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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scope Success and Swan Update

On Sunday I took the new scope out for a spin, and was successful in adding two species that had thus far been too far away for me to confirm IDs: marbled murrelet (109) and long-tailed duck (110). Overall, it was amazing how much more activity I could observe in Cattle Pass! I spend about 45 minutes just scanning with the scope, watching numerous alcids, loons, grebes, gulls, sea ducks, and seals foraging on the ebb tide.

Also, I heard back from the USGS about the banded swan I saw on Fir Island last weekend:

This bird, a male, was banded as an adult in August of 2006, meaning he's at least eight years old. The average life span for wild swans is about 12 years. He was tagged 55 miles northwest of Galena, Alaska, a distance of over 1700 miles from Fir Island. It's pretty amazing to think of far he's flown in his lifetime! It's always so neat to take small part in such research by reporting a sighting and learning part of the life history of a particular animal I saw.

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