Anchorage Rarities

In the past years, a large number of birds that are very unusual in the Anchorage area have been reported and documented.

The appearance of each of these is, of course, entirely due to efforts of The Anchorage Audubon Society!  

Here is a list of those birds, a few details on their discovery, and the relative rarity of the species in Anchorage.

We have limited this list to areas easily accessible by road from Anchorage, and have listed these rarities in reverse chronological order from most recent to least recent.

 

Anchorage Area Rarity – Ruff – September 24, 2017

Anchorage Ruff – Photo Courtesy of Enric F., used with permission.

Location:  Point Campbell Park mudflats – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  September 24, 2017

Last Seen:  September 24, 2017

Discovered by:  First observed, positively ID’ed, and reported by Peter S..  Seen and later confirmed by Enric F., Tim S., and Eric Y. Seen by numerous other birders including Brad B., Andrew F., and Keith C.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Sabine’s Gull – July 29, 2017

Location:  Between Chester Creek mouth and Lynn Ary Park (mudflats) – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  July 29, 2017

Last Seen:  August 2, 2017 (continuing as of this date at Lynn Ary Park)

Discovered by:  First observed, positively ID’ed, and reported by Declan T..  Seen and confirmed by Enric F., W. Keys, and Eric Y. Seen by numerous other birders including Tim S., Lynn B., and Keith C.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Emperor Goose – April 15, 2017

Location:  Loussac Library (east side) – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  April 15, 2017

Last Seen:  May 3, 2017 (continuing as of this date at Tina Lake near Dowling Road)

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, and reported by Bob P..  Seen, confirmed, and further by Buzz S.  Seen by numerous other birders including Keith C.                                                                            Declan T, Gary R., Julie C, Larry R.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – House Finch – March 25, 2017

Location:  365 Gold Avenue – Girdwood, AK

First Seen:  March 25, 2017

Last Seen:  April 1, 2017 (continuing as of this date)

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, and reported by Thede T.  Seen, confirmed, and photographed by wkeys.  Later even that that and in subsequent days seen by numerous other birders.

Relative Rarity:  First ever record for Anchorage!  About eight (8) other records in Alaska, all of those in the South-east Alaska Region.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Hawfinch – March 2, 2017

Location:  Two locations in the same Hillside neighborhood:  1st Location:  Metz Court, 2nd Location:  Park Hills Drive – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  February 28, 2017

Last Seen:  April 3, 2017 (continuing as of this date)

Discovered by:  Neighborhood resident.  First observed, positively ID’ed, photographed, and reported by Enric F.  Later seen, confirmed, and photographed by numerous other birders.

Relative Rarity:  First ever record for Anchorage or south-central Alaska for that matter!Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Franklin’s Gull – May 23, 2016

Location:  Mouth of Ship Creek – Anchorage, AK2016-franklins-gull

First Seen:  May 23, 2016

Last Seen:  May 24, 2016

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, and reported by David S.  Later seen, confirmed, and photographed by Aaron B., Enric F. Keith C. Tim S., and a few others.

Relative Rarity:  Less than annual in Anchorage.  About seven (7) other records in Anchorage in the last 35 years or so.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Black Oystercatcher – May 7, 2016

150526-black-oystercatcher

Location:  First observed at Carr-Gottstein Park – Anchorage, AK on May 7, 2016, later observed at Spenard – Anchorage, AK on May 26, 2016.  Possibly the same bird?

First Seen:  May 7, 2016

Last Seen:  May 26, 2016

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, and reported by Keith C at Carr-Gottstein Park on May 7, 2016.  Later observed, positively IDed, and reported by Aaron B., Enric F.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Red-winged Blackbird – January 28, 2016

Location:  Spenard – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  January 28, 2016

Last Seen:  February 26, 2016

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, reported, and photographed by Aaron Bowman.

