Sunday, November 28, 2010

Alaska June 4th: Drive to Seward, Kenai Fjords

June 4th: This morning the guys went to pick up the rental cars at 7:30 for our drive to Seward – about 120 miles. We left the hotel about 8:00 and made a 45 minute stop at Potter Marsh where we saw Red Necked Grebes and Mew Gulls nesting.

We stopped at a Bakery across from a large wetland where we had brief looks at Northwestern Crow.

We checked a few stops along the way for Varied Thrush which we heard a few times, but never saw. We did find a Townsend’s Warbler at one of the rest stops.

There was a beautiful campground along the way on Rt 1 at a Lake (Summit?) which I would love to camp at some day. We had two Merlins here actively calling to each other and perched at the top of Fir trees and a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes. I got a poor photo of a digiscoped Barrow's Goldeneye.

One stop produced a Porcupine who climbed a tree once he knew we were watching him. Our last stop was at the Kenai Fjords National Park where we took about an hour to do a quick hike to the bottom of Exit Glacier.

They had markers dating back to 1814 from where the Glacier had receded from. Amazing! We had very distant looks at 5 Mountain Goats up on one of the mountain faces close to the peak. It turned out to be a beautiful day despite the weather forecast of drizzle. High was about 66F, but near the glacier was very chilly.

Checked in to the Harborview Motel in Seward and going to Rays Waterfront for dinner and then a quick grocery shop to prepare for the Pribiloffs.

Paul and I both had Spinach salad with Salmon for dinner and a Crab, artichoke appetizer. The food was very good and the scenery of the port was fabulous. Snow covered mountains against the bay filled with small boats and a Celebrity Cruise ship. Black-legged Kittiwakes were abundant and a few Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelets and Harlequin ducks were swimming in the bay, but the best sighting was the very large cute sea otters swimming close to shore doing a back float and rolling.

An ebird report of a Boreal Owl came in reported by Todd in Hope Alaska which was about 1.5 hrs from our hotel so a small group of us, Bob, Paula, Dave, Paul and I decided to try for it. When we were partially there Dave realized Todd had made the report and luckily he had gotten his phone number. So after a quick call we learned he had only heard it, but we decided to try anyway, unfortunately with no luck, but we did get great views of a Varied Thrush and Olive Sided Flycatcher and returned to the hotel at 1:30 AM!

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