Late Winter Snow

I spent much of the day in bed feeling groggy and tired from a head cold. Snow was falling this morning when I first looked and continued until late afternoon or early evening. I took these pictures of nearly 10 inches of snow accumulated on the deck railing around 2pm. Hopefully this late season snow doesn’t stick around for too long, but there have been years when we’ve had significant snow well into April.

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Northern Goshawk

Last week I got a call from someone who had seen a Northern Goshawk near Sitka Community Hospital. He was alerted when he heard his chickens sounding alarmed, and found an immature goshawk (though he wasn’t sure what it was at the time) on top of the pen – which was covered with chainlink fencing. From there it flew off to a tree where he was able to get a good look at it.

I’m guessing this juvenile that I photographed today is the same bird. I first saw it flying across Park Street and down Etolin. I didn’t get a great look, but it seemed too large for the Sharp-shinned Hawks which have been frequenting the neighborhood this winter. It landed in a tree where I couldn’t see it. A raven made a dive at it and it flew to another nearby tree where I was able to get a better look (and these photos). Ravens made another couple of half-hearted passes at it before it took off and appeared to head toward the ground behind a house with chickens and ducks. I checked it out, but when I approached toward where the chicken yard is, the goshawk flew away toward the west along Biorka Street and I lost sight of it.

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These two sparrows posed nicely for comparing the differences between first year Golden-crowned Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow. The differences seem obvious to me now, but I remember the first time I found White-crowned Sparrows I had a hard time figuring out how to distinguish them from Golden-crowned Sparrows.

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