Sea Lions and Gulls

Spent the morning on the Food Web Cruise fund raiser for Sitka WhaleFest. They asked me to be aboard as the bird expert. It’s typically an enjoyable ride on an Alen Marine Sightseeing Vessel. We saw several whales, sea otters, Steller Sea Lions, and of course many birds.

Later this evening I went for a walk to scan gull flocks along the channel. Didn’t find anything unusual.

Read moreSea Lions and Gulls

Snow Returns

After catching the free brown bag concert put on by the Jazz Festival the kids and I got caught in a little snow squall. We waited out the strongest of it at the Crescent Harbor shelter as the snow, mostly in the form of graupel, fell. The forecast had called for snow with no accumulation, but by the end of the day the snow on the ground was approaching an inch deep.

The ice at Swan Lake continues to retreat. There were three Ring-necked Ducks, quite a few Glaucous-winged Gulls, at least one Thayer’s Gull, as well as Mallards and scaups. Today’s mix of scaups was different than yesterday’s, with two male Greater Scaups hanging together while another group of 5 Lesser Scaup males dove repeatedly at the edge of the ice. After the Greater Scaups moved around the peninsula to where the Lesser Scaups were, it was interesting to be able to compare them more directly and see some differences.

I noticed a Common Ragwort (Senecio vulgaris) with flowers still present. It was under a pine tree at the town end of the Lincoln Street green belt. Presumably the cover provided by the pine kept the plant from being significantly damaged by the frost. It seems unlikely the flowers will be able to produce seed, but I guess as temperatures rise in the coming months it will be interesting to see.

Read moreSnow Returns

Recent Birds

Took a couple of trips to Totem Park, one yesterday and one today. Yesterday I saw 3 Northern Pintails, 6 smaller dabblers (I thought Green-winged Teal at the time, though they may have been Northern Shovelers), at least 4 Caspian Terns (including a hatch-year bird), many Thayer’s Gulls, Mew Gulls, a handful of Herring Gulls, … Read more