

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