Meetings, Field Trips, and Events

Anchorage Audubon field trips and events are open to the public unless stated otherwise in the field trip Brownlee-KodiakGroupHikeTerminationPtannouncement! We welcome all ages and levels of birders and non-birders on our trips. Contact trip leader for more information about each field trip, or contact Field Trip Coordinator Andrew Fisher, 619-937-1086-0151. We strongly encourage carpooling on all our field trips if possible.

Anchorage Audubon is very grateful to the wonderful field trip leaders who volunteer their time and share their extensive knowledge of birds and natural history. We could not offer these excellent field trips without you! Thank you to Chris Maack, Delesta Fox, John Wenger, Dianne Toebe, Mr. Whitekeys, Aaron Bowman, Sirena Brownlee, Kenna Sue Trickey, Bob Dittrick, Paul Fritz, and Joanna Hubbard.

The calendar includes Audubon sponsored field trips, monthly membership meetings, and other events and trips that may be of interest to the members of the Chapter.

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 10, 2018

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 10, 17, 24, & 31.Read the rest

HawkWatch 2018 – March 7 – May 15, 2018

HawkWatch International

Count Hawks at Gunsight Mountain

at Mileposts 120 and 121 of the Glenn Highway 

This spring, a decades-long goal will happen for the third 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!
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The Best Alaskan Hawkwatch Article

The Best Alaskan Hawkwatch Article

the-best-alaskan-hawkwatch-article

The BEST Article Ever Written on Hawkwatching in Alaska!

A 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.… Read the rest

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 17, 2018

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 17, 24, & 31.Read the rest

Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival – May 17 – 20, 2018

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

Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 24, 2018

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 24 & 31.Read the rest

Potluck Party and Pro-Am Bird Walk – May 24, 2018

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. 

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Potter Marsh-A-Thon Birding Smackdown – May 26, 2018

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.

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Campbell Creek BLM Early Morning Birdwalks – May 31, 2018

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 31. Walks are from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM.… Read the rest

Yakutat Tern Festival – May 31 – June 3, 2018

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, author, photographer, and wilderness guide Lynn Schooler.  Featured artist is Kathy Hocker.  An optional Yakutat Bay charter boat field trip will be available as well as  special rates on Alaska Airlines.… Read the rest

The Anchorage Big Day Wrap-up!

The Anchorage Big Day Wrap-up!

another Audubon Cutthroat Competition!!

 

It was not only a Big Day, it was a Ginormous Day!
 
Last weekend eight teams and twenty intrepid birders faced off in a contest to see which team could find the most bird species within the Municipality of Anchorage on approximately the First Day Of Spring. And nothing went as expected!
 

There was a team comprised of birders from Spenard AND from Muldoon, which proves that people from widely different cultures can, in fact, get along with each other. There was an Immigrant Team where local birders welcomed a visitor from Colorado to join them, and they weren’t the least bit afraid that he would steal their jobs.

 

All together the teams tallied FORTY-SIX different species, but the winners found only 31 of them. This was an all-time low percentage of 67% of the total species seen by the winning team.

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Christmas Bird Count – 2017 Preliminary Results

Hi Society!

2017 Christmas Bird Count Preliminary Results

 

We have the preliminary results for the 2017 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Saturday, December 16, 2017.  It’s long, but we’ll give it a try.

What a Christmas Bird Count! The preliminary results are in, but please be advised that these results will change as the final data is tabulated, and our view of the results is based on very early and largely un-analyzed data. But what a day!

This year, counters found FIFTY-FIVE SPECIES, which exceeds the previous all time high of 52 species set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES. Holy Smokes!

The total number of birds seen was 10,627 which is above the mean number of 8,155, but is far below the record number of 30,606. The record number is of course dependent on highly inruptive species such as Bohemian Waxwings and Common Redpolls which have reached as many as 22,000 and 8,000 birds respectively in certain years.

