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Field Trips and Events Calendar PDF Print E-mail

   Brownlee-KodiakGroupHikeTerminationPt.jpgAnchorage 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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
APRIL

 2015:

 

 
Hawkwatching Help Needed!
 
April 6--17
 
    This April, for the first time ever, a professional hawkwatcher from Hawkwatch International is coming up here to monitor the Gunsight Mountain hawk migration.  For the first time, we'll have full coverage of the site for two full weeks.
    Neil Paprocki, Conservation Biologist for Hawkwatch International, will be at the site from April 6 though the big Hawkwatch Weekend on April 19 and we need help with extra eyes on the sky during that 2 week period.
    Covering the entire sky for a full day is daunting to say the least, so we're trying to find volunteers who will join Neil on each day of his project. 
    This is a fabulous opportunity to witness an incredible migration while contributing to knowledge that just hasn't existed before. Volunteers don't have to be experts--Neil can identify the birds once they are spotted.
    So please contact me for further details.  I will coordinate schedules so we can hopefully cover each day, and I will also attempt to facilitate carpooling for the decently long drive.  Obviously, weekday volunteers will be extremely valuable.
    We hope you can help us in this effort!

W. Keys
Anchorage Audubon Society
flybynightclub at gci dot net
 
 

  April Meeting & Program
Beginning Birding Class
   
Thursday, April 16, 7:00  pm
BP Energy Center
 
     For the second time ever, we will present a course in "Birding for Beginners" at our April Meeting.  This iskid_with_binos_lr_resize.jpg 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. 
 
 
Saturday and Sunday, April 18 & 19
The Gunsight Mountain Hawkwatch Weekend 
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.
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     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 on Saturday at the wayside at Milepost 118.8, Glenn Highway. A short raptor identification talk will take place at 10:30 AM. 
     On Sunday, April 19, 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.    


MAY 2015:
Friday, May 1
Birding Open House & Little Sit
Campbell Creek Estuary Nature Area   
6:30pm--10:00pm
 

    Join Aaron Bowman in a "Little Sit."  The idea is to spend time in one location observing and studying birds that fly by or come to you.  Spend as much time as you like at the Little Sit on the Beluga Overlook at one of Anchorage's natural area gems.  Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one.  A spotting scope will be available at the site.
    Targets on May 1 could include arriving Sandhill Cranes, several species of geese and waterfowl, and early shorebirds.  And who knows what else can be found.  Park at the CCENA parking lot, and walk the gravel trail to the Beluga Overlook.
   

Thursday, May 7
Early Morning Bird Walk
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center   
6:30 am--8:30 am

    Thursday mornings in May (except May 1)   Early Morning Bird Walks happen from 6:30am until 8:30am.  The walks are hosted by Aaron Bowman, Audubon Board Members, and the staff of the Campbell Creek Science Center.  There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, and expected species include Varied Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper, and possibly other thrushes. 
    Meet at the Campbell Creek Science Center parking lot at 6:20am.  Bring binoculars and clothing suitable for a nippy early morning walk on dirt trails. 
 
May 7--10
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
Homer, Alaska  
 
 
    It's a birding bonanza with workshops, field trips, birding classes, and keynote speakers including Neil Hayward who broke the all-time North American Big Year record in 2013 when he found the Rustic Bunting in HOMER! 
    Full details on the festival are at http://www.homeralaska.org/events/kachemak-bay-shorebird-festival/2015-shorebird-festival
   
May 7--10
Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival
Cordova, Alaska   


    Over FIVE MILLION shorebirds pass through the Copper River Delta each spring.  This is the place if you want to see Tonnage!  The Cordova Festival is always a stunning experience, and full details are at http://www.cordovachamber.com/events/copper-river-delta-shorebird-festival


Thursday, May 14
Early Morning Bird Walk
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center   
6:30 am--8:30 am


    Thursday mornings in May (except May 1)   Early Morning Bird Walks happen from 6:30am until 8:30am.  The walks are hosted by Aaron Bowman, Audubon Board Members, and the staff of the Campbell Creek Science Center.  There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, and expected species include Varied Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper, and possibly other thrushes. 
    Meet at the Campbell Creek Science Center parking lot at 6:20am.  Bring binoculars and clothing suitable for a nippy early morning walk on dirt trails. 


Monday, May 18
Westchester Lagoon Shorebird Walk  
6:30 pm--8:30 pm

    Join Aaron Bowman for a walk on the Coastal Trail overlooking the mudflats.  The targets are Anchorage's wide array of migrating shorebirds.  Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one.  Some birds may be distant.  Walking distance will be a leisurely 1-2 miles.  Meet at the Westchester Lagoon north boat launch.
   
