Leaving Alaska Without the Redwing

I’m beating a hasty retreat out of Alaska.  The Redwing was not seen on Sunday nor on Monday.  This was terribly disappointing.  It was a long, expensive trip that also sucked four precious days out of the remainder of my Big Year. Here is a brief recap.

Early Sunday morning, David Sonneborn drove Ken Petersen, Isaac Helmericks, owner of Aleutian Outfitters out of Adak, and myself from Anchorage down to Seward. This journey took about 2 ½ hours over snow packed roads and required driving over several mountain passes, but we arrived just after 10:00 AM. The locals (Carol, Peregrine Joe, Robin and Jim) were already on the scene keeping vigilance, but the Redwing hadn’t arrived yet.  Ken and I stayed until dark hoping that it ight show late as it had on Saturday. The only bright spot for the day animal wise was a River Otter.  Aleta and Thetus were kind enough to drive us back to Anchorage thru snow flurries, which made the return a little hairy.  Ken needed to return to California Monday morning, but I figured that one more try on Monday was in order, so I drove down with Barrett Pierce from Amarillo, TX.  Once I Seward, we worked hard.  Carol and I held watch at the beach, where the redwing was originally seen, while Robin and Barrett drove through Seward scouring through every flock of Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks and A. Robins that they came upon. No luck – no Redwing – bummer. I wish to thank everyone for all the help and support on this trip, my only regret is that we didn’t see the Redwing together.

Once again, I feel like a heavyweight fighter that’s taken too many blows to the stomach.  The situation reminds me of late June when successive misses for the Yellow Grosbeak, Red-footed Booby and Green Violet-ear also had me singing the blues.  What turned that around was Scarborough Marsh.  So now in an effort to right the ship, I’ll seek some southern hospitality! Texas- sweet Texas. It’s been one of the pillars of my Big Year. Texas was featured in my planning and has produced 177 year-birds so far, nine of which have been rarities.   So saddle up. There’s a Golden-crowned Warbler waiting for me at Quinta Mazatlan and another at the Butterfly Garden near Mission.  Though it’s getting late, this dog still hunts.

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8 Responses to Leaving Alaska Without the Redwing

  1. Kerry Provance says:

    Hello John, my daughter lives in Seward with her husband and daughter. I tried like the dickens to get her and her family to go down to the point to see the Redwing so I could add it to my lifelist as a sort of “Proxy” bird. Hey, maybe I hit on a new idea for seniors to continue to grow their lists by using proxies. Anyway, they never went to see it and she grew up with a birding dad. I don’t know where I failed. I did get the excuse of ‘we don’t have any more binoculars because they were stolen from the basement of the Sea Bean, remember dad?’ Well, I didn’t remember, but I told her that I was certain that any birder they found there at the point would have gladly let them have a look through a pair of binoculars or a scope. Well, they never went and I never got my Redwing either. They did go see the movie “The Big Year” the week the Redwing was there. I would think that would have been enough to spark their interests. Guess not. It’s tough not getting a life bird even with technology at my fingertips and my proxy in the right place at the right time! Anyway, I’m sorry you missed it. That would have been a great one for you. Not many NA records. I’m just getting started on your website and reading it all. Very enjoyable. Thanks for letting us all share in your experiences. Maybe you’re the sequel to The Big Year. I hope you reach your goal of 1000! Thanks again and don’t forget the book. We all love birding books! K.P.

  2. Lynne says:

    Great attitude, John. We’re all proud of you.

  3. tai haku says:

    Oh dear. You seem to have hit a bit of a sticky patch at the back end of November. I suppose the silver lining to these dips is that there are still new tickable birds available to chase and sooner or later you’ll connect and get the list moving again. Keep at it – still every chance of a big december!

  4. Liz Southworth says:

    Yeah! Now that’s the winning spirit.

    “Bland” Liz

  5. Bill Kaempfer says:

    Bring us some fresh meat!

  6. So sorry you missed the Redwing John. Keep going strong! Get that Golden-crowned Warbler and many more!

  7. Jason Cade says:

    Black-vented Oriole seen two consecutive days now at Bentsen. Here’s hoping you can knock at least 2 off your year list this trip!

  8. John Vanderpoel says:

    Thanks so much, Kerry. Wish you and I could have both seen the Redwing.

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