Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seward, Rain and Birds

Yesterday was the annual  Anchorage Audubon Society field trip to Seward. There was a travel advisory for the Kenai Peninsula because of unsafe, (icy) driving conditions. About 25 fool hearty souls showed up anyway. There were lots of frost heaves in the highway that made for a bumpy drive.
The weather was unusually warm and it rained lightly all day. The roads were not at all slippery.
At first glance, Resurrection Bay looked to be devoid of bird life. In the distance there were many tiny dots bobbing on the water's surface. These were the birds.
Off to the far right there was a group of Common Mergansers. We saw many of them that day.
The even tinier dots were Horned Grebes.
We always see Harlequin Ducks in Seward but today we could not get close.
Surf Scoters are also common winter residents. We saw a few Black Scoters as well.
One piece of good fortune for me was when this Marbled Murrelet popped up just a few feet from shore. It was up for two seconds - long enough for one quick shot, then it was gone. Too bad the light from the overcast sky was so dim that I could not get a sharper focus. This is the only photo of Marbled Murrelet that I have been able to get. They normally stay far offshore. In the summer their colors are completely different.
The light also was too dim to get sharp focus on this Killdeer. This is only the second Killdeer that I have seen in Alaska. They do not normally occur this far north. It was the only shorebird that we saw yesterday.
On fresh water that is usually frozen in winter, we saw this cooperative Hooded Merganser.
These birds are not at all common in Alaska and this male is the only Hooded Merganser that I have been able to photograph. I have seen this individual in Seward before.
It was in the company of a female Common Goldeneye. These two individuals have been hanging out together for several years. I guess he cannot find a mate of his own species. There is more to come from Seward.


Unknown said...

I'm surprised for this warmed end of February in this latitudes,the landscape looks like in the beggining of spring.

john said...

There was virtually no snow in Seward at all. However we are not fooled by this winter warm up. March is often colder with more snowstorms than february. Spring is not here yet.

John Holmes said...

Marbled Murrelet must have been a memorable surprise - looks like great scenery.

john said...

The murrelet was a treat, and Seward scenery is truly majestic. I like Seward in the winter because there are more seabirds present and fewer tourist. The place is over-run by throngs of tourist in the summertime.