August 4 – Anchorage Sampler

For the past few days, I’ve wandered around some of my favorite places in Anchorage, birding and taking pictures. Samples of my sampling follow.

At the coastal trail south of Westchester Lagoon on 8/1 I again saw the Sabine’s Gull, floating on the water beyond the mudflats, but did not photograph it. I did photograph my first-for-the-year Anchorage Peregrine Falcon perched high on the radio tower at the Lagoon.

On the mud there were the usual Canada Geese, and at Fish Creek a rock-walking Greater Yellowlegs.

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On 8/2 I drove up Arctic Valley Road. For most of the drive there were no birds. There was a single hare munching dandelions. I did see what I finally decided must be a young American Pipit running along the roadside, periodically wagging its tail, as I drove slowly along beside it.

I then went to Lakes Spenard and Hood to check on the Red-throated Loon, which was still there, still mostly sleeping. Oddly, while it had its head tucked under its wing, it had one eye exposed and open, and while still appearing to sleep, motored its way unerringly over to me. When it got near, it untucked its head, looked at me, said a few words and went back to sleep.

There were about ten Red-necked Grebes, and the two Horned Grebes were still there, close to where they first were seen days ago.

I next went to Potter Marsh, where I also went today on my way farther south. Today I photographed one of the Orange-crowned Warblers and one of the five Wilson’s Snipe. A Merlin kept diving the marsh, spooking the numerous Greater Yellowlegs, and once went after one of the four Belted Kingfishers. It moved too fast for me to even begin to try to photograph it.

My final birding today was on the Trail of Blue Ice off the Moose Flats roadside area (on the way to Portage). Again, it was mostly silent, but at the boardwalk at the small lake were a couple each of Greater Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers.

I finally found a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, two Fox Sparrows, fly-over Common Redpolls, a Swainson’s Thrush  and a scolding Varied Thrush, the photos of the latter a bit bleached in the very welcome sun.


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