Last Minute Reminder for the Potluck Party and Pro-Am Birdwalk – May 26, 2016 – May 25, 2016

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Birdwalk

Thursday evening, May 26, Anchorage Audubon presents one of our favorite yearly events. 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.

This replaces our usual monthly indoor meeting, and it’s a chance to get outdoors with your birding pals—-but wait–there’s more!

After we’ve devoured everything on the potluck tables, we’ll choose up sides.  Experienced birders will lead teams of less-experienced birders, and they will have 30 minutes only to scour Westchester Lagoon.  Prizes will be awarded to the teams that find the most species in only 30 minutes.  It’s a birding sprint, and everyone is invited!

 

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Bird Walk – May 26, 2016

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Birdwalk

May 26, 2016

Thursday evening, May 26, Anchorage Audubon presents one of our favorite yearly events. 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.

This replaces our usual monthly indoor meeting, and it’s a chance to get outdoors with your birding pals—-but wait–there’s more!

After we’ve devoured everything on the potluck tables, we’ll choose up sides.  Experienced birders will lead teams of less-experienced birders, and they will have 30 minutes only to scour Westchester Lagoon.  Prizes will be awarded to the teams that find the most species in only 30 minutes.  It’s a birding sprint, and everyone is invited!

 

Westchester Lagoon Potluck Party & Pro-Am Tour – July 07, 2012

2012 Westchester Lagoon Potluck Party & Pro-Am Tour

July 07, 2012

Saturday, July 07, Anchorage Audubon met for one of our favorite yearly events. The Westchester Lagoon Potluck Party and Pro-Am Tour, to tell birding lies and casually stroll around the Westchester Lagoon area with other birders looking for new arrivals.

After everything was devoured on the potluck tables, we choose up sides.  Experienced birders lead teams of less-experienced birders, each having 30 minutes only to scour Westchester Lagoon.  Prizes were awarded to the teams that found the most species in 30 minutes.  It was a birding sprint, and fun was had by all!

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The Best Alaskan Hawkwatch Article – April 6, 2016

The Best Alaskan Hawkwatch Article

The BEST Article Ever Written on Hawkwatching in Alaska!

the-best-alaskan-hawkwatch-articleA few years back, The American Birding Association’s magazine, Birding, ran an article about our own Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch by Paul and Cecily Fritz.

The Fritzes led the hawkwatch effort at Gunsight Mountain for many years, and this article describes the site perfectly.  They explain why our hawkwatch is very different from most other hawkwatch sites in the country, which raptors can be seen, when they can be seen, and why the birds even fly in a strangely different direction.

(Website administrator edit on 3/10/2018:  The PDF of the article has been embedded here because it appears to be not longer available on Hawkwatch International’s website.  Special thanks and credit to Paul and Cecily Fritz and to Hawkwatch International.)

Hawkwatch - Paul and Celicy Fritz-1

 

We have a gem in our own backyard, and we’d love to see you sometime this spring at Gunsight Mountain!

The Hawks Are Here! – April 5, 2016

The Ultimate Hawkwatch at Gunsight Mountain – “The Harlan’s Hawk Capitol of the World”

the-ultimate-hawkwatch

This year, Hawkwatch International is once again monitoring the Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch site, but this year it’s bigger than ever.  There will be 2 professional hawk watchers at the site from March 7 until May 15!

Paul and Cecily Fritz dreamed of such a full-scale monitoring effort twenty years ago, and it’s finally happened.

Last year Neil Paprocki manned the site for 2 weeks, and this year it’s the Full Deal.


In the past, Paul and Cecily usually started visiting the site around March 25, and by that date, the Golden Eagle migration was really starting to happen.  But Carol McIntyre (Denali Park biologist) had said that Goldens were on the nest in Denali around March 15.  Those birds take a different route than the Gunsight Goldens, but it would indicate that the birds were moving early in March.

Two weeks ago, the counters had a day with 229 Golden Eagles, and YESTERDAY, the first Rough-legged Hawks came through the sige.  Harlan’s Hawks have been seen for at least a week.
If you’d like to see their counts, they are posting daily results at:

Like last year, we are also asking for volunteers to help the observers.  Watching the whole sky for an entire day is hard work, and the more eyes the better.

If you want to join the counters for a day, please do so.  They’d love the assistance and the company, but be advised that the count may be taking place at Milepost 121 or Milepost 120 instead of the regular Hawkwatch Weekend site of mile 121.

Hawkmasters Davis and Rubenthaler would probably appreciate any fresh provisions you’d like to bring along, but please use disposable or recyclable dishes/utensils so they don’t have to worry about returning them.

Also please be advised that they have  job to do, so large groups of absolute beginners who need a personal course in Hawkwatching is not the most productive use of their time.  Fortunately, that’s EXACTLY what the Hawkwatch Weekend is for.

We hope to see you up the road.!

the-ultimate-hawkwatch-2

The Big Anchorage Birding Day Results – March, 2016


Saturday – March 20, 2016

The First Day of Spring was Celebrated!

We Came, We Saw, We Birded!

