2022 Christmas Bird Count

Homer’s CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RESULTS 2022

(12-17-22)

The number of species on Count Day was 67, with an additional 7 species seen during count week. The total number, 7,672, was down this year primarily due to the ice accumulation along the northern shoreline of the inner bay, which generally keeps the mallards on the south side of the bay. ROCK SANDPIPERS, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS and GREATER SCAUP were the most numerous birds. Fourteen species were represented by only one individual.   We didn’t break any records for number of an individual species, but we did tie the record for dark-eyed juncos at 221.

Highlights of this year’s count included: ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, CEDAR WAXWING, ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD, HAWK OWL, PEREGRINE FALCON, NORTHERN HARRIER, LINCOLN’S SPARROW and TREE SPARROW. Count Week highlights were BRAMBLING, CANVASBACK and SHORT-EARED OWL.  

Thanks to all our volunteers: everyone who helped count (including Feederwatchers); folks who brought food; Dave Erikson the Coordinator/Compiler and Jim Herbert; plus Kathy Eagle, the Feederwatchers Coordinator.  A big thanks also goes to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for the use of the I.O. Visitor Center and to Lora Haller and other staff for all their help.

It was A Great Day To Bird!

Christmas Bird Count 2022

Once again, it’s time to start planning for the annual Homer Christmas Bird Count (CBC), which will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2022. This year’s count will be conducted in similar manner as those pre-COVID-19 years due to the decline in number of COVID-19 cases in our area. Masks are optional depending on personal preference.

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. Hot drinks and snacks will also be available.

Count Week: Three days before and three days after the count day (December 14-16 and 18- 20) 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: Field team leaders for each area with contact information–  interested team members can contact team leaders directly. Count Area maps, Homer CBC checklists field form and the CBC Rare Bird Form can be found below. Counters should 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 (derikson@alaska.net; 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; katheagle@gmail.com; 907 232-3789).

*CBC DOCUMENTS, MAPS AND FORMS

We have been very fortunate to have many dedicated birders in Homer who have repeatedly volunteered their time and resources to make the Homer CBC a success over the past 50 years and I’m confident, with everyone’s help, we can get a good count again this year.

Thank you for your continuing support

– Dave Erikson, Homer CBC Compiler

2021 Christmas Bird Count

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2021

1. CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT DATES AND TIMES

2. *CBC DOCUMENTS, MAPS AND FORMS 

3. *INFORMATION FROM DAVE ERIKSON (HOMER COORDINATOR/COMPILER)

 

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT—We need more volunteers!

December 18th from 9:00 am-4:30 pm

If you want to participate and you’re not already signed up, contact Dave Erikson, Coordinator/Compiler:

 907-441-7931, derikson@alaska.net

 

COUNT WEEK—report birds to Dave Erikson

Count Week is three days before and three days after Count Day. This year that’s all day from December 15-17 AND from December 19-21.  [For Count Week we count every species that we did not find on Count Day; we do NOT count how many. Birds must be in the Count Circle.]

FEEDERWATCHERS—How else can you help?

Kathy Eagle, the Feederwatcher Coordinator, needs more Feederwatchers! They report birds that come to their feeders and yard on the Count Day.  Many good species have been found by Feederwatchers and they help to get a good count of the numbers of birds in an area.  If you can help, contact Kathy Eagle: call or text 907-232-3789, katheagle@gmail.com. [You must live within the “Count Circle”; if unsure, ask Kathy.]

 

2. *CBC DOCUMENTS, MAPS AND FORMS

“COUNT CIRCLE”

The only birds we count for the Christmas Bird Count are those we find in the “Count Circle”. The diameter is 15 miles: the center is the intersection of Kachemak Drive and the Spit Rd., and 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 above town where there are few roads. (We do not go out in boats for our count.)

 

3. *INFORMATION FROM DAVE ERIKSON (Homer Coordinator/Compiler)

(12-2-21) Greetings fellow KBB members!

