Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 18, 2017

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks

Tired of just seeing magpies and ravens?  Welcome the Spring Songbirds!

Develop and fine-tune your birding skills and witness the progression of songbird migration through the Campbell Tract this spring. Join the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff and Anchorage Audubon Society members for a series of early morning outdoor bird walks May 18, & 25.Read the rest

Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival – May 18 – 21, 2017

Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival

Where the river ends and the birding begins!

The Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival is growing every year.  This year’s weekend features their signature Kenai River Birding Float Trip,  a Kasilof River Float Trip, a 24 Hour Midnight Sun Big Sit, and plenty of walks & tours.  The Kenai River Viewing Platform is always a hotspot, and there’s no telling what will show up during the festival weekend.… Read the rest

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Bird Walk – May 25, 2017

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Birdwalk

Sloppy eaters…bring your game on!

Because Spring Birding is at it’s peak, Anchorage Audubon has decided to CANCEL our regular third-Thursday monthly program at the BP Energy Center and have a party instead. It’s a potluck, a chance to tell birding lies, and a chance to casually stroll around the Westchester Lagoon area with other birders looking for new arrivals.  PLEASE NOTE that we’ve pushed the date back one week because the weather is totally guaranteed to be warmer.

We will also feature our Spring Pro-Am Birding Tournament.  Experienced birders will pair up with inexperienced birders for a 30 minute contest to find the most species on Westchester Lagoon.  The time goes by like lightning, and it’s always a treat to see what can be found in a very short period of time.

Bring a dish to share, tales to tell, binoculars, and gear appropriate for the day’s weather.  We’ll bring plates, utensils, and Audubon Society approved napkins for sloppy eaters.

Thursday, May 25, 2017:  6:00 pm

Westchester Lagoon Boat Launch Parking Lot

 

Event Wrap-up – 2017 Potluck Party and Pro-Am Bird Walk

Event Wrap-up – 2017 Potluck Party and Pro-Am Birdwalk

Last Thursday’s Westchester Lagoon Pro-Am Birding Challenge was a fabulous success!

It was hailing 5 minutes before the potluck started, but it stopped by the time the first pizza was consumed. When it was time to Bird, the sun was shining. It was a fabulous Spring Day in Alaska!

Twenty nine intrepid birders were in attendance including Cadia who is possibly the youngest birder ever to show up at an Anchorage Audubon event.

Cadia – The youngest (undocumented) ever birder at an Anchorage Audubon Event!

Louann’s Team crushed the competition with 21 species found in 30 minutes. Second place was an 18 species tie between Trapper Dan’s team and the Big Sit Team led by Dianne Toebe and Keith Confer.

Any day that includes birding, pizza, competition, AND a rainbow has to be a great one!

The Big Sit Team tied for 2nd without even moving from the starting point!

We hope to see you at This Sunday’s Smackdown for an even more serious competition.

Twenty nine intrepid birds are all smiles as they brave the elements.

 

Weather ranged from hail to rain to sprinkles to sunshine and to this odd weather phenomenon.

Potter Marsh Birdwalks – May, 2017

Potter Marsh Birdwalks

Sponsored by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska will lead Bird Walks at Potter Marsh on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 PM, and Saturday mornings from 8:00 – 10:00 AM from May 20 through July 29.

It’s a family-friendly event for all levels of birders. … Read the rest

Potter Marsh-A-Thon Birding Smackdown – June 4, 2017

The Potter Marsh-A-Thon Birding Smackdown

Not your Mother’s Birding Contest!

Once again it’s Anchorage’s greatest Birding Smackdown. How many bird species can your team find within Potter Marsh between 8:00 AM and Noon?  How much food can you bring to the Potluck Picnic immediately following the contest period at Noon?  Whose team has the best name?

 

Fabulous Prizes will be awarded for most species seen. Teams may consist of 2 – 6 people.  The team must remain within voice or sight contact and must fit into one vehicle.  Species may only be counted if they are seen/heard by the entire team (Exceptions:  6 – person teams may count birds seen by 5 members, and 5-person teams may count birds seen by 4 members.)

 

Check-in is at 7:30 AM in the parking lot at the north end of the marsh.  Teams will be given a check list and a Potter Marsh map on which to log the location of each species seen.  At the end of the contest, we’ll re-cap what teams have discovered to allow all participants to re-locate desired species.

The Motley Crew

Entry fee is $20.00 per team.  Exact change is required. The Official Smackdown ends precisely at Noon.  Teams will be penalized one species per minute late.  Birds may be counted Only if seen from designated roads and trails in the Potter Marsh area.  No stopping or walking will be allowed on the West side of the New Seward Highway. Birds seen in non-designated areas may be counted if the observers are standing within a designated area.

