2017 Seabird Report Card

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge has prepared a “report card” on seabird breeding success in 2017:

 

Additional observations were provided by John Piatt, Karl Stoltzfus, and Victoria Winne:

(From John Piatt, 10-17-17)
Preliminary results. The usual caveat applies: Results may change a little with more complete analysis. 
 
1) USGS studied two colonies (Gull and Chisik/Duck islands) in Cook Inlet, and two species: Common Murre and Black-legged Kittiwake  
2) Things started out looking better this summer. Counts of both species were up. Things started out looking better this summer, and more nests were initiated than last year (which was a total failure). 
3) At Chisik Island, west side of Cook Inlet, kittiwakes abandoned nests early, and appeared to produce zero chicks. In contrast to last year, murres started off attending nests, and early on we saw at least 11 nests with eggs in one location. However, by mid-August all murres had abandoned breeding efforts, and appeared to produce zero chicks. This suggests much reduced food availability again in 2017. 
4) At Gull Island, east side of Cook Inlet, things were somewhat better, but not back to normal. About 22% of kittiwake pairs produced a chick this year, compared to 1% in 2016, and 46% on average in the 1990s. We don’t have final estimate for murres yet, but many eggs and several chicks were observed this year, compared to few eggs (all predated by GWGU) and zero chicks last year.  This suggests reduced food availability in 2017 but not as bad as in 2016.
5) At both colonies, the timing of breeding was quite a bit later than usual, and breeding was much less synchronized than usual. These are also indicators of changing and/or reduced food supplies. 
 
From Karl Stolzfus (10-20-17)
I did see a fair number of chicks on both Gull Island and 60′ Rock. I am not sure how many made it into the water but I did count about 50 murres with a chick on one trip that I had to Bear Cove so at least some made it. I think it has been about 3 years since they had any sort of nesting success in Kachemak Bay and the first time in about 30 years that murres attempted to nest on 60′ Rock. 
 
From Victoria Winne (10-18-17)
The birds seemed to do very well this year, with far less to almost no harassing by eagles, especially in mid-season. It was interesting to note a ‘new’ and dense grouping of murres on 60ft.
Most of the other species had left by the first week in September, with the murres remaining, still feeding their young – evident by the number still on the main murre rock, and birds with fish in their mouths.
Unfortunately, that is when our season pretty much finishes, with just sporadic visits to G.Island, and it was distressing to see eagles returning right about then. It is impossible to say whether the eagles managed to spook them off right at the end, thus exposing the almost fledged chicks to predation.
I did witness one lone eagle a few weeks earlier spooking all the kittiwakes, and watched in admiration as the murres tenaciously held their ground, so hold out hope that they managed to hold on.

2016 Christmas Bird Count Results

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

FINAL REPORT

Forty two volunteers participated in Homer’s annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, five watching feeders in their own yard and the others out in the field. The weather was not too cooperative with icy walking, limited visibility for most of the day and resulting decreased available daylight hours, but many were expressing the same thought, “We’ve seen much worse!”

A total of 64 species were seen on the Count Day (Saturday, December 17). Highlights included a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW found at a feeder near Crittenden St., a BELTED KINGFISHER found in Beluga Slough near the culvert from the lake, and a single SANDERLING found among the ROCK SANDPIPERS on the Homer Spit. CHUKARS, a colorful gamebird related to a pheasant, were found at a residence out East End Rd, though possibly may not count as an official species due to their probable domestic escapee status.

Three additional species were seen during the Count Week (three days before and three days after Count Day): SNOW BUNTING, MERLIN, and GREAT-HORNED OWL.

There were 10,492 individual birds counted. Most numerous species were MALLARDS (3422), ROCK SANDPIPERS (1700), and COMMON GOLDENEYE (820). Only one COMMON MURRE was seen this year, compared to the die-off that was developing at this time last year when over 200 were counted. (In winter, murres are typically out at sea instead of here in the bay.)

For a complete report of species and numbers seen, check the Kachemak Bay Birders’ website, kachemakbaybirders.org.

