October 2 – Drive to Soldotna and Kenai and New Bird

This afternoon I drove about 2.5 hours south to Kenai past many recently snow-capped peaks.

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My plan is to bird here a couple of days in the hope of seeing a Great Gray Owl. Although I arrived in time to try and did try to see one this evening, I did not see one (yet) but I did hear a GREAT GRAY OWL youngster screeching very near me in the spruce trees. The beautiful sunset was at 7:24 and I heard the screeching beginning at 8:15 near me when it was almost dark , and then heard it again and again gradually farther and farther away for the next 20 minutes. The Burkes, who live on this street (Buoy Ave.), have periodically seen Great Gray Owls here and a few days ago they too heard the youngster screech and I understand that they also heard one this evening from near their house. It is a very loud sound and carries well on an otherwise totally silent evening.

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For those unfamiliar with birding “rules”, the American Birding Association (ABA) says one can count “heard-only” birds, and I am therefore counting this owl. I will, however, try again for it tomorrow, as well as check out other likely spots. I really want a photograph of course, although I have photographed other Great Gray Owls in other years and places.

Other sightings today were Trumpeter Swans, beginning with ten at Potter Marsh six more later on my drive.

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Other birds on Buoy Ave. this evening in addition to the owl were Boreal Chickadees, three Gray Jays (photographed), a Brown Creeper, Red Crossbills, Dark-eyed Juncos and a fly-over Greater Yellowlegs.

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298 species so far

 

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