Thursday, May 21
Early Morning Bird Walk
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center   
6:30 am--8:30 am


    Thursday mornings in May (except May 1)   Early Morning Bird Walks happen from 6:30am until 8:30am.  The walks are hosted by Aaron Bowman, Audubon Board Members, and the staff of the Campbell Creek Science Center.  There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, and expected species include Varied Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper, and possibly other thrushes. 
    Meet at the Campbell Creek Science Center parking lot at 6:20am.  Bring binoculars and clothing suitable for a nippy early morning walk on dirt trails. 


Thursday, May 28
Early Morning Bird Walk
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center   
6:30 am--8:30 am


    Thursday mornings in May (except May 1)   Early Morning Bird Walks happen from 6:30am until 8:30am.  The walks are hosted by Aaron Bowman, Audubon Board Members, and the staff of the Campbell Creek Science Center.  There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, and expected species include Varied Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper, and possibly other thrushes. 
    Meet at the Campbell Creek Science Center parking lot at 6:20am.  Bring binoculars and clothing suitable for a nippy early morning walk on dirt trails. 

Thursday, May 28  6:00 pm
Monthly Meeting Potluck and Bird Walk
Westchester Lagoon Boat Launch Parking Lot   

    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.  PLEASE NOTE that we've pushed the date back one week because the weather is totally guaranteed to be warmer.
    Bring a dish to share, tales to tell, binoculars, and gear appropriate for the day’s weather.  We’ll bring plates, utensils, and Audubon Society approved napkins for sloppy eaters.
    The Bird Walk will be our annual Birder's Pro-Am Tournament.  Experienced birders will pair off with beginners, and launch into a 30-minute mad dash to see who can find the most species in the area immediately surrounding the Potluck site.  .
   
Saturday, May 30  
The Potter Marsh-a-Thon Birding Smackdown
Potter Marsh, 8:00am--Noon

    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. Teams may consist of 2-6 people.  The team must remain within voice or sight contact and must fit into one vehicle.  Species may only be counted if they are seen/heard by the entire team (Exceptions:  6-person teams may count birds seen by 5 members, and 5-person teams may count birds seen by 4 members.)  
    Check-In is at 7:30 am in the parking lot at the north end of the marsh.  Teams will be given a check list and a Potter Marsh map on which to log the location of each species seen.  At the end of the contest, species locations will be plotted on a gigantic master map to allow all participants to re-locate desired species.  Entry fee is $20.00 per team.  Exact Change is required. The Official Smackdown ends precisely at Noon.  Teams will be penalized one species per minute late. 
    Birds may be counted Only if seen from designated roads and trails in the Potter Marsh area.  No stopping or walking will be allowed on the West side of the New Seward Highway. Birds seen in non-designated areas may be counted if the observers are standing within a designated area.

    SPECIAL SAFETY RULES:  No stopping is allowed on the New Seward Highway except in designated turn-outs on the East side of the highway, and pulling into the designated turn-outs is only allowed for vehicles traveling NORTH.  Parking in a manner that blocks other teams from using a pull-out will result in a penalty of 15 species.  
    Everybody is welcome, so assemble your team, whip up a dish to share, and meet us Saturday Morning at 7:30 for a hilarious birding field trip with Fabulous Prizes!  Birding will be limited to the Potter Marsh area, and who knows what rarities will show up when there are birders combing every inch of an area that usually just gets the once-over.  

    Will Audubon Alaska get their clock cleaned by Anchorage Audubon?  Can members of the Mat-Su Birders hang with the guys from the big city?  If you don’t have a team, show up anyway and we’ll try to assemble teams on the spot.    It’s the anti-social event of the ornithological season.  
    If another team won’t tell you where they just saw a Pectoral Sandpiper, you are totally allowed to use “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  This is not your Mother’s Birding Contest.  We hope to see you May 30 at the Potter Marsh North Parking Lot.  
 
 
 
JULY

 2015:

 
 
 
Friday, July 31  
Westchester Lagoon Shorebird Walk
6:30 pm--8:30 pm
 
    Join Aaron Bowman for a walk on the Coastal Trail overlooking the mudflats.  The targets are Anchorage's wide array of migrating shorebirds, some of which will be heading south.  Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one.  Some birds may be distant.  Walking distance will be a leisurely 1-2 miles.  Meet at the Westchester Lagoon north boat launch.