The Big Anchorage Birding Day Results

Another Audubon Cutthroat Competition Entered into the Annals of History!!

What A Day!
…and that’s what we’d expect for a Big Anchorage Day.  Six teams squared off to find the most bird species in Anchorage during 24 hours on the First Day of Spring.  And only in Anchorage would this gargantuan effort be accompanied by an all-time record snowfall with near white-out conditions.  It was birding drama at it’s finest.
2016-anc-big-day-1
Two teams started Friday at 5:00pm in Girdwood where it was spitting light snow.  The birding was tough and slow—even the regular Girdwood birds, such as the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, were absent or extremely difficult.  The teams’ efforts continued after dark with no success at owling.
Another team took the opposite approach and started in Anchorage on Friday evening to moderate success.  They hit the road before 6:00 am on Saturday and headed to Girdwood in near blizzard conditions, and again, birding was brutal.
Saturday in Anchorage was also merciless, and the results showed it very clearly.  Last year, two teams tied with 37 species found.  This year, the winning team of Thede Tobish, Nils Warnock, and W. Keys found only 31.  All credit was given to Thede and Nils when Keys said, They found everything.  All I did was hand them scones and try to keep the car out of 20-car pile-ups.”
2016-anc-big-day-2
At the final Tally, it was revealed that 9 species were seen that were NOT seen last year:  Canada Goose, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser,  Eurasian Collared Dove, Northern Hawk Owl, Short-eared Owl, Sharp-shinned hawk, Northern Shrike, and Hoary Redpoll.
In addition, FIFTEEN species were seen last year and were not seen this year:  Green-winged Teal, Willow Ptarmigan, Herring Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull,  Boreal Owl,  3-Toed Woodpecker,  Merlin, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Purple Finch,  Cassins’ Finch, White-winged Crossbill, and Pine Siskin.  
Ten species were seen by only one team, and possibly the two best finds of the day were found by the team which logged the lowest total number of species.  Daria and Arlene spotted both the Eurasian Collared Dove and a WOLVERINE near Potter Marsh!  Whoa!
Once again, the ruling principle of the day was, “You have to be in the right place at the right time.”  This was drilled in by The Finely Feathered Fairbankians.  Their team and the winning team were together on the Point Woronzof Road looking successfully at the Northern Hawk Owl and looking expectantly for the reported Short-eared Owl.  The cars were side-by-side and the winning team headed down the road at the exact moment that the Fairbanksians spotted the Short-eared flying down the runway a short distance away.  Later in the day, The Fairbanksians said, It was totally great that we were both right there when the Short-eared flew right by us.”  And the Winning Team replied, “Huh?  What do you mean?”

THAT’S birding at it’s finest.  

NO Audubon Meeting This Thursday – March 17, 2016 – March 14, 2016

NO Audubon Meeting This Thursday – March 17, 2016

Sorry for the confusion, but there is NO Audubon meeting this Thursday.

Our regular meeting has been replaced by Neil Paprocki’s special Hawkwatch Program on SATURDAY – March 19, 2016.


SPECIAL MARCH PROGRAM

Neil Paprocki from Hawkwatch International
presents

“The Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch
Monitoring Program for 2016″

the-ultimate-hawkwatch-2

Our March 19 Meeting is TOTALLY DIFFERENT this year. It will NOT take place on our usual Third Thursday because of the availability of a Special Guest Star. Neil Paprocki from Hawkwatch International will present a SPECIAL program on The Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch.

This year, for the First Time Ever, Hawkwatch International is monitoring our migration site for the full TEN WEEK Migration Season from March 7 thru May 15!  This is a dream collection of data that has been envisioned for 20 years.

Neil Paprocki and his team arrived at the sight on March 7, and will give us a glimpse into the early Golden Eagle migration, the results from last year’s limited monitoring of the site, and an overview of the Gunsight Mountain migration. This will be a total treat for all Raptor Fans, but EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT FOR THIS MEETING.

The Program will happen on SATURDAY, MARCH 19 at 7:30pm, and even the location is different. For this meeting ONLY, we will meet in the UAA Consortium Library, Room 307.

We hope you can join us, and there will be special scholastic cookies in honor of the UAA Library.

hawkwatch-international-badge

General Membership Meeting – January 2016

Thursday – January 21, 2016

Bosque del Apache

by Jules Tileston

at the BP Energy Center

7:00 PM

Our January program will be another “Must See” for birders.  Jules Tileston will take us on a photo journey to The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge south of Albuquerque.

Bosque del Apache is one of the premier birding destinations in the Southwest, and Jules will share highlights of his three trips to the Refuge.

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Seward Birding Birding Trip – February 20, 2016


Saturday – February 20, 2016

Anchorage Audubon Society – Annual Winter Field Trip

Seward Birding Birding Trip

Meet in front of the Seward Harbormaster’s restrooms,
located at the south end of the small boat harbor.

