The Anchorage Big Day Wrap-up!

The Anchorage Big Day Wrap-up!

another Audubon Cutthroat Competition!!

 

It was a Cutthroat Birdwatching Competition at it’s finest that combined no sleep with in-your-face attitude and Margaritas! It was the First Day of Spring Anchorage Big Day.

TEN teams squared off to see who could find the most avian species in the 24 hours between 5:00 PM on Friday and 5:00 PM on Saturday.
Read the rest

Annual Event – February 18, 2017

The Annual AAS Seward Winter Birding Field Trip

Work off all those Holiday Cookies!

Due to potentially unsafe driving conditions between Anchorage and Seward, the 2017 AAS Seward Winter Birding Field Trip scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled.  It was a difficult decision, but safety and everyone’s well being was uppermost in our minds.  We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Join Andrew Fisher and Anchorage Audubon for a free winter birding excursion to enjoy Seward’s
diversity of wintering birds and the possibility of a few rarities.
Read the rest

Christmas Bird Count – 2016 Results

Hi Society!

2016 Christmas Bird Count Results

 

We finally have the results for the 2016 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Saturday, December 17, 2016.

We’re sorry for the delay in reporting.  It took us awhile to undo the damage done to the Anchorage Audubon CBC database by Russian hackers.

Our Anchorage teams of Christmas Counters located 37 species of birds on count day with one additional “count week” species (a Short-eared Owl!) being reported bringing the total number of species seen during count week to 38 species .  The total number of individual birds spotted was 20,739.

This graph shows that the 2016 CBC was perhaps a little bit below our previous fifteen year average which appears to be “about” 40-42 species (give or take), but what we lacked in quantity, we MORE than made up for in the “quality” department….with two 1st ever Anchorage CBC records including a Song Sparrow (1st ever Anchorage CBC record), the American Kestrel (again 1st ever Anchorage CBC record), and a Pacific Wren (2nd ever Anchorage CBC record) following the 1st ever Anchorage CBC record in 2015.

Of the 38 species observed during count week, 7 species were represented by only ONE individual being sighted.  Bohemian Waxwings were once again the most numerous birds found with 7,857 seen (compared to the 54 year average of 3,851).  Common Redpolls made an impressive showing this year with 3,227 seen (compared to the 56 year average of 1,425), which landed them in second place for numbers sighted as well as Black-capped Chickadees with 2,085 seen (compared to a 57 year average of 893), which landed them in third place.

Data from the Anchorage Count follows below, and is sorted according to the number of each species seen.  The Tally Party and Chili Feed was a fabulous get-together, and we’d like to thank the First Congregational Church, Lynn Barber, and Louann Feldmann for making the evening possible.

Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Andrew Fisher, Daria Carle, Tom Evans, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Coordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many, many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

Anchorage continues to be a Rock Star of Christmas Bird Counts.  For the 2014 CBC, of the 2,408 count circles reporting, Anchorage had the 24th highest participation in the USA!!  This is not a per-capita number, it’s based on total participants.  We rock, and here’s what we saw for the 2016 CBC:

Bohemian Waxwing 7,857
Common Redpoll 3,227
Black-capped Chickadee 2,305
Mallard 1,302
European Starling 1,084
Rock Pigeon 841
Black-billed Magpie 753
Common Raven 697
White-winged Crossbill 638
Pine Grosbeak 600
Red-breasted Nuthatch 457
Boreal Chickadee 331
American Robin 193
Steller’s Jay 96
Downy Woodpecker 60
American Dipper 46
Golden-crowned Kinglet 45
Brown Creeper 31
Hairy Woodpecker 30
Bald Eagle 29
Dark-eyed Junco 27
Common Merganser 22
Pine Siskin 12
White-tailed Ptarmigan 10
Northern Shrike 9
Gray Jay 8
White-crowned Sparrow 8
Northern Goshawk 6
Great Horned Owl 5
Am. Three-toed Woodpecker 3
Common Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Spruce Grouse 1
Pacific Wren 1
Song Sparrow 1
Short-eared Owl (count week) 1

As seen during the Tally Party, graphs have been made of each species on a per year basis since the count began.  These graphs are available for viewing via the following link:

Graphs of Species by Year (click on this link)

The graphs total about 1 megabyte (1 MB), so they aren’t small, but nor are they large, representing about 1/700 of a typical movie available for streaming on the various movie streaming services on the web.  So you choose the fun – the number of species recorded during the last 50 or so years of the Anchorage CBC, or 10-1/2 seconds of the movie “Dumb and Dumber”.

We’ve actually spotted what looks to be a data error in the historical data based upon these graphs.  If you can spot it, please let us know, as we’ll definitely put YOU on the short list for our anti-Russian hacking team we are assembling!

Special Program: Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch – Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 Neil Paprocki presents:

Special Program:  Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 7:00 PM

We’ve got a real treat next Wednesday, March 8th, when Neil Paprocki will give a last minute program about the Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch. Neil will be in town to get his team started on the Second Ever full-season monitoring of the raptor migration through the Gunsight Mountain area.

