November 13 – Anchorage Winter Sampling

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of birding around Anchorage with Andrea Bennett who is here this week for a meeting.

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There were very few birds around, except in our yard. At Potter Marsh where ice covered all the water except the rushing creek, there were only two Bald Eagles and two Common Ravens.

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At Hillside Park, we only had Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Later along Arctic Valley Road, the only bird that we saw was a Northern Goshawk, briefly perched along the road before our stopping caused it to fly away. At Ship Creek, we only saw a single American Dipper and a few Mallards. No bird pictures at these places, just a few frosty scenes.

There was much bird activity in our yard when we stopped there, however, with the same species that have been around lately. Pictures below are from earlier in the week in our yard. A couple of Dark-eyed Juncos have been sporadic visitors, greatly outnumbered by the Pine Grosbeaks.

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Both Black-capped and Boreal Chickadees have been in the yard, the former at either the dried mealworms, the seeds or my homemade “suet” (peanut butter mix), the latter just at the suet.

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The Red-breasted Nuthatches split their time between the suet, the peanut butter in the log holes and the peanuts and seeds in the various feeders.

Every now and then a Common Raven stops by to look things over, probably wondering what all the Steller’s Jays are finding (2-5 often around).

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The Mallards that originally came to our yard to eat bird seed now have their own feed, but some of them seem to prefer birdseed, usually limited to scrounging seed that has fallen from the feeders, but every now and then hopping up on a feeder that has sunflower seeds. They arrive at random times, sometimes just a single bird, but more often 3-7 of them, and once 30 all eating at the same time. Typically they waddle over to the food or water, and then immediately sit down and tuck their feet up into their feathers to keep warm and start shoveling in the food.

 

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