Arctic Tern

SPECIAL SAFETY RULES:  No stopping is allowed on the New Seward Highway except in designated turn-outs on the East side of the highway, and pulling into the designated turn-outs is only allowed for vehicles traveling NORTH.  Parking in a manner that blocks other teams from using a pull-out will result in a penalty of 15 species.

Everybody is welcome, so assemble your team, whip up a dish to share, and meet us Sunday Morning at 7:30 AM for a hilarious birding field trip with Fabulous Prizes!  Birding will be limited to the Potter Marsh area, and who knows what rarities will show up when there are birders combing every inch of an area that usually just gets the once-over.

Lincoln Sparrow

Will Audubon Alaska get their clock cleaned by Anchorage Audubon?  Can members of the Mat-Su Birders hang with the guys from the big city?  If you don’t have a team, show up anyway and we’ll try to assemble teams on the spot.    It’s the anti-social event of the ornithological season.  If another team won’t tell you where they just saw a Pectoral Sandpiper, you are totally allowed to use “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  This is not your Mother’s Birding Contest.  We hope to see you June 4, at the Potter Marsh North Parking Lot.

For questions, email flybynightclub at gci dot net

The Potter Marsh-A-Thon Birding Smackdown – Not your Mother’s Birding Contest!

Sunday, June 4, 2017:  7:30 AM

 

Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Platform

 

 

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 25, 2017

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks

Tired of just seeing magpies and ravens?  Welcome the Spring Songbirds!

Develop and fine-tune your birding skills and witness the progression of songbird migration through the Campbell Tract this spring. Join the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff and Anchorage Audubon Society members for a series of early morning outdoor bird walks May 25. Walks are from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM.… Read the rest

Audubon Alaska – Map Exhibit – August 4, 2017

Audubon Alaska

Map Exhibit:  Explore Alaska’s Arctic Waters

You’re invited!

Join Audubon Alaska to celebrate the release of their Ecological Atlas of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas, a comprehensive atlas featuring over 100 maps of Arctic marine mammals, seabirds, sea ice, subsistence, and more.

Come view a selection of their dynamic maps, learn about their conservation work in the Arctic, and find out how you can advocate for the protection of these ecologically vital places.

Read the rest

USFWS Breeding Bird Surveys – Volunteers Needed – June 1 – July 8, 2017

USFWS Breeding Bird Surveys

volunteers needed for eighteen (18) select Alaska Locations

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is looking for volunteers with a passion for birding in Alaska to conduct breeding bird surveys in eighteen (18) select locations throughout Alaska.

Background Information:

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) began in 1966 as part of an effort to gain information on North American bird populations.

Read the rest

Potter Marsh Birdwalks – June, 2017

Potter Marsh Birdwalks

Sponsored by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska will lead Bird Walks at Potter Marsh on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 PM, and Saturday mornings from 8:00 – 10:00 AM from May 20 through July 29.

It’s a family-friendly event for all levels of birders. … Read the rest

Yakutat Tern Festival – June 1-4, 2017

Yakutat Tern Festival

To highlight the extraordinary natural and cultural resources of Yakutat by establishing a festival celebrating Aleutian terns.

Alaska’s newest Birding Festival is a treat for all.  This year’s festival features Keynote Speaker, botany professor, and seabird biologist Dr. David Duffy.  Featured artist is Debbie Miller.  An optional Yakutat Bay charter boat field trip will be available as well as  special rates on Alaska Airlines.… Read the rest

Potter Marsh Birdwalks – July, 2017

Potter Marsh Birdwalks

Sponsored by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game and Audubon Alaska will lead Bird Walks at Potter Marsh on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 PM, and Saturday mornings from 8:00 – 10:00 AM from May 20 through July 29.

It’s a family-friendly event for all levels of birders. … Read the rest

Membership Meeting – Thursday, September 15, 2016

Potluck & Photo Sharing

 at the BP Energy Center – 6:30 PM

 Join us Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016  fwhimbrelor Anchorage Audubon’s Annual End-Of-Summer Potluck Party and bring your favorite photos of your summer adventures.

Get together with your birding pals and share photos, tasty treats, and tall tales.  Bring a dish to share—Hot Or Cold but no plug-in heating devices are allowed in the room. 

