Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bulletin #120 – Alaska #8

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
August 28, 2010

Bulletin #120 – Alaska #8

I had a great trip to Alaska with TOS (Texas Ornithology Society). They run an annual trip to Alaska in early June. We visited Anchorage, Nome, Barrow, Denali Highway and had a pelagic trip out of Seward. It was a fantastic trip with most usual birds seen and photographed along with numerous mammal species.

There were several highlights of the trip to Alaska in June. One was seeing the birds in breeding plumage, and the other was seeing birds nesting and some of the babies.

I have already posted several photos of birds on the nest. Here is the Great Gray Owl. Also, we found nesting Gyrfalcons. I also had an American Dipper taking food to the nest box.
Here are some other birds on the nest. The Common Loon builds its nest in reeds along the shore of a quiet lake.

We saw several pairs of Red-necked Grebes building floating nests of reeds in the middle of lakes.


In Potter's Marsh in Anchorage, there is a nice boardwalk that extends out into the marsh. Numerous birdhouses were put up on the support posts for Tree Swallows. Here is a male with his head out of the hole.


Potter's Marsh was also a great location to see plenty of chicks and young birds, due to the sheer numbers of breeding birds there.

There was a nest of Mew Gulls very close to the parking lot. Here is a downy young. I don't know why these chicks and the tern chick to follow are spotted, but maybe it helps to hide them in the reeds from predators. Here are a couple of photos of a single chick.



And here is the pair together.


Here is one begging from the parent.


And another with the parent showing the chick that she has no food available at this time.


The Arctic Tern has a bright red bill and so does the chick behind.


There also was a family of Red-necked Grebes. As you have probably seen on nature TV shows, the baby grebes will ride on the back of the parents at times. I had never witnessed this before. The babies have striped faces.



In the next series of photos, both parents are present and a total of 3 babies can be seen. One of the parents has a large minnow and was trying to feed it to the babies, but none of them were able to swallow it.



I will be leading a 9 day bird photography tour to Costa Rica in conjunction with Lillian Scott-Baer of Baer Travel March 3-11, 2011. We have worked out an itinerary to visit La Selva Preserve, Savegre Mountain Hotel in the central mountains for Resplendant Quetzal and other montane species and Wilson Botanical Gardens (Las Cruces). We have also retained the services of local guide Rudy Zamora to accompany us and locate and ID the birds for us to photograph. We will also have beautiful flowers and hopefully some mammals - tamanduas, monkeys etc.

The trip is now sold out.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald


photos copyright 2010 David McDonald

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