"yes," I responded.
"Oh darn" she said.
"I thought you were spending the winter in Hawaii." I said.
"We are, But I came back for..."
"The bird I interrupted."
"Yes" she said. I needed no further explanation. I knew why she left Hawaii to come back to Alaska in the dead of winter.
"Count me in I said". We were going to Seward. Betty had one target bird that she wanted to see and I had four possible lifers to pick up in Seward, including THE BIRD.
We left Anchorage a few hours before dawn. It is just starting to get light in the photo above.
We knew to hit the alley behind First Avenue. The ice on the road was extremely slippery and we had to use our ice cleats to keep upright.
The thicket in the right of the above photo is where two species of old world birds had been seen in the past few days. Carol,'Griz' was there and she showed us the brushpiles where our birds were being seen.
There are currently at least two of these Bramblings in Seward right now. They are a relative of the finches, although these birds show no interest in the nearby bird feeders. They prefer to eat the pulp of Mountain Ash berries.
I used my artistic skills and photoshop to transform this old photo of a Lapland Longspur into a semi-recognizable rendering of Betty's main target, Siberian Accentor. It is an insect eater and a skulker that usually stays on, or near the ground. The seward Accentor prefers to stick close to the ground underneath spruce trees.
There was no time to look for further species because we had a long drive back to Anchorage, and we wanted to get back before dark.