A big thanks to all the volunteers who participated, to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for letting us use their space for our meeting and potluck, the local Kachemak Bay Birders, and to Dave Erikson for coordinating yet another Christmas Bird Count. It was indeed a Great Day to Bird!

dave-at-cbc
Jim Herbert presenting Dave Erikson with a cake in celebration of 40 years as the Homer CBC Coordinator.

daves-cake

christmas-count-tally-01
BJ Hitchcock, Gary Lyon, and Hal Smith (tallying their species)
christmas-count-tally-03
CBC Participants enjoying the after counting potluck
chukar3
Chukar (non-native species) (Photo: Landon Bunting)

 

 

The CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT is the longest-running citizen science project in our nation, and in Homer it is always held on the first Saturday in the window (Dec. 14th to Jan. 5th). This year it will be December 17th in Homer.

The center of the 15-mile-diameter count circle is the intersection of Kachemak Drive and the Spit Rd. The circle extends east to Fritz Creek, south past the end of the Spit, west to the mouth of Diamond Creek and to the north where there are few roads. We do not go out in boats for our count.

Participants meet at 8:30 am at IOVC for coffee/tea/breakfast foods, get assigned to teams and areas, and then go out to count all the daylight hours. At 4:30 teams return and compile results and enjoy a warm potluck supper. Some participants also count what they see coming to their feeders/yard on the count day.

Each year on the Thursday before the count, Dave Erikson teaches a class on “Winter Bird Identification”. This class is valuable for new birders as well as being an excellent opportunity for more experienced birders to brush up on what birds are in Homer in the winter.

During the COUNT WEEK, which is three days before and three days after the CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT additional species are also noted.

Shorebird Festival Summary (5-12-17)

There were 131 species seen at the Festival this year. This list is on the Kachemak Bay Birders’ website http://kachemakbaybirders.org/.

If there are other species that you are sure were seen during the Festival, please let me know. I did not get many reports of raptors and woodpeckers and some others possibly seen.

A RED KNOT was seen at the end of the Spit by the Harbor and in Mud Bay on.

BAR-TAILED and MARBLED GODWITS were seen in several places on the Spit. (No Hudsonians were seen here during the Festival but were at the Kasilof River.)

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS were seen on the 4th out East End Rd about 6 miles and then again at the Lighthouse Village Platform and in Beluga Slough the next day.

A KING EIDER pair was seen off “the bluff” west of Homer on the 4th. Great photographs posted.

A WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE was seen at the end of the FAA Rd. by the lower platform on the Lake on the 6th.

RING-NECKED DUCKS, GADWALL, and CANVASBACKS were seen in Beluga Lake.

A THAYER’S GULL was seen at the Lighthouse Village, Green Timbers and a few other places. Also an An ICELAND GULL was seen near Green Timbers on the 6th.

GREAT BLUE HERONS were seen on the 4th near Bishop’s Beach.

CASPIAN TERNS were seen on the 6th in Mud Bay.

An OSPREY was seen near Beluga Slough/Bishop’s Beach before the Festival and again on the 7th.

There was a report of BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEWS at Anchor Point on the 6th but attempts to refind them were unsuccessful.

Always nice during the Festival to have some swallows back, HERMIT THRUSH, ORANGE-CROWNED and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, terns, and TUFTED PUFFIN. And this year a hummingbird and a flycatcher, too! The Festival means many happy hours being out birding and enjoying the beauty and diversity of all those wonderful birds!  It was a Great Festival to Bird (as our motto tells us)!

Post-Festival

Shorebirds still arriving since the Festival…

The following is an amazing report from Toby and Laura Burke:

On Wednesday evening, May 10, between 5 and 6 PM, on the falling tide in the greater Mud Bay area of Homer we encountered the largest aggregation of shorebirds we’ve ever seen in 12 years of birding the Kenai Peninsula… During the previously 12 years the most shorebirds we had ever counted in the larger Mud Bay area approached 15,000. Wednesday evening from the intertidal mudflats from below the airport, across the east side of the Mud Bay spit, across the mouth of the inner Mud Bay, along the gravel bars working south, and toward Green Timbers – a distance of 1.4 miles – where we roughly stood nearest the center – we counted 150,000 WESTERN SANDPIPERS and 6,000 DUNLIN along this shoreline with peak numbers between 5:30 to 5:45 PM.”

