Late Long-tailed Duck

Weather was mixed today, with sunshine this morning and gradually increasing cloudiness through the afternoon. By this evening it was basically overcast with what may have been a high marine layer that covered the mountain tops. There was a pretty good breeze out of the west that let up into the evening.

I got a report of a small heron that was seen yesterday at Crescent Harbor. It’s not clear what the bird might have been, but sounds like it was something that would be very unusual for Sitka, and maybe for Southeast Alaska. With that providing some extra motivation, I spent a little time looking for birds this morning. There was a flock of around 25 scaups at Eagle Way Beach, and I saw a bird I didn’t recognize at first. After a few minutes I started to think maybe it was a Long-tailed Duck. They go through a pretty dramatic set of plumage changes throughout the year, so it looked very different than I am used to seeing.

This evening I was shown a Song Sparrow nest in a neighbor’s yard. Apparently there are four young birds in the nest, but I wouldn’t have guessed that while she was sitting there.

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