Once again, it’s time to start planning for the annual Homer Christmas Bird Count (CBC), which will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2023. This year’s count will be conducted in similar manner as those pre-COVID-19. Masks are encouraged. Coordinator/compiler is Dave Erikson (email@example.com; 907 441-7931).
Count Circle: The area used for the CBC is a 15-mile diameter circle centered in at the base of the Homer Spit. The eastern boundary is near Fritz Creek on East End Road and the western boundary is near Virginia Avenue on the Sterling. Southern boundary is in offshore Kachemak Bay. The northern boundary is in the roadless area of Anchor River Drainage.
Count Day: Count Day will start with a pre-count meeting at 8:30 AM at the islands and Ocean (I&O) Visitor Center. Hot drinks, such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available along with and breakfast snacks. Following a short meeting, count area teams will head out to the respective count areas at 9:00 AM. Teams will methodically survey their areas and count all bird species seen or heard and numbers of individuals until 4:30 PM. Owling can also occur during the hours of darkness on count day. Following the cutoff period for daylight counting, all volunteers will meet back at the I&O Visitor Center to discuss the results of the count and tally the number of species observed. A potluck is planned.
Count Week: Three days before and three days after the count day (December 13-15 and 17- 19) is referred to as Count Week. Any bird species (no numbers) seen or heard by count participants within the Count Circle area during these time periods needs to be recorded and reported to the compiler as “count week” species.
Count Area Teams: interested team members can contact team leaders directly (contact information posted soon). Also you can join a team at the morning gathering at 8:30 at I.O. Counters must fill out a Rare Bird Form for any species not listed on the Homer CBC checklist. If possible, include photos of any rare birds.
Count Data: All count data should be recorded either on an eBird Checklist and shared with Dave Erikson (eBird ID: Derikson48a) or on our regular Homer CBC checklist field form and emailed to the compiler, Dave Erikson (firstname.lastname@example.org; 907 441-7931).
Feeder Watchers: On Count Day, feeder watchers should record the species of bird, maximum numbers of each species at the feeder at a specific time, and the amount of time spent observing the feeder. Results should be submitted to the Feeder Watcher Coordinator, (Kathy Eagle; email@example.com; 907 232-3789).
Meetings at the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, begin at 5:30 pm (unless otherwise indicated).
December 4th Presentation by Aaron Lang: “Birding in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” was recorded and the link will be posted here soon.
NOTE: more information on the Friends of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges website: https://alaskarefugefriends.org/category/events/special-events/
*December 11-13th: Bird Conference in Anchorage Theme is “Bring Back the Birds”.
January 29th Meeting and Presentation by Jim Herbert: “Gambell–Birding On the Western Edge”
All Kachemak Bay Birders’ Meetings, activities and birding trips are cosponsored by the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. All events are free and everyone is welcome to attend. Masks encouraged and all trips will comply with FWS covid-safe practices.
Ohlson Mountain Road. It was a mostly clear, relatively warm night at 40
degrees and neither wind nor rain intervened. We played the calls of
Northern Saw-whet, Great Horned and Boreal Owls. After about 20 minutes
we got a fairly close response from a Northern Saw-whet, which all of us
heard. A bit later a few of us heard two more simultaneous calls of
After about 45 minutes we all moved about two miles to the terminal end
of East Skyline Drive, where there is a bus turnaround. We played the
same calls there and added a few bars of Great Gray Owl calls. We
listened here for about 30 minutes to no avail. However it was a
pleasant, quiet night punctuated by shooting stars, and a chance for
some of us to get caught up.
And a great night to “Owl”!
Despite the threat of wind and rain, we actually had a very pleasant trip – light wind, and several spotty rain showers lasting less than a minute or so. Five birders, including a young woman from Georgia, spotted 30 different species for the trip. She was happy because a lot of the birds were life birds for her.
- Barrow’s Goldeneye
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Red-necked Grebe
- Pacific Golden-Plover
- Semipalmated Plover
- Rock Sandpiper
- Semipalmated Sandpiper
- Western Sandpiper
- Greater Yellowlegs
- Common Murre
- Pigeon Guillemot
- Marbled Murrelet
- Ancient Murrelet
- Horned Puffin
- Black-legged Kittiwake
- Short-billed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Glaucous-winged Gull
- Arctic Tern
- Pacific Loon
- 2 Common Loon
- Sooty Shearwater
- Bald Eagle
- Belted Kingfisher
- Black-billed Magpie
- 5American Crow
- Savannah Sparrow
- Song Sparrow
Whimbrel – at least 67
Black Turnstone – well over 100
Surfbird – at least 50
Least Sandpiper – only two for sure, but possibly 4 total
Ancient Murrelet – and close to shore for good looks
murrelet sp. – mostly likely Marbled Murrelets, but only saw these birds in flight
Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)
Red-throated Loon – at least one pair
Belted Kingfisher – nice views at it hovered over the river, and then again when it landed on stumps
Black-billed Magpie – heard
American Crow – the young were very vocal about wanting to be fed