This Sunday morning was the second week I participated in the Murrelet Watch. This is a Citizen Science program done with Alaska Department of Fish and Game where local citizens are regularly counting Marbled Murrelets at a specific location. The location in Sitka is Whale Park.
Weather: Another warm Sunday. It was mostly sunny with clouds over the mountains this morning. Temperatures were in the mid-50s by 7am. It did not end up getting quite as warm as last Sunday (when it got to be over 70), but it was quite warm. Clouds moved in from the south as the day went on and by this evening it was overcast.
Birds: We did not see too much out at Whale Park. I heard Hermit and Swainson’s Thrushes, Rufous Hummingbird, Townsend’s Warbler and Winter Wren. There were several Bald Eagles and gulls in the area as well. The eagles chased gulls a couple of times but never caught any that we saw.
We did observe a Loon, some Marbled Murrelets, Common Murres, and at least one Rhinocerous Auklet. There were also some alcids so far away that even on 60x magification with the scope, they looked small. They had white bellies and black upper parts. They actually reminded me a bit of the Horned Puffins that were around this winter, but they were almost certainly murres. They were just too far away to adequately judge size.
Flora: The Villous Cinquefoil was in full bloom on the rocks along the shore. The deerheart was just starting to bloom as well. I also saw a False Huckleberry bush in bloom.