|Field Trips and Events Calendar|
Anchorage Audubon field trips and events are open to the public unless stated otherwise in the field trip announcement! 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 Aaron Bowman, 563-0151. 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.
"How To Be A Better Birder Forum"
Date and Time: Thursday, March 20. 7:00 pm
Location: BP Energy Center
The Spring Birding Season is right around the corner, and the Anchorage Audubon Society's March program is an exceptional treat. We've gathered a truly phenomenal panel for our Fifth annual forum on "How to Be a Better Birder." Brad Benter, Peter Scully, and Jennifer Johnson will share their knowledge, tips, and techniques in order to help the rest of us see more birds. This is an opportunity to go to school with the big guys. Brad, Peter, and Jennifer are among Alaska's most highly respected birders, and when the rest of us see one of them in action, we always seem to ask ourselves the same question: "How the heck did he know That?"
Brad Benter is incredible. He works for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and his 2013 Alaskan Big Year produced 270 species. Peter Scully showed up in Alaska a few years ago and at his first visit to the Hawkwatch, he astounded everyone by casually saying "that's a light morph Harlans" while looking head-on at a speck that was six miles away. Jennifer Johnson is currently the 3rd highest-ranked woman on the Alaska 200 Club bird sighting list, and is only 2 birds away from second place. She totally knows her stuff!
March's meeting will also feature a short presentation on UAA's "Birds In Bogs" Citizen Science research project, and the annual Anchorage Audubon election of Officers.
"Beginning Birding Class"
Date and Time: Thursday, April 17. 7:00 pm
Location: BP Energy Center
For the first time ever, we will present a course in "Birding for Beginners" at our April Meeting. This is the perfect opportunity to learn about Birds and Birding from the beginning, and it's just in time for our Spring Migration arrivals.
W. Keys, Aaron Bowman, and the Audubon Board will attempt to cover it all in one evening: What you need to begin, How to use a field guide, What to look for in the field, Where to find birds in Anchorage, How to use binoculars, How to hear birds, What is migration all about, as well as basic bird identification and behaviors. It's a simple look into what's happening outside your living room window every single day.
Why do we like birding? Author Thomas Dunlap said it best: "It's easy to begin and impossible fully to master."
Everyone is welcome. Bring the kids. This evening will be a fabulous chance to learn about birdwatching without having to wear funny hats.
The Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch:
Saturday and Sunday, April 19 & 20, 2014
Mile 118.8 on the Glenn Highway
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. Swainson's hawk and osprey have also been seen migrating through this area. Bring warm clothing, binoculars, spotting scopes, lunch, snacks, and lawn chairs and sit back while you watch migrating raptors glide over the nearby ridge.
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 Hawkwatch, you'll never be the same.
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 20, 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.
And once again, Anchorage Audubon and the Mat-Su Birders are honored to supply Port-A-Potties at the event for your Hawkwatching pleasure.
HAWKWATCH WEEKEND ACCOMMODATIONS
This year, The Sheep Mountain Lodge is closed for the winter and will NOT be available to birders for rooms or dining during the big Hawkwatch Weekend on April 18 & 19. There are very few rooms available in the area and only two options for dining. In light of that, it would be a good idea to share cabins if you can since beds are in short supply this year. Here's what we've found as of press time:
EUREKA LODGE. Mile 128. (907) 822-3808
2 cabins and 5 rooms.
MEAL SERVICE IS AVAILABLE Mon-Sat 7am-- 9pm; Sun 7am -- 8pm.
MATANUSKA LODGE: Mile 99-100. (907) 746-0378
2 Rooms left. Breakfast served for guests only.
HOMESTEAD GUEST CABINS: Mile 95 on Victory Road. (907) 745-4514
2 Cabins with 2 bedrooms & kitchen. www.homesteadcabinsak.com
SHEEP MOUNTAIN VACATION APARTMENTS. Mile 113.8. (907) 745-4763
2 Cottages. One can accommodate 5 people, and one can hold 6.
www.sheepmtnvacationapts.com They like birders and if their cabins fill up,
they may open up additional space in their house for Hawkwatchers.
LONG RIFLE LODGE. Mile 102.2 (907) 745-5151.
Two Cabins without water. One holds up to 6 people.
(The regular Hotel portion of the lodge is closed for the winter.)
MEAL SERVICE IS AVAILABLE Mon-Fri 11am -- 7pm. Sat-Sun 9am--7pm.