Relative Rarity:  Seems just about “almost” annual in Anchorage.  About fourty’ish (40’ish) other records in Anchorage in the last 30 years or so.  Also observed in 1977, 1979, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 (source is the eBird database).  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Black-backed Woodpecker – December 19, 2015

Location:  The U-Med District – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  December 19, 2015 (during the Anchorage 2015 Christmas Bird Count)

Last Seen:  December 19, 2015 (during the Anchorage 2015 Christmas Bird Count)

Discovered by:  First observed by Julie Confer, positively IDed, reported, and photographed by Keith Confer.

Relative Rarity:  Less than annual in Anchorage.  About eleven (11) other records in Anchorage in the last 20 years or so.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Snowy Owl

Location:  The Turnagain Neighborhood – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  November 08, 2015

Last Seen:  November 08, 2015

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, reported, and graciously hosted by Judith Haggar and W. Keys.

Relative Rarity:  Two prior records in Anchorage with one in September of 1998 and another in October of 1994.  One other prior record in south-central, Alaska in Cordova in 2004.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Costa’s Hummingbird

Location:  The Turnagain Neighborhood – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  October 30, 2015

Last Seen:  November 03, 2015 (but still ongoing)

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, reported, and graciously hosted by Judith Haggar and W. Keys.

Relative Rarity:  Two prior records in Anchorage with one in September of 1998 and another in October of 1994.  One other prior record in south-central, Alaska in Cordova in 2004.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Palm Warbler

Location:  Cuddy Park – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  October 18, 2015

Last Seen:  October 21, 2015

Discovered by:  First observed, positively IDed, and reported by Aaron Lang.  Also another observed, positively IDed, and reported by Aaron Bowman out at Kincaid Park on October 18, 2015.

Relative Rarity:  Getting to be nearly annual in Anchorage!  Previous Anchorage records in October of 2013, October of 2012.  … Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Black-headed Grosbeak

Location:  Near the intersection of the Old Seward Highway and Rabbit Creek Road – Anchorage, AK

First Seen:  October 16, 2015

Last Seen:  October 19, 2015

Discovered by:  Kim Behrens who relayed the information to Aaron Bowman for a positive ID.

Relative Rarity:  One prior record from the Anchorage area in 2012.  Saw and DOCUMENTED by only TWO other people.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Hooded Merganser

Location:  Anchorage, AK – Spenard Crossing (East Chester)

First Seen:  October 15, 2015 by Aaron Bowman

Last Seen:  October 15, 2015

Discovered by: Aaron Bowman

Relative Rarity:  Almost annual occurrence in Anchorage, Alaska…perhaps bi-annual.  Previous reports in the early summer and then again fall of 2014, the fall of 2013, the fall of 2011, the fall of 2008, the fall of 2004, and the fall of 1979.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

 

Location:  Anchorage, AK – Turnagain Neighborhood

First Seen:  October 3, 2015 by Thede Tobish, subsequently re-discovered by Judith Haggar and W. Keys on October 7, 2015

Last Seen:  October 9, 2015

Discovered by:  Thede Tobish, subsequently re-discovered by Judith Haggar and W. Keys

Relative Rarity:  Less than annual occurrence in south-central, Alaska… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Red Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Location:  Anchorage, AK – Lake Hood

First Seen:  September 28, 2015 but not positively identified by Aaron Bowman,
subsequently re-found by W. Keys and seen by many on September 30, 2015

Last Seen:  September 30, 2015

Discovered by:  Aaron Bowman and W.Keys

Relative Rarity:  Probably the third report in Anchorage ever.… Read the rest

Anchorage Area Rarity – Pacific Wren

Pacific Wren

Pacific Wren

Location:  Portage Valley, AK – Williwaw Salmon viewing area about 45 miles south of Anchorage.

First Seen:  July 27, 2015

Last Seen:  August 25, 2015

Discovered by:  Aaron Bowman

Relative Rarity:  Locally rare in the Anchorage municipality with reports of two birds in 2013 and one report of one bird in 2012.  Potentially under reported in the Anchorage area and 2015 seems a banner year with quite a few reports.… Read the rest