 

View or download the complete festival species checklist:

2017 Shorebird Festival Reports

Homer/Kachemak Bay Festival Bird Report: 5-6-17

Our weather has held with only a few sprinkles this afternoon.  Hopes for no rain tomorrow here in Homer or out on the Bay.  Fantastic birds and birding in various places today.  This report will just cover the new species seen on Saturday and a few species of note from previous reports.
Beluga Lake/FAA Rd. Platforms
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE—seen at the lower platform and then better at the cul-de-sac at the end of the FAA Rd.   Also on Beluga Lake, a GADWALL was seen as well as the CANVASBACKS.  (The RING-NECKED DUCK was not reported as seen today.)
Lighthouse Village Observation Platform
THAYER’S GULL was positively ID’d around noon and then it flew over to Mud Bay.  Later at 2:00 a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD zoomed in, perched briefly on the chain railing and then left!  Another humming bird or  possibly the same one (?) was seen on the boardwalk along Beluga Slough later in the afternoon!  (Previous report on Thursday was from about 6 miles out East End Rd.)
Important news about the SANDHILL CRANE pair that has been hanging around that area.  On Friday the pair was just walking around, but this morning they were actively taking grass to a nest site and one sat on the nest nearly the whole time we were there for the Viewing Station (11:30-1:00).  For a few days many people also enjoyed watching them “paint” themselves, putting the red, iron-colored mud on their feathers to make them more camouflaged.
Mud Bay
CASPIAN TERNS were seen and the MARBLED GODWITS seen again.
End of the Spit
A couple ROCK SANDPIPERS were seen on the Harbor Jetty.   These are the first ones seen even in shorebird monitoring for many weeks.  Many hundreds/thousands overwinter here but usually are all gone by Festival time.
Out on the Bay
BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS were seen on Hesketh Island.
Anchor Point
HORNED LARK—report was pretty certain; it was not a male in breeding plumage however.  (I’ll put more information in the next report.)
Barren’s Island Trip
A RED-FACED CORMORANT and SOOTY SHEARWATER were seen. (I did not get a complete list from that trip, will include other species later.)

 

 

Kachemak Bay/Homer Festival Bird Report: 5-5-17 (Friday)

Another nice sunny day here in Homer! Many exciting new birds were found today: CANVASBACK and RING-NECKED DUCK in Beluga Lake this morning, TUFTED PUFFIN at Gull Island, and ALEUTIAN TERN at Green Timbers, and a THAYER’S GULL. The KING EIDER from yesterday was confirmed with a beautiful photo, checkout our website if you haven’t seen it. It was a Great Day to Bird!

King Eiders – photo by Max Schwenne

Has anyone seen a BLACK OYSTERCATCHER or an EURASIAN WIGEON? So far no reports of them during the Festival. Some reported a few days earlier…

Western Sandpiper/Dunlin/Least flock in Mud Bay was estimated to be ~4-5,000 today at 8:00 am; later estimate near noon was ~1500-2000.

Mud Bay

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, MARBLED GODWIT, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, WHIMBREL, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, BONAPARTE’S GULL, BRANT, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREATER SCAUP, HORNED GREBE, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, MEW GULL, HERRING GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, SAVANNAH SPARROW, AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, NORTHERN SHOVELER, GREEN-WINGED TEAL.

 

Lighthouse Village

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIDGEON, NORTHERN PINTAILS, MALLARDS, SANDHILL CRANES.

Green Timbers/Louie’s Lagoon (mid-spit)

LONG-TAILED DUCK, RED-THROATED LOON, NORTHERN SHOVELER, BONAPARTE’S GULL, COMMON REDPOLL, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER,WHIMBREL, SURFBIRDS, BLACK TURNSTONE, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, DUNLIN, DOWITCHER (sp), BRANT, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, LEAST SANDPIPER, ARCTIC TERN, AMERICAN PIPIT, SAVANNAH SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, SONG SPARROW.

 

End of the Spit

HERRING GULL, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, RED-NECKED GREBE, PELAGIC CORMORANT, PEREGRINE FALCON, SURFBIRDS on Harbor Jetty with Turnstones, RUDDY TURNSTONES, BLACK TURNSTONES, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, WANDERING TATTLERS (in Harbor), SONG SPARROWS, SAVANNAH SPARROWS, ROCK PIGEONS, NORTHWESTERN CROWS, BALD EAGLES,

Out on the Bay

TUFTED PUFFIN on Gull Island, SURFBIRDS, BLACK TURNSTONES, HORNED GREBE, SCOTERS (WHITE-WINGED, SURF, BLACK), RED-NECKED PHALLAROPE, PIGEON GUILLEMOT, COMMON MURRES, HARLEQUIN DUCKS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, COMMON LOON, PACIFIC LOONPELAGIC CORMORANT, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

Beluga Slough and trail down from Islands and Oceans

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, FOX SPARROW, AMERICAN ROBIN, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN PINTAIL, WESTERN SANDPIPER, NORTHERN SOVELER, BALD EAGLE, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, NORTHWESTERN CROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, SANDHILL CRANE.

