October 22-23 – From Sitka to Anchorage

This blog post has mostly additional information about my day in Sitka. Although the Tropical Kingbird (more pictures in yesterday’s post) was the undoubted highlight yesterday, there were quite a few other good bird sightings in Sitka.


Yesterday began (before the kingbird) with Louann and I walking over to Swan Lake where I had seen my year Wood Duck very early in this year. Unbelievably the Wood Duck is still in Sitka, still hanging out with the Mallards and still stunning in appearance.






There were other welcome birds at the lake, including a Pied-billed Grebe way out on the lake, my third Pied-billed Grebe of the year in Alaska (the others were in Ketchikan and Palmer). It is my understanding that Pied-billed Grebes nested in Sitka this year.


Also on the lake were numerous other ducks (Greater Scaup, Ring-necked, Bufflehead) and a single Canvasback (shown with one of the Ring-necked Ducks), first seen late in the day when we were looking for (but not finding) the Swamp Sparrow that we possibly, but not certainly had seen earlier in the swampy edge of the lake. During the day we also saw a White-throated Sparrow, my second for the year (this one not photographed).


After we finished daylight birding and taking pictures of ducks and of the lake area, we went downtown in Sitka where we saw a spectacular sunset before taping our interview by Matt Goff for his radio show and then we had an excellent dinner.




After dinner, Louann and I drove around looking for various nighttime birds that we were told might be possible (Western Screech-Owl and Leach’s Storm-Petrel were mentioned), but we did not hear or see either of these.

Early this morning we boarded our flight back to Anchorage. The sun was finally showing, tinting everything as we arrived there.




At our house the snow is mostly exactly as we left it a couple of days ago, clinging to branches and continuing the winter wonderland. As I typed this message on the afternoon of the 23rd, a Steller’s Jay was peering in my downstairs office window and hopping about among the scattered peanut shells left there earlier by the jays.




I’m not sure when my next out-of-town trip will be. Earlier in the year I had thought that October would be slow and had made commitments for various non-birding scheduled events, so if some bird that I still need for my list shows up somewhere, I’m hoping it does so at a time when I can hop on another plane and try to see the bird before it departs.

302 species so far

One thought on “October 22-23 – From Sitka to Anchorage

  1. sitkanature October 23, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Nice report, and nice photos! I’m glad Sitka was able to provide another species for you. Just one note of clarification, the Pied-billed Grebes nested on Swan Lake a few years ago. 2010 is when I got photos of downy young, but I think they probably nested a second year as well.


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