Read the rest

Volunteers Needed – September 10, 2016

Volunteers Needed for Short Work Party On Saturday

at the Business Park Wetlands – 10:00 AM

business-park-wetlands-1The Business Park Wetlands need some TLC, so we’re organizing a short Saturday Morning Work Party beginning at 10:00am. The Business Park Wetlands is behind the Outback restaurant off C Street just south of Tudor Road.  The Wetlands was established and protected by the Business Park Wetlands Coalition and Anchorage Audubon in the early 1990s, and the viewing platform needs a little work.

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What we will be doing is:  Replacing 4 boards on the benches, trimming a lot of overgrown foliage from the bench area, trimming foliage that now obscures the signs, and weed-whacking around the platform, deck, and pathway.
The whole project will only take between 1 and 2 hours.  We will need a few tools:  A cordless drill, a cordless skillsaw, a cordless weed-whacker, and a cordless leaf blower.  Please bring gloves and pruners if you have them.
If you can help, please call  244-KEYS in advance so we can make certain we have adequate people and equipment.  And there’s a rumor that there will be donuts.

Thanks a Bazillion, and we hope to see you there!

BP Energy Center

 

Bird Walk and eBird Tutorial – August 13, 2016

Bird Walk and eBird Tutorial

at Reflections Lake and the Palmer Library – 8:30 AM

red-necked-phalaropeAudubon Alaska and the Mat-Su Birder bird walk and eBird tutorial at Reflections Lake and the Palmer Library.

Keep track of birds you see, plan birding trips, and more!

Maybe you have hear of eBird but have never logged in, or maybe you are a regular eBird user and would like to meet others for this interactive tutorial.  Come to Reflections Lake off of the Glenn Highway for a short bird walk where we will collect a bird species list to enter into eBird.  We will then drive to the Palmer Library for a tutorial that will walk you though everyting from getting logged onto eBird and entering your first checklist to the finer points of how to use it as a birding tool.

Come prepated to take notes on the birds seen during the walk or with field notes from a recent birding adventure.  After this tutorial you should be well on your way in using and appreciating this great citizen science program from Cornell University!

When:  Saturday, August 13, 2016, 8:30 AM – 12:30 AM

Where:  Reflections Lake Parking Lot

red-necked-phalaropeWhat to bring: A notebook for recording the birds seen on the walk, a laptop or tablet if you have one, (if not we can share!).

Directions: If driving southbound on the Glenn Highway cross the Matanuska River and then take the Knik River Access off-ramp to the Reflections Lake parking area on your right.

If driving northbound on the Glenn Highway cross the Knik River then take the Knik River Access off-ramp, turn left and go through the tunnel under the Glenn Highway and continue straight until the road curves to the Reflections Lake Parking Lot.

Contact:  Cole Talbot at ctalbot@audubon.org or call 907-276-7034 with any questions.

 

 

Potter Marsh Bird Walks – Extended to August 16, 2016

Potter Marsh Bird Walks Extended!

 Potter Marsh; Tuesdays, 6:30 AM – 8:30 PM & Saturdays, 8:00 – 10:00 AM

2016-potter-marsh-bird-walks-extendedWe just heard from Audubon Alaska and the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, and the summer Bird Walks at Potter Marsh have been extended through August 16.

Join Audubon Alaska and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for a guided leisurely walk on the Potter Marsh boardwalk and nearby trails to identify and learn about the areas’ bird life. This family-friendly event is for the beginning birder as well as those that know their way around a bird‘s wing. Binoculars are available for loan (no charge) and spotting scopes and guide books will also be available. Walks will take place rain-or-shine, so dress accordingly. Meet your guide at the boardwalk entrance kiosk at Potter Marsh. Kids encouraged, wheelchair accessible.

Contact: joe.meehan@alaska.gov for additional information.

Lynn Barber’s Big Alaska Year – July 15, 2016

The Alaska Big Year Record

 Holy Moly! What a Big Year!

lynn-barber-alaska-big-yearLynn Barber has totally rocked the Alaska Big Year with 287 species and Five Months to go!  As of yesterday, it looks like she has tied the previous record, although there’s some doubt as to what the previous record is.  With the help of Ed Clark, Thede Tobish, David Sonneborn, and Brad Benter, we’ve tried to piece together the Alaska Big Year history, and here’s what it looks like:

The record Big Year for a long time was assumed to be an effort by the late Tim Schantz who reached 275 in 2000.  In 2013, Scott Schuette reached 273 and Brad Benter hit  272.  Ed Clark then reported that he had been told that the late Pete Islieb once hit 287 in his Big Year.  Both Thede and Dave replied that they weren’t aware that Pete “kept track of his year list,” and Brad Benter says “the rumors I heard about Pete had him at 280 in a year.”  So the highest recorded Big Alaska Year has some doubt attached to it.  Unfortunately, there’s probably no way to verify that number at this point.

