Saturday, December 25, 2004

Wildlife sightings 2004

March 14, 2004
Kayt brought the feeders from Kallenburg and put them up late last evening. First thing this AM, at 8:45ish, two black-capped chickadees discovered them and started eating. A pair of gray jays tried the seed feeder and the suet, but a nasty Sadie leap of doom scared them away. At 10:00 PM, Sine heard both a Great Horned Owl AND a Boreal Owl—first owls we have heard since coming to AK, and, of course, we have never heard a Boreal before. Way cool.

March 18, 2004
Flock of Common Red Polls at the feeder this morning. At least 12, I think. They seem to like the food in the glass feeder and in the tall plastic feeder. Sadie is growling at them. I think the red polls may have been here yesterday, as the lamp was turned over on the table. This red poll flock seems to be causing quite a bit of cat excitement, so imagine that was the precipitator on the lamp turn over. Heard a Great Horned Owl in the evening

March 19, 2004
Red polls continuing to flock and eat. A Gray Jay around in the yard.

March 20, 2004
Sine’s back.. Kayt had told me that she had seen Red Polls earlier, and now I got to see them! She’s right—there are at least a dozen flitting around. The Red Polls and the Black-capped Chickadees seem to be taking turns at the feeders. There is so much life in our woods now—there are birds flying to and from the feeders and just hanging around the border trees. It feels lively here, even though it’s still wintertime and -4.

April 3, 2004
Red polls continuing to flock, Chickadees too. Kayt saw a male Pine Grosbeak and then a female Pine Grosbeak while Sine was on the phone. Then Sine saw them, as they hung around and fed sporadically all day. Beautiful big birds. The female doesn’t look like the pictures in the Alaska birds book exactly, but does look like the Wisconsin “Stan’s” pictures. The Grosbeaks seem to like the sunflower seeds on the ground so we will make sure to put lots of sunflower seeds on the ground. Gray Jay hanging around on the deck in the afternoon. At night, Sine heard a Boreal Owl.

April 4, 2004
Looks like we have a solitary male House Finch today. Kayt thinks she saw him yesterday. The Alaska bird book says they are “casual visitors”, so casual, in fact, that they have no picture. But he looks like Stan’s book and the All the Birds of North America, so looks like him. All the Birds shows a map with the western variety touching the Canadian border on the west coast, so seems like he might have come on up here. Kayt raised the specter of global warming as a causal factor; seems scary but totally possible. Another new visitor! A Boreal Chickadee visited this morning! Then this evening, during Ursa’s last potty break, Sine heard a Great Horned Owl.

April 9, 2004
Daylight Savings time, lots of sunshine and the big meltdown. Female Hairy Woodpecker munched on the suet feeder this morning, and a reddish/gray squirrel is devouring sunflower seeds it is finding on the ground. Bird activity at the feeders virtually ceased in early April, with the redpolls disappearing first, followed by all of the others. Only occasional visits from black-capped chickadees now.

May 1
We went for a drive towards Circle, driving 85 miles up Steese Highway to 12-Mile Pass. We stopped to check out a melt-pond at Cripple Creek Campground and saw three different ducks in pairs: Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, and Mallard. Kayt spotted a porcupine in a tree, and we both saw one on the edge of Old Nenana. Also saw a hawk or eagle soaring when we were on Old Steese.

May 2, 2004
Male Dark-eyed Junco on the ground feeding under the feeders. Occasional visits from black-capped chickadees.

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