October 18 – No. 301 – House Finch in Ketchikan

Yesterday afternoon after walking the Mendenall wetlands dike trail the second time that day,  I was planning to visit a couple of other areas in Juneau. When I checked my phone, however, I had an email from Stevel Heinl telling me that a House Finch had appeared yesterday at Jerry Koerner’s yard, a wonderful Ketchikan hotspot that has produced quite a few wonderful birds over the years and in particular, has been a major help to my Alaska big year. I changed my birding plans and went back to my Juneau motel to look at airline schedules. The Alaska Airline reservation system was down, and I was in a panic trying to get on the only flights that would fit my schedule (one of which only had 5 seats available). Finally the airline system was up and running and I made my reservation.

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So, this morning bright and early I turned in my rental car and boarded a plane in Juneau to go to Ketchikan. For those who are not familiar with Ketchikan, to get there one needs to take a ferry from the Ketchikan airport to get to Ketchikan itself. It was a beautiful sunrise as I took the brief ferry trip.

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Steve picked me up at the ferry dock and we drove immediately to Jerry Koerner’s house. About 8:50, very soon after we arrived, the HOUSE FINCH joined the 30 or more Dark-eyed Juncos dining on seed in Jerry’s yard.

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In addition to the juncos and House Finch, which only stayed around 15 minutes or so, Jerry’s yard had two Eurasian Collared-Doves, a few Steller’s Jays, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, at least one Song Sparrow and a Northern Flicker.

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Thanks to Jerry and Steve, shown in the photo below, for another big year bird!

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Steve and I left Jerry’s yard to do more birding, but the rain then started in earnest and we mostly stayed in his car to wander around Ketchikan and check out the various gull flocks. We did leave the car to pish for little birds (such as a Swamp Sparrow) but mostly the result was nothing or just more juncos.

I am now back in Anchorage delighted with my two new birds for this trip! What’s next?
301 species so far

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