2017 ANC CBC - # of Species

 

The great news is that ELEVEN species were at their all-time High: Northern Shoveler (2), Harlequin Duck (2), Bufflehead (2), Rock Pigeon (1209), Hermit Thrush (1), Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Red-breasted Nuthatch (512), American Dipper (48), Robins (406), Song Sparrow (1), and Sharp-tailed Grouse (1).

Birds at an almost all-time high were Gray Jays, Steller’s Jays, Rock Ptarmigan, and unfortunately European Starlings.

Species with a below average showing included Common Goldeneyes, Dark-eyed Juncos, Pine Grosbeaks, and Common Redpolls. Species looking way below average were Bohemian Waxwings, White-winged Crossbills, and Pine Siskins.

Our 55 species seen compares to a mean number of 33, and as usual, there were a number of species represented by only ONE single sighting of one individual. This is fairly usual, but the number was high this year with 17 of 51 species being represented by only one individual. Those single sightings were: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, Gyrfalcon, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Wilson’s Snipe, Great Horned Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Pacific Wren, Short-eared Owl, and Hoary Redpoll.

New birds to the count were the Hermit Thrush, Northern Shoveler, and the Sharp-tailed Grouse. The Sharp-tailed Grouse was the highlight of the day since it was also the FIRST RECORD of that species ever seen in Anchorage.

Here’s how that happened:

Visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife were walking the Coastal Trail between Elderberry Park and Westchester Lagoon. The Grouse walked across the trail in front of them. They thought it was unusual, but because they are not from Anchorage, they did not realize what a stunning bird they had stumbled upon.

They called Area 2 Leader Andrew Fisher who called W. Keys. Between them, they realized that there was a very good reason that they were shouting to each other on the phone. Word went back to Michael who re-found the bird, and word went out to birders across town. The stampede to the spot was on.

From her deck, the lady whose yard it had chosen said, “It’s been here for about 3 weeks. I’ve been feeding it and thought it was some kind of ptarmigan.

It was a fabulous day, and the Tally Party and Chili Feed was a stellar event as well. Ginormous thanks go to everyone who participated in the Count, to everyone who brought dishes to the Potluck, to the Area Leaders for coordinating their teams, to Keith Confer who worked tirelessly to make the Tally Spreadsheet clear and concise, and to Louann Feldmann who once again organized the entire city-wide Christmas Bird Count effort. She is nothing less than a Citizen Science Goddess!

And finally, we can’t heap enough praise on visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife who not only found the Sharp-tailed Grouse, but also turned up the single Song Sparrow and the single Snow Bunting in the same immediate area!

2017 ANC CBC - # of Individuals

 

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.

The total species seen are listed here from most prevalent to least prevalent. This year’s total exceeds the all-time record of 52 set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES!

 

Black-capped Chickadee 1874
Mallard 1320
Rock Pigeon 1209
Bohemian Waxwing 1166
Common Redpoll 799
Black-billed Magpie 708
Common Raven 652
European Starling 601
Red-breasted Nuthatch 512
Pine Grosbeak 482
American Robin 406
Boreal Chickadee 337
Steller’s Jay 109
Downy Woodpecker 55
Redpoll Species 53
American Dipper 48
Golden-crowned Kinglet 38
White-winged Crossbill 28
Gray Jay 25
Hairy Woodpecker 23
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch 20
Dark-eyed Junco 19
Bald Eagle 16
Willow Ptarmigan 16
Pine Siskin 14
Common Goldeneye 13
Common Merganser 13
Brown Creeper 8
Northern Shrike 7
Northern Goshawk 6
Rock Ptarmigan 5
Townsend’s Solitaire 3
Northern Shoveler 2
Harlequin Duck 2
Bufflehead 2
Spruce Grouse 2
Am. Three-toed Woodpecker 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Gyrfalcon 1
Sharp-tailed Grouse 1
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Short-eared Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Pacific Wren 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Varied Thrush 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Snow Bunting 1
Hoary Redpoll 1
Total # of Species 55
Total # of Individuals Birds 10627

 

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)

Results will be made final once all sightings have been fully vetted, so please consider these results as preliminary for the time being.

