So I know that I’m technically in temperate rainforest zone…but still, there is way too much rain.

When it’s just a drizzle, that’s fine, I can work with that. But the sort of rain we had this morning was torture, not to mention the wind.

That’s why I was intending to just stay inside this morning…when I discovered there were no coffee filters. I could not let this travesty stand. I walked to Three Bears, which is about a mile away, in the rain. Just for the sake of my coffee. To think that some people call me a coffee addict, I can’t imagine where they would get that idea.

Three Bears has a pretty nice selection for being such a small store…and the prices are a little cheaper than Safeway’s non-club member prices. I still think I’ll be picking up a Safeway card…I literally can’t afford to do otherwise.

On the way back, the weather let up a little bit, so I took my time walking along the bay. I spotted these two wet and bedraggled-looking Bald Eagles on a wire, where they were having their picture taken by a crowd of tourists.

Yep, that cruise ship pulled in this morning, releasing hundreds of tourists upon the small town of Seward. Many were American or Asian, but I caught some Russian being spoken, and met an Australian couple later in the day. They pretty much lined the streets, wandering about through the shops and harbors…and pretty much anywhere else that they wouldn’t be run over while walking.

Along the bay I found a small flock of what I’m pretty sure were Greater Scaup just cruising along. They were occasionally tossed around by the waves. There was a Common Merganser, too, but it was too far out for a good picture.

I was treated to another interesting sight, something I’ve normally only heard of. At one point I saw a Northwestern Crow take off from the ground holding something in its mouth. I raised my binoculars to see what it was, and realized it was a mussel. The crow flew up high…and dashed the shell to the ground, swooping down after quickly before any other birds could see its bounty. The bird made short work of what was left of the shell, and ate the bivalve within. I’m going to keep a watch on the bay area in the hopes of catching a bird in the act for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

I also spied this group of Double-Crested Cormorants taking a morning siesta. Out further, I spotted a Pacific Loon, as well as a pair of Kittlitz’s Murrelets. Closer to shore, there were the resident Harlequin Ducks (there are at least 3 or 4 pairs that patrol the pay), gulls (including some Mew Gulls), and a Wandering Tattler, who lingered just long enough for me to identify it before the rain began its assault anew, and it flew, presumably for shelter. Drenched, I returned to the apartment, and made my glorious coffee. My rest was to be short-lived, though; I had a key waiting for me at the sea life center.

Have some Harlequin Ducks

I waded through the tidal wave of tourists, only to discover that Dan wasn’t in his office. I decided to just hang around the exhibits and poke back in periodically to see if he had returned. I got plenty of good pictures of the bird exhibit, as well as some fun videos of the birds.

I had wandered over to the Steller’s Sea Lion habitat and found Woody lounging about. I was watching him for a bit, taking pictures and video, when suddenly he pulled up to the window, looking excited. I turned around and saw some people coming with ladders…apparently, Woody has learned to recognize when it’s feeding time. I got to see him perform some fun tricks, along with the crowd that had assembled by that point, attracted by his excited bellowing.

I have actually learned that Woody is almost 18 years old, and around 4200 pounds. Oh, and he eats around 65 pounds of fish a day. When that Kobayashi or whatever his face is eats 65 pounds of raw, unscaled fish in one sitting, I’ll be impressed.

I decided I would use this opportunity when most tourists where distracted to get back to the birds. I was so engrossed in filming some that I hadn’t noticed, until someone pointed it out to me, that the group of Tufted Puffins had waddled its way up behind me, perhaps a little curious. I was able to get some nice pictures.

Then Clinger, the Rhinocerous Auklet, decided he wasn’t getting enough attention, and hopped in front of me. How could I resist such cooperative and charming little bird, insistent as he was?

Finally, I took my leave. Though he looked a little dismayed, he soon had the attentions of an adoring crowd of tourists to keep him occupied. I went to Dan, got my key, and left for the Sea Bean…

…only to discover it was full of tourists. The place was literally jam-packed with people, so I had to make a detour to the public library to make today’s post and upload some videos.

A late walk after dinner along the lagoon yielded a Red-Breasted Nuthatch and a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes, one male and one female, rounding out a pretty productive day (at least I think so).

In other news, my Youtube account is up!! You folks who don’t have me on Facebook will now be able to view the videos I’ve taken thus far. I’ve only uploaded a few so far, but there are more to come…I just finished sorting them out, so it shouldn’t take as long as it did today.

Link is here http://www.youtube.com/user/alaskajohn89?feature=mhee

I’ve found a few woodsy places to try and nab birds like crossbills and chickadees…I’ll probably hit those in the morning early. If I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll bird the Seward airport in the afternoon. Hope to have some good updates for you all!

Total Alaska Life Bird Count: 19 (Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Wandering Tattler, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, Barrow’s Goldeneye)

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