Once again, it’s time to start planning for the annual Homer Christmas Bird Count, which will be held on Saturday, December 18, 2021. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s count will be conducted in similar manner to last year’s count, which included a few restrictions to ensure the health and safety of all participants. These additional measures will allow us to get a good count and provide for the safety of everyone involved.

Modified count protocols from last year include:

  • No pre- or post-count meetings of count volunteers.
  • No post-count potluck dinner will be held again this year.
  • Count Area field team leaders will be selected in advance (preferably people who have counted the area in previous years).
  • A list of field team leaders for each area will be sent out in an email and posted on the website with contact information so interested team members can contact them directly.
  • Field team leaders will decide whether to census the whole count area together, as in the past, or divide up the count areas into smaller geographic areas and assign one person for each sub area.
  • If field teams travel together, members will drive in separate vehicles. Carpooling is allowed for household members, vaccinated individuals, or people in the same social “bubble”.
  • Field teams will observe a social distance of six feet when birding and masks or face-coverings will be worn as appropriate. Team members will also avoid sharing spotting scopes.
  • All data can be recorded either on eBird or on our regular field form and emailed to the compiler, Dave Erikson (derikson@alaska.net) the next day or soon after.
  • Team Leads will use our standard form or a note in eBird to record time birding, miles and times by methods of travel (vehicle and walking).

Regular count protocols include:

  • Start and finish times will be the same as previous years, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Owling can occur during the hours of darkness on count day).
  • Record all bird species and numbers seen or heard in your count area during Count Day.
  • Record all bird species seen or heard within the count circle three days before and three days after the count day (Count Week).
  • Feeder watchers will record species, maximum numbers, and observation time in the same manner as previous years and submit results to the compiler.
  • CBC Rare Bird Forms will be completed for all bird species that are not on the Homer CBC Checklist.

We have been very fortunate in Homer to have many dedicated birders who have repeatedly volunteered their time and resources to make the Homer CBC a success over the past 45+ years and I’m confident, with everyone’s help, we can get a good count again this year.

Thank you for your continuing support,

Dave Erikson, Homer CBC Compiler (907 441-7260)

 

 

 

2019 Christmas Bird Count Results

HOMER CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT: December 14, 2019

HOMER CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

The 120th Audubon Christmas Bird Count was held Saturday, December 14, 2019. Thirty-two local bird counters were in the field with an additional seven “feeder watchers”, who kept track of birds visiting their bird feeders, were able to tally 13,780 birds of 80 species, a record number of species for the Homer count and beating last year’s record by nine species. Six additional species were also documented during count week (three days before and after the actual count day). Numbers of feeder watchers were up from previous years and helped achieve the high numbers. A list of counts for each species can be seen at the end of this post.

Three species were new to the Homer count and included the Sooty Shearwater, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, and Orange-crowned Warbler. The exceptionally warm fall is likely the key factor in delaying the migration of these species to more southern latitudes.

The most abundant bird species this year were the Pine Siskin (4,077), Mallard (1,937), and Rock Sandpipers (1,420). A good spruce cone crop this year is supporting large number of finches such as the Pine Siskin, White-winged Crossbill, and Pine Grosbeak, in comparison to recent years. Although large flock of American Robins has been common throughout Homer this fall, only 57 were tallied on this year’s count. It’s often easy to miss large flocks when trying to cover such a large area.

High Mallard numbers reflect the lack of ice in Beluga Slough, Beluga Lake and Mud Bay. These ducks typically winter on the south side of Kachemak Bay when the ice blocks access to feeding habits along the north shore. Rock Sandpipers, a winter resident of Kachemak Bay, were found in generally similar numbers as in previous years.

Over the last several years, there has been a downward trend in numbers of four species of seaducks in the nearshore waters of the count area. These seaducks include the Common Eider, Steller’s Eider, White-winged Scoter, and Surf Scoter. Primary factors in this negative trend are unknown.

A big thanks to all the participants out counting or watching feeders, and to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center staff for the use of their facilities and helping with logistics for our count. And a special thanks to Dave Erikson who coordinated the count and compiled the results. It was A Great Day to Bird!

