Anchorage Birding Guide – Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area

At a glance


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – The Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge from the Beluga Overlook Platform

Go here for

Good viewing access to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge


terminus of Selkirk Drive, Anchorage, AK 99502

Latitude and Longitude

61.1336 north latitude, -149.9665 west longitude (61.1336, -149.9665)


This 60 acre former homestead is Anchorage’s newest park.  Opening on October 11, 2013 with wide acclaim, the natural area also boasts Anchorage’s first and only record of a Lazuli Bunting. Those visiting from the lower 48 states won’t be amazed at a Lazuli Bunting, but there are only a handful of records for all of Alaska and this one Lazuli Bunting was the first and only record for Anchorage, so it was a big deal.  Discovered on the opening day by Aaron B. who also was on hand to guide people through the just opened Natural Area.

Tips on Birding

  • Take a complete hike around the open meadow on the trail
  • Visit the Ecotone Platform
  • Visit the Beluga Overlook Platform
  • Visit the Sandhill Crane Blind

Area Habitats

Meadow, Forest, view onto an estuary and tidal mud flat

Look for These Birds

107 species including: Canada Goose, Sandhill Crane, Glaucous-winged Gull, Downy Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler. Fox Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Common Redpoll, Mallard, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Herring/Glaucous-winged Gull, gull sp., Peregrine Falcon, Common Raven, Golden-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Alder Flycatcher, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Mew Gull, Larus sp., Savannah Sparrow, Herring Gull, Belted Kingfisher, sparrow sp., Western Wood-Pewee, Boreal Chickadee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Green-winged Teal, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Red-necked Grebe, Hudsonian Godwit, Short-billed Dowitcher, Tree Swallow, White-crowned Sparrow, Arctic Tern, hummingbird sp., Cackling Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Greater/Lesser Scaup, Red-throated Loon, peep sp., Wilson’s Snipe, Spotted Sandpiper, Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid), Rock Pigeon, Black-billed Magpie, Violet-green Swallow, European Starling, blackbird sp., flycatcher sp. (Tyrannidae sp.), Tree/Violet-green Swallow, warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.), passerine sp., Downy/Hairy Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Bank Swallow, Northern Waterthrush, Hairy Woodpecker, Swainson’s Thrush, woodpecker sp. Northern Harrier, Whimbrel, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher, Brown Creeper, Pine Grosbeak, Snow Bunting, Bohemian Waxwing, White-winged Crossbill, Northern Shrike, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Common Merganser, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Lapland Longspur, Merlin, Empidonax sp., tern sp., Townsend’s Warbler, Common Loon, chickadee sp., Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs, small falcon sp., Northern Goshawk, Trumpeter/Tundra Swan, Great Horned Owl, Rock Sandpiper, Boreal Owl, Common/Hoary Redpoll, American Tree Sparrow, Short-eared Owl, American Pipit, Bonaparte’s Gull, Song Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, Red Crossbill. Rough-legged Hawk, Rusty Blackbird, Chipping Sparrow, Greater White-fronted Goose, Varied Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, swallow sp., Eurasian Wigeon, Cackling/Canada Goose, Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo sp., Glaucous Gull, Common Goldeneye, Snow Goose, Pacific Wren, Lazuli Bunting, Pacific Loon, Cliff Swallow

Rarities Seen Here

Lazuli Bunting, Eurasian Wigeon, Cackling Goose, Snow Goose, Northern Goshawk, Tennessee Warbler

ebird Histogram of Bird Species at this Location

Birding Checklist at this Location

Birding Area Map


All directions in this guide are given from a point located at the intersection of East Northern Lights Boulevard and the New Seward Highway (AK-1).  (Note that these directions avoid a busy shopping area between the New Seward Highway and C Street on Dimond Boulevard)

  1. Head west for 1.5 miles on East Northern Lights Boulevard toward Minnesota Drive/Walter Hickel Parkway
  2. Turn left (south) onto Minnesota Drive/Walter Hickel Parkway
  3. Head south on Minnesota Drive/Walter Hickel Parkway for 3.4 miles
  4. Take the Dimond Boulevard Exit
  5. Turn right onto West Dimond Boulevard
  6. Head west of West Dimond Boulevard for 1.9 miles
  7. Turn left onto Edinburgh Drive
  8. Head south on Edinburgh Drive for 0.2 miles
  9. Turn right onto Selkirk Drive
  10. Travel 486 feet on Selkirk Drive to the Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area parking lot and trail head.

Interactive Map

A nice 1.4 mile walk around the lake offers looks views of waterfowl from the west side of the lake and forest species on the east side of the lake.  Generally speaking, birding Cheney Lake Park involves the following:

  1. Park in the parking lot at the location marked “Park” in the Google Map below.
  2. Starting at the trailhead, head due south for about 200 feet to the location marked “Fork” in the Google Map below.
  3. At the fork, the Meadow Loop Trail turns right and left (thus forming the loop).  Both trails taking you either counter-clockwise or clockwise (respectively) around a tall grass meadow.  Both trails traverse the same ground, just in different directions.  It’s up to you which direction you go, but this guide assumes you’ll travel in a counter-clockwise fashion around the Meadow Loop Trail.
  4. Take the right trail and travel counter-clockwise around the meadow along the Meadow Loop Trail toward the location marked as “A” in the Google Map below.
  5. From the location marked “A” in the Google Map below, head south west towards the location marked “B” in the Google Map below.  Location “B” brings you to a side trail that can lead you to the Ecotone viewing platform.
  6. The trail takes you approximately 450 feet west-south-west to the intersection with the Bluff Trail.
  7. Head down the Bluff Trail for 550 feet until you get to the Ecotone Viewing Platform (this is where Anchorage’s first and only Lazuli Bunting was found during the Natural Area Grand Opening on October, 2013..
  8. Return back up the Bluff Trail to the Meadow Loop Trail.
  9. Continue your counter-clockwise travel around the Meadow Loop Trail.
  10. Continue counter-clockwise around the Meadow Loop Trail for approximately 900 feet until you reach the Beluga Overlook platform.
  11. Continue your counter-clockwise travel around the meadow.


There is a ten (10) space parking lot at the terminus of Selkirk Drive.


There are no fees associated with this spot.  This is a park maintained by the Municipality of Anchorage.


6:00 AM – 11:00 PM


  • Dogs are not allowed in the park
  • Bicycles are not allowed in the park
  • There is private property bordering the park and trail so be mindful if venturing off the gravel path.


  • Parking lot with ten (10) spaces
  • Carry your own water as there is not any potable water on site.


Anchorage Park Foundation – (907) 343-4355



Additional Photos

Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – Trailhead View from the Parking Lot


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – Looking south from the east side of the Meadow Loop Trail (the meadow is on the right)


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – one of Anchorage’s ubiquitous, year long resident Black-capped Chickadees

Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge view from the Ecotone Platform


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – The trail down to the Ecotone Platform


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – The Ecotone Viewing Platform

Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – Tall grass meadow


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – The Beluga overlook platform


Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area – The Meadow Loop Trail


Author:  Keith Confer

Created:  August 12, 2017

Uploaded and made public:  August 11, 2017

Last update:  August 11, 2017

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No use without written permission

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