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

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.
Read the rest

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.
Read the rest

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?

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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

The Big Anchorage Birding Day Results – March, 2015


Saturday – March 21, 2015

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!!

Holy Moly! What a Big Day!

The tallies were remarkably similar, and here are the results: The $37.00 prize for 37 species is a tie between Kenna Sue, Karen, Lynn, & Louann and the Thede/Nils/Keys/Rick team. They each will take home $4.62 which comes out to a whopping $.23 per hour (based on the hours the Ladies’ Team put in.

Trapper Dan came in with ONE LESS! species at 36.

Aaron and Enric followed with 34.

Keith and Tyler came in with 26 species.

Overall, 43 species were seen.

25 Species were seen by every team.

4 species were seen by only one team: The Ladies team had a Saw-whet Owl and Thede/Nils/Keys/Rick found Merlin, Glaucous-winged Gull, and Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Six species were only seen by two teams: Barrow’s Goldeneye, Willow Ptarmigan, 3-toed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Brown Creeper, and the Chipping Sparrow.

It was a brutal day. Kenna Sue says she quit at 11:59. I wimped out, called it quits at 11:50, and headed home. Owling did not work out for me. Shortly after 8:00, I drove 35 miles to my personal hotspot of the Eklutna Lake Road. I drove 10 miles up and 10 miles back stopping every quarter mile to listen and sometimes play calls. After 18 miles and only 2 miles up from the start of the road, I heard ONE Boreal Owl.

Getting back to town at 11:00, I figured I might as well head up to Potter Valley Road and the back side of the marsh and got Zippo.

In contrast, Kenna Sue reports that they started at 4:30 and the first bird was a Saw-Whet Owl on Lynn’s porch! Some guys have all the luck.

Aaron ran into everyone else during the day. Our team saw everyone except Keith and Tyler. I’ll send some photos Rick took during the day including the group shot when everyone except Keith and Tyler were at the Finch Spot.

My personal highlight of the day took place on Government Hill. Thede and Rick had real stuff to do and had left the chase to Nils and Myself, and we couldn’t find a Starling to save our lives. We ran into Aaron and Enric, and Enric said “There’s nothing here but that tree full of a boatload of Starlings.”

Nils and I nodded and shrugged in agreement while secretly saying, “Yippee!! Whoopee!! We just got another species and they have no idea that we’re so lame we didn’t even see a tree with over 100 Starlings that’s only 50 feet away!!”

Thanks to all for a fabulous day!

The Big Anchorage Birding Day – March, 2015


Saturday – March 21, 2015

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 12:01 am until the following midnight?

It’s a Big Day to usher in Spring. Who knows what will turn up? It’s simple: Get a team together and go birding. All team members must see all birds counted by the team. (some exceptions apply for larger teams.)

Bird as much or as little of the 24 hours as you like. See them, hear them, and write them down.
Just register your team in advance by emailing flybynightclub@gci.net 

Send a donation to Anchorage Audubon ($5 per person with a maximum of $20 for the whole team) at PO Box 101161, Anchorage, AK  99510-1161.  Email your results to the same email address at the end of the day.

And there will be a CASH PRIZE!!!

One Dollar per species will be awarded to the winning team!  Imagine making money by going birding!   The winners could make as much as a whopping $35 or $40 for only 24 hours work. That’s $1.67 per hour which is more than most birders earn in a lifetime! There’s no better way to welcome Spring!

Complete rules and detailed instructions are on our website at www.anchorageaudubon.org.

chipping sparrow

Can your team find this Chipping Sparrow?

General Membership Meeting – January 2015

Thursday – January 15, 2015

Aaron Bowman’s Big Year

by Aaron Bowman

at the BP Energy Center

7:00 PM

Aaron Bowman

Aaron Bowman

Our January program will finally present the December talk which was unfortunately cancelled due to an encounter with an unknown illness which got the better of our esteemed speaker.

