October 31 – Merganser, Mallards and More

As expected days are getting shorter and darker, but there still is much of beauty to see.

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Since the Mallards reappeared in our yard on the 28th, they have been back each day at random times, anywhere from a single duck just hanging out awhile to 15 of them, sometimes just wandering around for a few hours. Most of them are very tame, undoubtedly spending much of their time at the local parks where they are used to being fed by people bringing bags of bread.

Although Canada Geese have not ever landed in our yard, they do fly over periodically. All over Anchorage flocks of geese have been gathering before migration. On Sunday, some of them even visited our church yard.

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Pine Grosbeaks have also been around each day, anywhere from one to eight at a time. There is much color variation, with obvious males sporting bright rosy-red to paler splotchy reds, and the others having golden-brown, greenish-yellow or orange color highlights.

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Yesterday I spent about an hour at Potter Marsh – on the boardwalk, driving the highway along the marsh, and driving the old highway behind the marsh. Yellow leaves were no longer visible on any of the surrounding trees.

Over the marsh, the sky was lovely, with many “fish-bone” clouds (not a technical term I’m sure, but seemingly appropriate to an area where recently there were many dead salmon lying in the water).

Highlights at the marsh were three Rusty Blackbirds that flew to a treetop and stayed about a minute before disappearing.

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The only ducks visible from the boardwalk were three Mallards and a single young Common Merganser that was busy bathing and diving enthusiastically. There were a few other Mallards seen from the road, but no swans or other ducks out there.

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There were a couple of Common Ravens around, one of which was periodically plummeting downward (the picture really is of a raven).

The only non-human mammal species I saw was muskrat, at least five of them swimming around near the boardwalk.

Although I had only seen one Bald Eagle briefly while I was on the boardwalk, behind the marsh I was able to see both Bald Eagles through an opening in the trees.

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