Last Wednesday started out with me trying to make some sketches of Montezuma's Quail in preparation for a possible painting. Then I got a call from my friend Dan, inviting me to go out and get some lunch with him.
First we stopped by Spenard Crossing where we saw the first shorebird of the Spring, This Greater Yellowlegs above. There were gulls, geese, Mallards, and Buffleheads as well.
After lunch we decided to check out the big, new Cabela's Store that just opened up in South Anchorage. Letting me go into a store like Cabela's is like turning a gambling addict loose in a Vegas casino.
The place had a fine selection of binoculars among other great outdoor stuff. I already have 10x42 Leica, and Pentax binoculars. Both of which come with lifetime warranties, and are top of the line. I should not even be looking at binoculars. Nevertheless one pair really caught my eye. Zeiss, Terra ED, 8x42 binoculars. They are lightweight like my Pentax binocs. They close focus at 5.5 ft, (1.5 meters). They are super crisp and bright, and have the usual lifetime transferable warranty.
It was the price that hooked me. $350.oo. Years ago I had a beloved pair of Zeiss binoculars that was stolen from me in Costa Rica. Those binoculars cost, $900.oo in the mid 1980's. This new pair is superior at less than half the cost. I could not walk away from that deal.
In the afternoon, my friend Gary from Homer came by to pick up some artwork for his gallery. We had to try out the new Zeiss binoculars so we went to Potter Marsh, south of Anchorage. It was mostly ice free.
We saw a Bald eagle, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, some Green-winged Teal, and a Pintail. This ice encrusted frond of grass floating on the water caught my eye. Luckily an obliging Mallard came over to pose next to it.
There were also a few 'Dusky' Canada Geese around. They are very small geese.
From Potter Marsh, we headed over to Cuddy Park in Midtown Anchorage. It still had plenty of ice but it was full of ducks, (Mallards), geese, and gulls. Gulls have been back in town for less than a week.The small gull in the foreground is a Mew Gull. The larger gull in the upper left is a typical adult, Herring Gull. It was the other gull that caught our attention.
It was a large gull but seemed to be a little smaller than the Herring Gull. It had black markings on its beak, not red like most large gulls. Pale eyes with red eyelids.
The black tail really intrigued us. Considering the dark mottling on its secondaries helped us to decide that it must be an almost-adult Herring Gull. I sent this photo to the resident gull expert, Aaron Bowman to make sure.
Then we went across the street and had dinner at my favorite restaurant, Burrito King. Don't let the generic name fool you. It has wonderful, traditional Mexican food at a reasonable price.
Next we went to Spenard Crossing and Westchester Lagoon. We saw nothing unusual and we ended the day at sunset, 9:30 pm.
I was dead tired from all the walking that we did that day.