View or download the final 2019 Homer CBC list below:

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2019 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Summary

Preliminary Shorebird Festival Summary and some great stories!!

Sunday morning during the Festival event at the lower platform at the end of the FAA Rd, a lynx crossed above the end of Beluga Lake heading toward the platform at the end of the Calvin and Coyle trail! A wonderful opportunity for folks to see a lynx–no one remembers ever seeing a lynx there before in spite of many wildlife viewers in that area over the years. (I am going to attach the video I was sent. I believe this was taken by Lisle Gwynn. I also do not have permission to send it so am on shaky ground there also. It is such a fantastic glimpse of wildlife right here in Homer! If someone else took it, please let me know and I will send out a correction.)

On previous days in that same area, a nesting TRUMPETER SWAN was seen chasing off groups of geese that rest in that area. On four occasions it was reported that the swan would chase the group of geese up into the air and then target one goose to follow. One version of a chase on Saturday said the swan was maybe five feet behind the goose for several circles above the lake, getting closer and closer (the swan with his mouth open at times), seemingly snapping at the tailfeathers of the goose, he said! Usually the chase then went out of sight, the swan returning a while later… and the goose? Some other birder might have seen what happened there or we’ll never know.

It seems interesting that there is a pair of nesting SONG SPARROWS on the top of Gull Island. Never been reported before. (Spit real estate at a premium, perhaps?)

There were 124 species seen during the four days of the Festival. There are still some reports trickling in, so this number may go up. Last minute additions: HORNED LARKS near the Harbor and POMARINE JAEGER and SOOTY SHERWATER at the Anchor River. Overall, there was only one warbler (YELLOW-RUMPED) seen and one owl (GREAT HORNED); no flycatchers, no eiders. A highlight for many was seeing several CASPIAN TERNS on Saturday in the Mud Bay/Lighthouse Village Platform area.

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2018 Christmas Bird Count Results

HOMER CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT: December 15, 2018


With the big dump of snow overnight, many of us began the day getting ourselves out of our driveways and into town to begin the CBC. Many of us were not confident that we would find very many birds for this year. Boy, were we wrong! We found 69 species, which is the most since I started keeping track in 2003. (Dave was going to check back further.) We have yet to hear from feeder watchers who may have picked up another species so we might possibly even break 70!

Thank goodness it didn’t snow during the day so the visibility was good, though with low clouds the day was short. We all had snow to walk through but the group that counted above town had way more. Not too cold and no wind for most of the areas.

Some really great birds (plus one unwelcome one):
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW had never been seen on a Christmas Bird Count before here! Seen out East End Rd a ways. Was actually seen on a previous year, but accidentally left off our list.)
ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS–four of them!! Were at Seaside Farms
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD–seen (I think) near the Gear shed (out E. End Rd.)
RED-THROATED LOON–seen from Munson Pt (south of Bishop’s Beach)
STELLERS EIDERS (2)–seen from Munson Pt (south of Bishop’s Beach); COMMMON EIDERS seen from the Spit
SHORT-EARED OWL–seen out on the spit
(alas) EUROPEAN STARLINGS–seen at Seaside Farms in with some robins
BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS–120 seen in the Diamond Ridge/West Hill area (First ones seen this year!)
AMERICAN ROBINS–a large flock of 100 in the area near Beluga Slough with one VARIED THRUSH in the group (So cheerful to keep encountering the robins and pretty in the snowy trees!)

A huge thank you to Dave Erikson who coordinated the CBC here for the 42nd consecutive year. And of course to IOVC to allowing us to use their beautiful facilities as a home base and for our potluck.

Don’t forget that if you see an unusual species in our Count Area in the next three days (Dec. 16th-18th) please call Dave Erikson (907-441-7931) or Lani (399-9477).
When Count Week is over and Dave has everything added up, send he will compile a report about numbers, trends, comparisons, etc.

It was a Great Day to Bird and equally, it was a great day to be a birder!!

View or download the final 2018 Homer CBC list below:

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