Beluga Lake Lower Platform

TRUMPETER SWAN pair, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, CACKLING GEESE, CANADA GEESE, RED-NECKED GREBE, BUFFLEHEAD, MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN PINTAIL, RING-NECKED DUCK, CANVASBACK, NORTHERN SHOVELER, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREATER SCAUP, WILSON’S SNIPE, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and LEAST SANDPIPER (both flying), MEW GULL, SANDHILL CRANE (heard) NORTHERN HARRIER, BALD EAGLE, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, BOREAL CHICKADEE, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH, AMERICAN PIPIT, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, DARK-EYTED JUNCO, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, BROWN CREEPER, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, COMMON RAVEN, GREATER YELLOWLEGS.

Calvin and Coyle Trail

BROWN CREEPER, PINE GROSSBEAK, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH,.

Anchor River

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, NORTHERN SHOVELER, CACKLING GEESE, GREEN-WINGED TEAL,

HARLEQUIN DUCK, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, LONG-TAILED DUCK, COMMON MERGANSER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, PACIFIC LOON, RED-NECKED GREBE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT,BALD EAGLE, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, WHIMBREL, RUDDY TURNSTONE, DUNLIN, MARBLED MURRELET, NORTHWESTERN CROW, AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, GREATER SCAUP, SURF SCOTER, COMMON LOON, PELAGIC CORMORANT, SANDHILL CRANE, PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, BLACK TURNSTONE, LEAST SANDPIPER, COMMON MURRE, PIGEON GUILLEMOT, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, MEW GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, BELTED KINGFISHER, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, AMERICAN PIPIT, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, FOX SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW.

 

 

Kachemak Bay/Homer Festival Bird Report: 5-4-17 (Newest in BOLD)

Nice sunny day and not even much breeze until noontime. Many good birds (of course they’re all good birds) and many happy birders at our Festival.  Estimated Western Sandpiper/Dunlin flock in Mud Bay estimated to be ~1500 today.

Super fantastic Festival birds:

A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was reported out East End Rd., with photos!

GREAT BLUE HERON in town near Bishop’s Beach on Jenny Way.

Unconfirmed report of a KING EIDER seen from a boat off “The Bluff” west of town, but unconfirmed at this time.

Mud Bay

SURFBIRDS, MARBLED GODWIT, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, WHIMBREL, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, BONAPARTE’S GULL, BRANT, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER.

Lighthouse Village

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIDGEON, NORTHERN PINTAILS, MALLARDS.

Green Timbers/Louie’s Lagoon (mid-spit)

COMMON EIDER and KITTLITZ’S MURRELET (scoped to the west), RED-THROATED LOON, NORTHERN SHOVELER, BONAPARTE’S GULL, COMMON REDPOLL, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER,WHIMBREL, SURFBIRDS, BLACK TURNSTONE, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, DUNLIN, DOWITCHER (sp), BRANT, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, LEAST SANDPIPER, ARCTIC TERN, AMERICAN PIPIT, SAVANNAH SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, SONG SPARROW.

End of the Spit

PEREGRINE FALCON, SURFBIRDS (150 on Harbor Jetty with Turnstones), RUDDY TURNSTONES, BLACK TURNSTONES, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, WANDERING TATTLERS (in Harbor), SONG SPARROWS, SAVANNAH SPARROWS, ROCK PIGEONS, NORTHWESTERN CROWS.

Out on the Bay

SURFBIRDS (800), BLACK TURNSTONES, HORNED GREBE, SCOTERS (WHITE-WINGED, SURF, BLACK) RED-NECKED PHALLAROPE (200), PIGEON GUILLEMOT, COMMON MURRES (most in breeding plumage), HARLEQUIN DUCKS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, COMMON LOON, PELAGIC CORMORANT, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

Reports of 5-8 BALD EAGLES on Gull Island, another of 15 in the area!

