May 1 – May Day – Spring Is Not Really Here Yet

The birds seem to think spring should be here. Many of them are pairing up, such as the Mallard pair that is still regularly coming to our back yard. Today I finally bought some duck food for them so they have something more nutritious than the bread crumbs and cracked corn.

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Although many birds seem ready to nest, there is still a lot of ice on most lakes and water birds are often limited to the small open areas of the lakes. The island at the Lagoon is surrounded by ice. It had over 80 Mew Gulls that seem to have settled in anyway.

Birds at Westchester Lagoon in Anchorage that I photographed (in addition to the dowitchers and Red-necked Grebes discussed below) were Green-winged Teal (appearing headless), Gadwall, American Wigeons, Greater Yellowlegs and Arctic Terns.

The Red-necked Grebes at Westchester Lagoon (Anchorage) are paired up in the areas of open water. I watched one of the pairs today courting and then piling wet vegetation from underwater on top of the ice, seemingly trying to put a nest there before they rested from their efforts. This nest will not be very useful when the ice finally melts.

Two Short-billed Dowitchers (I’m sure someone will tell me if they are not Short-billed) were chasing each other and one of them was calling in what I assume was a breeding display. They are probably just practicing for when they finally reach their breeding area.

A very short video follows:





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