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 16, 2017


Christmas Bird Count 2017 and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:30 PM

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2017

Anchorage Audubon Society sponsors the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count each year in December. Anchorage is divided into 5 Areas and those areas are further divided into teams, each led by an experienced birder.

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Fall Potluck & Photo Sharing Party – September 21, 2017

Fall Potluck & Photo Sharing Party

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Join us Thursday, Sept. 21,  for 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.  Plates, utensils & beverages will be provided as well as napkins for any sloppy eaters who attend.

Share your best photos with an ultimately appreciative audience.    Bring your own laptop if it makes your show better, or take a chance with ours.  Projector will be provided.

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush

Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose


SEE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW CONCERNING YOUR PHOTOS.

Presentations will be limited to 5 minutes on the first round.  When all presenters have had their turn, we’ll start at the top once again.  A $5 donation/fine to Audubon will be assessed for anyone who goes over the time limit.
We’ll re-cap summer Audubon outings and sightings.  Fabulous Prizes will be awarded.  Please note the early meeting time of 6:30 PM because it’s a pot luck dinner.

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:  This year, in order to minimize set-up time at the party, you MUST submit your photos IN ADVANCE by Sunday, Sept. 17.

Contact W. Keys at  flybynightclub@gci.net to arrange for an early photo transfer. 

Photos should be in jpeg format, and should be consecutively numbered in the title to make sure they load in the order you intend. Just put them on a thumb drive and contact W. Keys.


Thursday, September 21, 2017:  6:30 pm

BP Energy Center

Fall Freeze Up Field Trip – Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Freeze Up Field Trip

October 14, 2017

meet at the Cuddy Pond parking lot just south of the

Loussac Library and north of Cuddy Pond

8:30 AM

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

Andrew Fisher will lead this outing to a number of good waterbird locations around town including Westchester Lagoon and Lake Hood.

Enjoy searching for the less usual waterbird species during this exciting time of year or just enjoy the typical species that are still with us. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one and dress for the weather.

Andrew Fisher in close quarters with a Great Gray Owl

We will meet at the Cuddy Pond parking lot south of the Loussac Library and north of Cuddy Pond at 8:30 AM where we will go over plans for the day and consolidate into fewer cars by carpooling as much as possible.

The field trip typically concludes at about 12:00 PM, but do bring snacks and/or a lunch if you want to keep birding with others afterwards.

For questions contact Andrew Fisher at 619-937-1086 or  mzeesamaki@gmail.com

We’d Love to Have You Join Us:

Saturday, October 14, 2017:  8:30 AM

Cuddy Pond Parking Lot

 


Annual Event – February 24, 2018

Anchorage Audubon’s Annual

Seward Winter Birding Field Trip

Work off all those Holiday Cookies!

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.  Come dressed for a variety of weather conditions, bring your ice grippers, and plan for a fun day with great company!

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Copper River Shorebird Festival – May 3 – 6, 2018

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 Dr. Stephen Kress; the Vice-President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society and the Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp.… Read the rest

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival – May 10 – 13, 2018

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

26th Annual Festival

Alaska’s largest birding festival features a huge array of field trips, seminars, and speakers.  2018 festival highlights include Keynote Speaker, Noah Strycker; Associate Editor of Birding magazine and featured presenters Raymond VanBuskirk and Iain Campbell.  Located in the bustling town of Homer, this will certainly be a birding highlight of the year.  There are field trips, boat trips, kayak trips,  ID seminars,  and this years’ festival spotlights the artwork of Homers’ own Erin Rae D’Eimon.… Read the rest

Annual Event – March 23-24, 2018

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 23, 2017 until 5:00 PM on Saturday March 24, 2018.
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Annual Event – Hawk Watch Weekend – April 21 – 22, 2018

The Gunsight Mountain Hawk Watch Weekend

The Harlan’s Hawk Capitol

of the World!

at Milepost 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 21 & 22nd.   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.… Read the rest