Monday, May 15, 2017

Diary Update #4 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 2017

☔  Sunday 14th May 2017 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ  ~ The weather deteriorated overnight with low cloud and light rain and indeed when we headed off for a walk around the hotel grounds after breakfast little had changed!

Several Varied Thrush foraging along the ski slopes.
A new species for the hotel list while I nipped to the car before breakfast, an American Tree Sparrow. After breakfast we spent a while searching the now grass laded (well almost) ski slopes for ground dwellers and our efforts produce Dark-eyed JuncoYellow-rumped WarblerPine Siskin, American Robin and Varied Thrush.

Sandhill Cranes arrive for the summer from Texas and California!
We decided to head back into Anchorage today to check out a few local areas and ended up at the Westchester Lagoon, which is only a 15 minute walk from downtown Anchorage! It also has some excellent mudflats looking out across the Knik Arm. Spring has arrived late here apparently and birds are continuing to arrive back locally only now but it's obvious that things are picking up.

Green-winged Teal among the many waterfowl!
When we arrived at the lagoon we were astonished to find 1000s of Swallows overhead, a major fall and probably brought down by the rain. After several minutes searching they all appeared to be Tree and Violet-greens. Out on the lagoon an array of waterfowl which included: (3) Surf Scoter, (6) Canvasback, Bufflehead, Greater/Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and (12) Red-necked Grebe.

Lesser Yellowlegs
We took a stroll along the coastal trail looking out over the tidal mudflats and here plenty of Arctic Terns, plus (3) Bonaparte's Gull and a couple of Glaucous-winged, which passed through. Waders included Short-billed Dowitcher, Black-bellied Plover, Pectoral SandpiperLesser Yellowlegs and a single Hudsonian Godwit. Two Sandhill Cranes were also present and in fact we managed to get quite close (photo above).

Numerous Mew Gulls nesting at Potters Marsh!
A stop at Potters Marsh on route back to Girdwood in what was now glorious sunshine also brought out the families, it's Mother's Day here today, but we did manage some additions to the Alaskan list which included: Savannah Sparrow, Wilsons Warbler and Red-breasted Nuthatch!