Beluga Slough

BELTED KINGFISHER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS (sp.), GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, CACKLING GEESE, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL.

Beluga Lake Platforms

TRUMPETER SWAN pair apparently nesting across the water, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS singing away, also PACIFIC WRENS, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS in the area.  VARIED THRUSH, WILSON’S SNIPE.

(Coyote seen at noon across in the grassy area.)

Calvin and Coyle Trail

NORTHERN GOSHAWK, BROWN CREEPER, PINE GROSSBEAK, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET

Other parts of town…

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at Seaside Farms. RING-NECKED PHEASANT nearby.

Anchor River

SNOW GEESE (3), CACKLING GEESE, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BELTED KINGFISHER, DUNLIN, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, WHIMBREL, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, RUDDY TURNSTONE, BLACK TURNSTONE, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, ARCTIC TERN, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW.

 

 

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Bird Report: 5-3-17  9:00 pm—UPDATE

Pair of GREAT BLUE HERON in Beluga Slough (reported this evening).

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS at Seaside Farms (5 miles out East End Rd.).

Omitted earlier but seen on Wednesday: LAPLAND LONGSPUR (3) at Green Timbers.

Also don’t forget to report crane sightings and their nesting activities to reports@cranewatch.org or call 907-235-6262.  Be sure to include your own contact information in case they need additional information.

 

Kachemak Bay/Homer Festival Bird Report: 5-3-17

A strong wind blew late yesterday and that was what it took to blow us in a super great group of species just in time for our Shorebird Festival which is starting!  Fantastic to spot a BAR-TAILED GODWIT flying over Green Timbers this morning and find a MARBLED GODWIT in Mud Bay.  Probable FOS: LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, WANDERING TATTLER, and OSPREY! George Matz will post an in-depth account of the shorebird monitoring this morning, but some of the highlights are below.

Mud Bay

WESTERN SANDPIPER (~1000), DUNLIN, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, MARBLED GODWIT, WHIMBREL, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, BONAPARTE’S GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL (im.), BRANT, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER.

Lighthouse Village

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS.

Green Timbers

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (flyover), LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, WHIMBREL, DUNLIN, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PEREGRINE FALCON, SAVANNAH SPARROW, AMERICAN PIPIT, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, ARCTIC TERN, RED-THROATED LOON (one group of 7; total 14 seen!).

Bar-tailed Godwit photo by Aaron Lang

Louie’s Lagoon

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER, WHIMBREL, SURFBIRDS (~350), BLACK TURNSTONE, LEAST SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, DUNLIN, DOWITCHER, BRANT.

End of the Spit

SURFBIRDS (~300 probably same group as in Louie’s), RUDDY TURNSTONES, BLACK TURNSTONES, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, WANDERING TATTLERS (in Harbor).

Beluga Slough

GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, OSPREY, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, CACKLING GEESE, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS

Anchor River

DUNLIN, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, WHIMBREL, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, RUDDY TURNSTONE, BLACK TURNSTONE, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, ARCTIC TERN, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW.

Beluga Lake Platforms

TRUMPETER SWAN pair apparently nesting across the water, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS singing away, also PACIFIC WRENS, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS in the area.

Out East End Rd

Over the weekend the following were seen: SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (~Mile 3), NORTHERN HARRIER (~Mile 5).  Songbirds singing and building nests at Seaside Farms and elsewhere.  GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS and FOX SPARROWS singing; SAVANNAH SPARROWS not singing yet.

In the past few weeks, groups of SANDHILL CRANES have been seen on the beach just east of Miller’s Landing, in the evening mid-tide.  Often they don’t feed there until the fall but speculation that maybe there was less food up higher?  A large group of 150 was seen out in the Fernwood Rd area, (~7 miles out).

 

 

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival: Checklist of species seen

The 2016 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival took place May 12-15. The attached checklist shows the species seen during the festival- 140 species were seen over the four festival days.

This list has been compiled from the Checklist of Birds of Kachemak Bay (April 2002) with some revisions (April 2005). Like the original checklist, it covers the Anchor River drainage, the watersheds draining into Kachemak Bay including Kachemak Bay State Park and the Bay itself between Anchor Point and Point Pogibshi. It features species and their historical likelihood of occurrence in the spring only, i.e., those birds likely to be seen during the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, which has taken place on the first or second weekend of May since 1993.
 