TUNDRA ROSE CABINS closed till the end of May.
SHEEP MOUNTAIN LODGE closed for the winter
MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS LODGE completely booked.
Another Option for Accommodations
is Motor Home Rental
Motorhome rentals at all agencies we checked are for Winterized Vehicles. There is NO WATER available in these RVs for showers, sinks, or toilets. Toilets may be used by pouring RV antifreeze into the toilets for flushing after each use. But there will be porta-potties available at the Hawkwatch site as usual. All agencies we checked with also have a 3 day minimum rental period which allows for picking up on Friday, spending the weekend at the Hawkwatch, and returning the vehicle on Monday. The number of occupants can vary widely with the size of the Motorhome rented.
ABC MOTORHOMES. 279-2000
ABC offers a wide variety starting with a 21-foot model with a queen bedroom, queen above the cab, plus a fold-down dining room table double. Rates start at $432.90 with unlimited mileage, full coverage insurance, and full generator use.
GREAT ALASKAN HOLIDAYS. 248-7777
Their options start with a 22-foot model for $303.97 and a 25-foot model at $317.73. Both options also have a mileage charge of 20 cents per mile (approximately $50 for the round trip to Mile 118.8.)
CRUISE AMERICA information was not available at press time.
A & M MOTOR HOME RENTAL information was not available at press time.
APRIL & MAY On The High Seas:
The Birding Cruise of The Century
PLEASE NOTE: The Birding Cruise is currently full. If space becomes available, we will contact those who have already responded in order of their response. We hope to offer similar cruises in the future, so please stay tuned.
Date and Time: April 28.
Location: San Diego to Victoria,
If you're looking for a spectacular birding trip that's easy, cheap, and has the possibility of finding incredible birds, Anchorage Audubon has the chance of a lifetime.
Several great birders have discovered that this is a perfect platform for offshore pelagic birding. Because of their size and modern computer-controlled stabilizing systems, the boats are stable enough in most weather to allow for scopes which greatly improve the opportunity for seeing rarities.
David Sonneborn has taken the trip several times in the last few years, and has volunteered to lead our trip. He hopes that participants will make a donation, take pledges, etc., for Anchorage Audubon. He is payng his own way and will make a $100 donation per life bird he sees (He's pretty safe since he has already "cleaned up" on his prior trips.) The date has NOT been firmly decided, but we are looking at sailings from San Diego on April 28 or 29 of 2014 on either the Holland America Zaandam or the Westerdam.
The ships are full service cruise ships with all the amenities: tons of dining, gyms, pools, zumba classes, Yoga, and massages while you're not on deck birding. Full information about the ships including prices can be found at hollandamerica.com
The way it will work is simple: Once the date has been solidified, you make your own reservation on the ship through Holland America, you make your own plane reservations to San Diego and back from Vancouver or Seattle, you consider a donation or pledge to Anchorage Audubon, and we meet on board. We'll also probably be involved in land birding advice for San Diego and Victoria/Vancouver.
Species seen can vary from voyage to voyage. Here's is an online report from Master Birder Paul Lehman who took a similarly timed cruise last Spring:
In California waters, they saw 5 Laysan Albatross (4 in SLO and 1 in MTY) and 35 Parakeet Auklets (all in Humboldt). The waters off California were calm, probably too calm for pteradromas.
In Oregon waters, there were 1-2 Murphy's Petrels, an early South Polar Skua, and more Parakeet Auklets.
In a 20 mile stretch of Washington waters, there were 1200 Leach's Storm-Petrels.
In two-and-a-half days (Wednesday, Thursday, and partial Friday), large numbers of pelagic birds were seen! Estimates include 800 Black-footed Albatross, 2000 Pink-footed Shearwater, 30,000 Sooty Shearwater, and 800 Sabine's Gull.
Rumor has it that a group of Oregon birders trailing this cruise a day later got a "slug of Murphy's (50), Hawaiian (10) and several Cook's Petrels" ! They also had more wind and higher seas.
The final date will be announced very soon, but what we'd like is an estimate of how many people might be interested. If you are interested, please email Our Esteemed Coordinator and tell us if you are:
Ready to Sign on Now!
More details will follow, but we'd appreciate knowing about your interest. If there is huge interest, we'll probably have to enlist another guide/leader.
As updated details are released, they will be here on the Anchorage Audubon website.
Thanks, and we hope to see you on board.