But during this fact-checking, Thede reported that HE had once logged a year with “281-ish” birds although he didn’t have his records immediately at hand.

SO……Lynn Barber reached 287 yesterday with the Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Ketchikan.  If the Pete Islieb story is true, Lynn has tied the all-time Big Year record.  If the Pete Islieb story is not accurate, Lynn has surpassed the Alaskan Big Year by as many as 6 birds, and once again there are still 5 months left.

In either case, huge congratulations are in order for Lynn Barber!  I personally want to thank her for providing vicarious excitement to my otherwise pathetic little life!

lynn-barber-alaska-big-year

Another factor in this saga is that Lynn is probably the first of the top Alaska Big Year participants who has actively,  purposely, and intentionally CHASED birds.  Tim, Brad, Scott, and Thede were all working and/or guiding while they did their Big Years.

Also, please bear in mind that there may be inaccuracies on my part.  I don’t think the possible inaccuracies in the numbers would change the final standings except possibly for Pete Islieb’s tally.  As far as I can tell,  it looks like the history is:

  1.      287              Pete Islieb (possibly)
  2.      287              Lynn Barber (definitely)
  3.      281-ish        Thede Tobish
  4.      275              Tim Schantz
  5.      273              Scott Schuette
  6.      272              Brad Benter
  7.      264              Dave Sonneborn

Each of these phenomenal birders has posted astounding Big Year numbers, and we salute them all!  If there are other records lurking out there, we’d love to hear about them.

The Hawk Watch Report from Yesterday – April 7, 2016 – April 8, 2016

The Hawk Watch Report from Yesterday

Gunsight Mountain

“The Harlan’s Hawk Capitol of The World”

golden_eagle_1

Thursday, we took a trip to the Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch site.  Weather was low ceiling and very few birds were flying, but Fish & Game has been trapping and banding Golden Eagles and we scored when they released one of the birds right in front of us.

We can’t promise looks that good at the Hawkwatch Weekend Party next week, but you never know what you’re going to see at the Hawkwatch.

golden_eagle_2

Details for the Hawkwatch Weekend are on the Anchorage Audubon website at:
http://www.anchorageaudubon.org/content/view/20/35/

and on the Mat-Su Birders website at http://www.matsubirders.org/

golden_eagle_3

We’d love to see you there.

golden_eagle_4

Great Loon Cam News – July 6, 2016

Great Loon Cam News

 The Connors Lake Loon Cam is now streaming the live video!

2016-loon-cam-news-picture-1
The Connors Lake Loon Cam is now streaming the live video!  The microphone has not been working, so there is no sound.  Sorry about that.  We will try to get it repaired before next year.  To see the video, go to:

 

Great Loon Cam News

The Pacific Loons are incubating a single egg.  A chick is expected around July 10.  Later that week a couple of biologists from USGS will attempt to capture the female to retrieve her geolocator, which will tell us where she goes for the winter.“

2016-loon-cam-news-picture-1

Previously, Jean gave us a rundown on the progress of the Loon Cam so far this year:
After a couple of false starts, the Pacific Loons on Connors Lake have finally gotten serious.  I had previously reported an egg laid on June 12, which disappeared the next day, just like the first egg laid two weeks earlier. On June 14-15 the female laid another egg, and the pair started incubating it. They have been sitting on it almost continuously since then.  The egg was laid on the south side of the island, perhaps because of the thicker layer of bulrushes there(?), directly beneath the camera, so the view is an overhead one, and the bands on the female are not as easily seen. From the attached snapshots, the female can be differentiated from the male by the large single spot at the rear of her back pattern on each side.  Even with such a late hatch, there should be time for a chick to fledge in mid to late-September.

2016-loon-cam-news-picture-2

 

 

Whiskered Auklet Trip – July 2, 2016

Whiskered Auklet Trip – July 2, 2016

A Last-Minute Seat has Opened Up
2016-whiskered-auklet-trip-whiskered-auklet
A Last-Minute Seat has Opened Up
on the Whiskered Auklet trip out of Dutch Harbor on July 2, 2016.

This is in conjunction with the Anchorage Audubon Ferry Cruise to Dutch Harbor, so if you’re already on the Ferry, or if you’re going to be in Dutch Harbor, there is one seat available on the Auklet Charter.

Contact Lynn Barber if you’re interested at dalybar at aol dot com.

2016-whiskered-auklet-trip-whiskered-auklet