2016 Shorebird Monitoring Schedule

2016 Homer Spit / Anchor River Shorebird Monitoring Times and Tides

Starting time is based on the quarter hour before the receding tide reaches 15.0 feet, or high tide if it doesn’t reach 15.0 feet using Seldovia tide tables. The tide correction between Seldovia and Homer is only +5 minutes.

Monitoring lasts for two hours.

Starting Seldovia High
Date Time Tide (ft.) Tide Time Tide (ft.)
Saturday, April 16 11:30 AM 14.2 11:36 AM 14.2
Thursday, April 21 4:45 PM 15.5 3:18 PM 17.7
Tuesday, April 26 7:00 PM 15.2 6:17 PM 15.6
Sunday, May 1 10:00 AM 14.0 10:14 AM 14.0
Friday, May 6 5:00 PM 16.0 3:14 PM 20.2
Wednesday, May 11 8:00 AM 15.2 6:15 AM 18.3
Monday, May 16 12:00 PM 13.6 12:05 PM 13.6
Saturday, May 21 5:00 PM 15.0 3:34 PM 17.1
Thursday, May 26 7:30 PM 15.4 6:49 PM 15.8

Starting times taken from:  http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions/viewDailyPredictions


2016 Kasilof River Shorebird Monitoring Times and Tides

Monitoring is based on when the incoming tide is about half way between low tide and high tide. This corresponds to beginning an hour before the tide at the Kenai River.

Entrance is at +10.0 feet. Monitoring last one and a half hours.

Monitoring  Times Kenai High
Date Start Finish Tide Time Tide (ft.)
Saturday, April 16 1:30 PM 16.1
Thursday, April 21 5:12 PM 19.6
Tuesday, April 26 8:11 PM 17.5
Sunday, May 1 12:08 PM 15.9
Friday, May 6 5:08 PM 22.1
Wednesday, May 11 9:19 PM 18.6
Monday, May 16 1:59 PM 15.5
Saturday, May 21 5:28 PM 19.0
Thursday, May 26 8:43 PM 17.7

Starting times taken from:  http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions/viewDailyPredictions

 

2015 Christmas Bird Count results

Summary provided by Dave Erikson:

What a fantastic Christmas Bird Count here in Homer!  There were 66 species seen and three of these species had never been seen before on a Christmas Bird Count:Red-breasted Sapsucker, Anna’s Hummingbird and Ancient Murrelet.  During the Count Week (which is three days before and three days after the Count Day), an additional nine species were found, including a Great Blue Heron and a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, both very uncommon on this side of the Bay. Participants, including myself, did their best during the short daylight hours searching hard and long to find the latter two on the Count Day itself, as they had been seen the previous few days and would have been wonderful finds.

Nearly 8000 birds were counted in all. The most numerous species were Rock Sandpipers (2000), Pine Siskin (871), and Black Scoter (845); also hundreds of Mallards, Common Mergansers, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murre, American Robins, Black-capped Chickadees, Northwestern Crows and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Species of note were six European Starlings, White-throated Sparrow, Townsend’s Solitaire, and—love them or not—there were 13 Ring Necked Pheasants (last year only one could be found).

The weather cooperated and the snow that was predicted thankfully did not fall.  This was a huge help although the heavy clouds meant the day was very short.  A big thank you to over thirty volunteers who participated, plus other feeder watchers.  Thank you to Dave Erikson as coordinator of the Count; this was the 39th consecutive Christmas Bird Count he has coordinated here in Homer! And a big thank you to Islands and Ocean Visitor Center for allowing us to use their wonderful facility.  

Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science project in our nation, and in Homer it is always held on the first Saturday in the window (Dec. 14th to Jan. 5th).

The center of the 15-mile-diameter count circle is the intersection of Kachemak Drive and the Spit Rd. The circle extends east to Fritz Creek, south past the end of the Spit, west to the mouth of Diamond Creek and to the north where there are few roads. We do not go out in boats for our count.

Participants meet at 8:30 am at IOVC for coffee/tea/breakfast foods, get assigned to teams and areas, and then go out to count all the daylight hours. At 4:30 teams return and compile results and enjoy a warm potluck supper.

A few days before the event, Dave Erikson always teaches a class on “Winter Bird Identification”. This class is valuable for new birders as well as being an excellent opportunity for more experienced birders to brush up on what birds are in Homer in the winter.

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