But once again, Anchorage Audubon presents another fabulous birding talk, and this one will be a total treat to start your New Year!  Aaron Bowman, Anchorage Audubon’s Field Trip Czar, has been on a year-long quest to do an Anchorage Big Year.

And now that it’s over, and Aaron will share his quest with us at this month’s meeting and program.

During 2014, Aaron scoured the Municipality and has found at least one “First Ever Anchorage Bird” which turned up on the foulest day of the year.  Only Aaron would have even left the safety of his house on that day!

Aaron’s Big Year is a glimpse into what we can all find without leaving our own back yard, and it’s an evening you won’t want to miss.

And we wouldn’t even think about starting the New Year without cookies!

Christmas Bird Count – 2014 Results

Hi Society, Christmas Bird Count Summary

We finally have the preliminary results for the 2014 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Sunday, December 14.

President-for-Life keeps the unruly crowd at bay with his dapper delivery of the Tally Results

President-for-Life keeps the unruly crowd at bay with his dapper delivery of the Tally Results

We’re sorry for the delay in reporting.  One of the reporting areas had a software problem which corrupted their data.  We suspect this was caused by North Korean hackers, and the FBI is looking into the case as this is being written.

Our Anchorage teams of Christmas Counters located 44 species of birds with one additional “count week” species (an American Wigeon) being reported.  The total number of birds spotted was 10,147.

Early crowd...anxious to begin feeding...

Early crowd…anxious to begin feeding…

Of the 45 species observed, 12 species were represented by only ONE individual being sighted.  Bohemian Waxwings were once again the most numerous birds found.  White-winged Crossbills made an impressive showing this year with 847 seen, which landed them in fifth place for numbers sighted.

The most unusual sightings this year were the Cackling Goose, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and the Red Crossbills.  The Cackling Goose has been well substantiated, but the Chickadee and the Crossbills are being reviewed according to the standard Rare Bird procedure for the Christmas Bird Count.

Yummmmm!  Chili!

Yummmmm! Chili!

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 thanks UAA’s Mike McCormick and Dana Sample for making the evening possible.  Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Aaron Bowman, Craig Wiese, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Co-ordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

Area leader Aaron Bowman received late tally results from one his field commanders

Area leader Aaron Bowman received late tally results from one his field commanders

Anchorage continues to be a Rock Star of Christmas Bird Counts.  Last year, 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 this year:

Bohemian Waxwing                  6930
Black-capped Chickadee         2085
Common Redpoll                      1562
Mallard                                      1079
White-winged Crossbill              847
Black-billed Magpie                    689
Common Raven                         663
Rock Pigeon                               395
Pine Grosbeak                           390
Red-breasted Nuthatch              356
European Starling                         305
Boreal Chickadee                         292
Steller’s Jay                                 113
Dark-eyed Junco                           90
American Robin                            86
Downy Woodpecker                      54
American Dipper                           41
Bald Eagle                                     24
Hairy Woodpecker                         24
Red Crossbill                                 20
Common Goldeneye                      17
Gray Jay                                         17
White-crowned Sparrow                  9
Common Merganser                        3
Red-breasted Merganser                  3
Northern Shrike                               3
Snow Bunting                                  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk                       2
American Three-toed Woodpecker    2
Brown Creeper                                2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                    2
Pine Siskin                                       2
Cackling Goose                               1
Green-winged Teal                          1
Northern Goshawk                          1
Great Horned Owl                           1
Northern Saw-whet Owl                  1
Northern Flicker                               1
Northwestern Crow                          1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee             1
Golden-crowned Kinglet                  1
Varied Thrush                                   1
Hoary Redpoll                                  1
American Wigeon                             1 cw

Christmas Bird Count – December 2014

Join us for the Anchorage Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 14!

This year’s Anchorage Christmas Bird Count will happen on Sunday, December 14, and once again, it’s FREE!  For the second time ever, UAA will host our After-The-Count Party and Tally in the Student Union Cafeteria. It’s a fabulous day of counting birds, a delectable Chili Feed, and a Rollicking Good Time!