Join Aaron Bowman and others for a winter birding excursion to enjoy Seward’s great diversity of wintering birds and the possibility of a few rarities. Come dressed for the weather and the location, prepared for a great day with great birds.
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HawkWatch International – March 7 – May 15, 2016

HawkWatch International

Count Hawks at Gunsight Mountain

at Milepost 118.8 of the Glenn Highway 

This spring, a decades-long goal will finally happen.  We have always wanted to do a complete and thorough HawkWatch for an entire season at Gunsight Mountain.  This year, thanks to Neil Paprocki, it will become a reality!
Neil monitored our HawkWatch site for 2 weeks last spring, and this year Neil will return with TWO additional hawk watchers for the entire season.
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The Big Anchorage Birding Day – March, 2016

Saturday – March 18-19, 2016

Celebrate the First Day of Spring with

The Big Anchorage Birding Day

Another Audubon Cutthroat Competition!!

Next week it’ll be Spring, and what better way to celebrate than by scouring the Anchorage Municipality for birds. From Eklutna to Portage–How many species can your team find in 24 hours from 5:00 PM on Friday March 18, 2016 until 5:00 PM on Saturday March 19, 2016?

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Gunsight Mountain Hawk Watch – April 16 – 17, 2016

Gunsight Mountain Hawk Watch

at Milepost 118.8 of the Glenn Highway

 

Our Annual HawkWatch Weekend in collaboration with the Mat-Su Birders will take place on April 16 – 17th, 2016.

Celebrate the return of spring migrating raptors with this annual Anchorage Audubon first field trip of the spring. Migrating raptors that can be seen along the ridgeline near MP 118.8 include golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern goshawk, American kestrel, peregrine falcon and merlin.

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General Membership Meeting – December 2015

Thursday – December 10, 2015

Rare Birds of Alaska and Some Common Birds in Focus

by David Sonneborn

at the BP Energy Center

7:00 PM

160110 - David Sonneborn

160110 – David Sonneborn

David Sonneborn is legendary among Alaskan birders as the person with the highest Alaska bird list total of all time at some 419 species.  He has probably seen more rare birds in Alaska than anyone else, and he’ll share his amazing journey into the world of Alaskan rarities with us as we head into Christmas Bird Count season.  Dave will share glimpses of birds that most of us only dream of.  We hope you’ll join us for a true Christmas treat and plenty of Cookies.

The thirty-fourth report of the Alaska 200 Club states that; “David Sonneborn remains at the top of the list; still the only birder to have reported seeing more than 400 species in Alaska

Please note that our December meeting is one week earlier than our usual Third Thursday so as not to conflict with the Holiday Season and the Christmas Bird Count.  We’ll also have a last minute update on the CBC which will take place this year on Saturday, December 19.  Full information on the Bird Count is on our website.

 

General Membership Meeting – November 2015

Thursday – November 19, 2015

stories from the book

“Animal Stories:  Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife”

by Bill Sherwonit

at the BP Energy Center

7:00 PM

Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska's Wildlife

Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife

Bill Sherwonit presents:

Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Birds and Other Wildlife that Enrich our Lives.

Anchorage nature writer and author Bill Sherwonit will give a talk and reading based on his newest book, “Animal Stories.”

Bill’s book ranges from “wood frogs to redpolls and shrews to lynx and wolverines.”  Nick Jans wrote, “Bill Sherwonit’s three-plus decades of experience with Alaska wildlife, and his love for them all, from grizzlies to robins, shines forth.”

We are proud to be sharing an evening with the author of essays that were chosen for inclusion in “the Best American Science and Nature Writing Anthology.”

That’s a reason to serve cookies!

June 2016 Ferry Trip to Dutch Harbor

June, 2016

with Aaron Bowman

Several Anchorage Audubon members are organizing a guided birding trip on the Tustumena ferry from Homer to Dutch in June. We are also hoping to charter a boat in Dutch to better our chances of seeing the Whiskered Auklet.

The ferry schedule doesn’t come out until November but the cabins fill up very quickly so we are doing some preplanning now.

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Fall Freeze Up Bird Walk – Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall Freeze Up Bird Walk

October 17, 2015

meet at the Cuddy Pond parking lot just south of the

Loussac Library and north of Cuddy Pond

9:00 AM

Aaron BowmanCome watch waterfowl and other birds at hotspots around town before the lakes freeze.

Aaron Bowman will lead this outing to a number of good waterbird locations around town that may include Westchester Lagoon and Lake Hood.

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General Membership Meeting – October 2015

Thursday – October 15, 2015

Birding Panama

by Barb & Hank Krizman

at the BP Energy Center

7:00 PM

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan

Join us for a great tropical adventure as seen through the lenses of two stunning photographers—Barb and Hank Krizman.

Their recent trip to Panama yielded a treasure trove of incredible birds that they’ll share with us.
It’s just the kind of warmth we need when the snow starts to fall.

And of course, cookies will be served!

Christmas Bird Count – December 2015

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2015

This year’s count will be Sunday December 19th followed by the Tally Party and Chili Feed Potluck at the UAA Student Union Cafeteria (same place as last year).

To sign up:   Register as a participant in the 2015 Christmas Bird Count at the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count site, www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count. Participation is free but National Audubon is always happy to accept an on line donation to continue their important work.… Read the rest