July 27 – Anchorage Birds and a Bear

For a couple of rainy days I did not birdwatch except in our yard. Mostly I worked on revising my book manuscript in response to the reviewers’ comments and worked on client matters. When I did look out the windows I mostly saw (surprise) wet birds and hungry birds. Many were young birds. Photographed birds include Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrow (with junco), Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins and Steller’s Jay.

Today I finally ventured forth, first to Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area.

Three distant Sandhill Cranes, a young American Robin and a Lincoln’s Sparrow were photographed.

At Potter Marsh on the mud, there were at least 50 Greater Yellowlegs (mostly sleeping), a couple of Short-billed Dowitchers, a few Wilson’s Snipe (one also sleeping) and four Least Sandpipers (latter not photographed).

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As was true the last time I was there, many young Yellow-rumped Warblers and Dark-eyed Juncos were flitting about the boardwalk. I photographed an Orange-crowned Warbler and a calling Bald Eagle. I also had a fleeting glimpse of a Blackpoll Warbler but no photo.

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I was about to quit for the day but decided to drive the old highway behind the marsh. There were quite a few singing Alder Flycatchers along the road, one of which I photographed.

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It was a nice day so I parked the car and walked along the road. I was probably 300 feet or so from the car when I heard brush rustling along the road and there, about 50 feet from me was a BLACK BEAR, a pretty big bear! It was looking at me but did not seem nervous. I was nervous – nervous enough that I forgot that I did have my bear spray in my vest pocket. I didn’t have to worry about it though. I just backed away, getting one photo, and went back to my car.

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I drove forward to where the bear had been, and the bear was still there. It had climbed a few feet up the tree it had been near, but then backed down, and walked quickly back into the woods, letting me get a few more photos as it took a log trail. That was my first Anchorage bear encounter when I was not in my car.

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