So here’s what you have to do to join the fun:  
    FIRST, call your Area Leader.  Area maps and leader contact info are on our website at http://www.anchorageaudubon.org/content/view/35/60/.   If you cannot reach your area leader, Contact Louann Feldmann at louannf@alaska.net  The area leader will give you information about where that particular team will meet on Sunday, December 14, and what you need to do.  We will do everything possible to place inexperienced counters with veteran groups.

SECOND:  SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.  There is NO FEE this year, but it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to sign up in advance.  In the past, each participant has received a Christmas Bird Count magazine in the fall that details the findings of the CBC for the entire Continent.  This year, the Count Re-cap will only be available electronically, and you will only receive it if your email is submitted through the sign-up process.  Please do NOT but the burden of signing yourself up in the lap of your area leader.  Sign up at  http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/

THIRD:  Come to the party at the UAA Student Union Cafeteria.  The party starts at 4:30.  The Audubon Board will bring a fine assortment of chilis, toppings, and cornbread.  Please bring a dessert or side dish to share.  Park in front of the UAA Bookstore, and enter at the bookstore.   
        FOURTH:  If you’re out counting, wear as many layers as you own.  Even driving teams will have all the vehicle windows down in order to hear anything that’s stirring.

And here’s the cool part.  Anchorage is always at the TOP of the list of national participants in the CBC.  This is not based on per capita–we have one of the highest absolute numbers of counters.  Last year, Anchorage logged the EIGHTH HIGHEST number of participants in the entire United States.  WE beat out New York, LA, Chicago, San Diego, and oodles more.  We totally rocked the Christmas Bird Count.  We hope you’ll join us so we can do it again.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an organized continent-wide survey that documents every bird seen on a given day from sunrise to sunset. Since the turn of the 20th century, the Christmas Bird Count has contributed to the knowledge base of wintering birds in North America. This information is also important to allow scientists to detect fluctuations and trends of birds over a period of years. The count is an all-day event open to anyone wishing to participate. This is an excellent opportunity for novice bird watchers to join with seasoned veterans and learn more about identifying and finding the local birds. Home feeder-watchers are also needed. I would like to particularly encourage anyone with feeders in the Anchorage area who can spare at least one hour to watch their feeders to participate. The Christmas Bird Count is online with data from 1900 to the present at www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/index.html.

Participants are typically assigned to one of five areas in the Anchorage bowl (see map below) and will be assgined to a team based on their bird identification skill level and endurance.   THIS YEAR, count participation is FREE.  It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, however, that all field observers SIGN UP IN ADVANCE at  http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/  select login. The username to logon to the site has typically been your email address or if you are new in the system you will need to set up a new username and password.  The reference code for the Anchorage CBC is “AKAN”.

We invite you to join us after the count at the UAA STUDENT UNION CAFETERIA for chili, hot drinks and a dessert potluck gathering beginning at 4:30 pm. We provide the chili and hot drinks but please feel free to bring a yummy dessert! This is a great time to socialize with other birders and watch as the final tally of each area’s results is tabulated. If you can’t make it on the 14th, please consider doing a Christmas Bird Count in another community. If you are interested in participating in the Anchorage CBC or would like further information, please contact the appropriate area leader listed below or Louann at louannf@alaska.net

 

cbcmap_delapp.jpg

Area  Leader  E-mail  Phone
 1  Lee Tibbitts  ltibbitts@usgs.gov  786-7038
 Thede Tobish  TobishTG@ci.anchorage.ak.us  343-7918
 2  Aaron Bowman ampbowman@gmailcom  343-9947
 3  Craig Wiese  cswiese@gci.net  563-0311
 4  Dick Prentki  Prentki@acsalaska.net  333-4201
 5  Pat Pourchot  pat@pourchot.com  258-3003

Anchorage Audubon PDF of Christmas Bird Count map

Results

Anchorage 2011 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2010 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2009 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2008 Christmas Bird Count Results