Read the rest

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 17, 2016


Christmas Bird Count and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:00 PM

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2016

This year’s count will be Satchristmas-bird-count-transparenturday, December 17th followed by the Tally Party and Chili Feed Potluck at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd. just east of Lake Otis. 

Read the rest

HawkWatch International – March 7 – May 15, 2017

HawkWatch International

Count Hawks at Gunsight Mountain

at Milepost 118.8 of the Glenn Highway 

This spring, a decades-long goal will finally happen for the second year in a row!  We have always wanted to do a complete and thorough Hawk Watch for an entire season at Gunsight Mountain. 

This year, thanks to Neil Paprocki, it will become a reality once again!
Read the rest

Annual Event – March 24-25, 2017

The Big Anchorage Birding Day

Celebrate the First Day of Spring with

another Audubon Cutthroat Competition!!

Believe it or not, Spring is on the way, 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 24, 2017 until 5:00 PM on Saturday March 25, 2017.
Read the rest

Annual Event – April 15-16, 2017

The Gunsight Mountain Hawk Watch Weekend

The Harlan’s Hawk Capitol

of the World!

at MP 118.8 of the Glenn Highway:  10:00 AM

Our Annual Hawk Watch Weekend in collaboration with the Mat-Su Birders will take place this year on April 15 & 16th.   It’s the Greatest Event of the Birding Year in Alaska!

Our Hawk Watch is known as “The Harlan’s Hawk Capital of the World” because you’ll see more Harlan’s Hawks here than anywhere else on Earth.

There is no ornithological tailgate party like this anywhere in the country, and this year we know of at least one birder who’s traveling all the way from Utah for the event.

Celebrate the return of spring migrating raptors with this annual Anchorage Audubon field trip of the spring. Migrating raptors that can be seen along the ridge line near MP 118.8 include Golden Eagle, Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Goshawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and Merlin. Swainson’s Hawk and Osprey have also been seen migrating through this area as well as Swans, Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, and the occasional Northern Hawk Owl.   Bring warm clothing, binoculars, spotting scopes, lunch, snacks, and lawn chairs and sit back while you watch migrating raptors glide over the nearby ridge.

Generally great weather, albeit a little chilly sometimes – The dog doesn’t quite seem so enraptured by the passing raptors as is everyone else.

The Hawkwatch is a spectacle that is unrivaled in Alaska.  It’s a great gathering, a fabulous party, and the birds are astounding.  If you have never attended the Hawk Watch, you’ll never be the same.  The scenery is gorgeous!

Hawk Watch Panorama taken from a 100 Megapixel image of the Chugach Mountains to the south of MP 118.8 of the Glenn Highway

Meet at 10:00 AM at the wayside at Milepost 118.8, Glenn Highway. A short raptor identification talk will take place at 10:30 AM.  On Sunday, April 16, the Mat-Su Birders will host their annual Hawk Watch Potluck BBQ at the same location.   For details on the Mat-Su Hawk Watch – www.matsubirders.org/html/calendar.html.

Hawk Watch – Northern Harrier (note the black wing tips)

A special birder’s banquet will be hosted by the Sheep Mountain Lodge on Saturday night, and plans include a talk by the Professional Hawkwatchers from Hawkwatch International who once again will be conducting an entire-migration census of the site during March, April, and May.  Rooms are available at The Lodge for those who want to stay on site for the entire Hawkwatching Weekend.

Hawk Watch 2012 – Golden Eagle

And once again, Anchorage Audubon and the Mat-Su Birders are honored to supply Port-A-Potties at the event for your Hawkwatching pleasure.   

We’d Love to Have You Join Us.

Saturday & Sunday, April 15 & 16, 2017

MP 118.8 Glenn Highway

 

 

 

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 4, 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 4, 11, 18, & 25.Read the rest

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival – May 4 – 7, 2017

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

25th Annual Festival

Alaska’s largest birding festival features a huge array of field trips, seminars, and speakers.  2017 festival highlights include Keynote Speakers, J. Drew Lanham from Clemson University and author/photographer Paul Bannick (The Owl and the Woodpecker).  Located in the bustling town of Homer, this will certainly be a birding highlight of the year. … Read the rest

Copper River Shorebird Festival – May 4 – 7, 2017

Copper River Shorebird Festival

Cordova, Alaska

Highlighting a vast number of migratory shorebirds stopping over on the Copper River Delta, this is truly a great festival in the fabulous  town of Cordova.  This is where you go for Avian Tonnage!  This year’s Keynote Speaker is none other than David Allen Sibley – the ultimate Field Guide guru.

Also featured will be esteemed biologists Joan Walsh, Lisa Kennedy, Samantha Franks and a special presentation by The Alaska Hummingbird Project’s-Kate McLaughlin.… Read the rest

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 11, 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 11, 18, & 25.Read the rest

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

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