I wanted to try for a better look and maybe some pictures of the Fork-tailed Storm-petrels that have been out in Crescent Bay lately, so I decided to try to get out kayaking while Rowan was in Preschool. After dropping her off, I went by Swan Lake to take a quick look, then went down to Crescent Harbor to check the water conditions. It looked a little breezy, but not too bad. I could see a few storm-petrels flying around, though not as many as yesterday. In the 15-20 minutes it took me to get home, get ready, and carry my kayak down to the beach, I found that the wind had picked up a bit. It did not seem dangerous, and I had made the effort to get down there, so I decided to take a short paddle at least. It was just starting to white cap and the waves were probably only a foot high. I’ve pretty much limited myself to fair weather paddling, so this was the roughest I have paddled out in. It was an interesting experience. At no point did I feel like I was anywhere close to tipping over, but I did notice that it was more difficult to control where I was going when I was not paddling perpendicular or parallel to the waves. Given the conditions, I decided to just paddle over to the base of the bridge and back.
Weather: It was pretty breezy today, with winds out of the southeast. The snow level dropped over night to below 2500 feet. It’s the first time I remember seeing snow on the Pyramids this fall. Mt. Edgecumbe also had a fair amount of snow on it.
Birds: At Swan Lake I saw 6 scaups (probably Lesser Scaups), 3 American Wigeons, 3 Green-winged Teal, and the Cackling Goose.
Out on the water I saw a few Fork-tailed Storm-petrels in the distance, though I did not venture out far enough to see them up close. There were at least a couple of Pelagic Cormorants, and I also saw quite a few gulls circling and gathering out in the middle of Crescent Bay, maybe out in front of Kutkan Island.
There were quite a few Harlequin Ducks at Sage Rock and also some Black Turnstones.
I don’t think I have mentioned it before, but there seems to be a Winter Wren that has taken up residence in the backyard. I’ve been hearing it chirp outside the window, but have never been able to see it when I looked out. A day or two ago, I finally saw it back there when the kids and I were picking rhubarb. It seems fairly tolerant of us.
The Steller’s Jay was back today and got more peanuts.
Other Notes: As I was coming in to Sage Beach, I stopped for a few moments at the hatchery outflow. While I was sitting there, 2 or 3 River Otters came swimming toward me. They were mostly swimming underwater, but would porpoise up a little bit to breathe. I am not sure if they saw me at first, because they ended up getting fairly close to me before diving under and not coming back up for a while. I do not know how long they can swim underwater and I did not see them come up, though a minute or two later, I saw one swimming over closer to the breakwater. They were a little difficult to see in the waves that were coming in, since they did not really get that far out of the water.