April 13 – Early Spring Highlights

Most of the recent new birds for the year have been waterfowl, including Northern Pintails (Spenard Crossing and Potter Marsh), a Gadwall (Spenard Crossing), four Green-winged Teal (Potter Marsh), and Canada Geese (nearly everywhere there is water). Also shown in the photos below are Common Mergansers, one of the Trumpeter Swans, and some of our backyard Mallard visitors on the increasingly snow-free lawn.

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Other newcomers to Anchorage are more and more Herring-type gulls (Herring, and Herring x Glaucous-winged hybrids) and just today, my first Mew Gulls at Potter Marsh.

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Early this morning I drove to Girdwood, stopping along the road at Potter Marsh to photograph the sunrise.


At Potter Marsh were 12 (!!!) moose all visible at the same time, spread out across the marsh. Yesterday at Potter Marsh a moose crossed the parking lot right behind me, walking between me and my car.

In Girdwood, the Northwestern Crows were collecting nesting material.

Although there have been reports of more than usual numbers of Red Crossbills in southern parts of the Anchorage Borough, a small flock of them in Girdwood near the gas station/intersection was my first sighting of the year.

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Also, just behind the Girdwood gas station, two American Dippers were calling and diving along the edge of the rushing river.

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On the road between Girdwood and Portage Road, I saw a raptor, much smaller than an eagle, sitting along the road as I whizzed by. I did a U-turn at the first opportunity. The bird was still there, but immediately flew as I slowly drove toward it, so I only got one picture. Its dark belly and black patterned wings made me conclude that it was a Rough-legged Hawk. I was worried that it might be a smallish immature eagle, but my picture of one of those from yesterday (picture below the hawk picture) was clearly different.

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At this time of the year, it is very difficult to quit birding and do chores – there are too many places to check for new birds, and likely new birds just around every corner. Each year it’s a new adventure.





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