This morning’s early flight from Juneau was uneventful except for extreme bumpiness as we started our descent. After picking up my car from airport parking, I went birding even though it was nearly dark out. My goal was the Northern Hawk Owl that has been hanging around the Anchorage airport. This is the bird that I was hoping to start my year with until I changed my plans and went to Kodiak instead of starting the year in Anchorage. Although I spent about an hour wandering around and looking for it, I did not see the Hawk Owl, and in fact did not see any birds at all out there.
Having gotten word recently of a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE in south Anchorage, I went down there, and after some time surveying neighborhood spruce trees, finally located the dove hiding on a spruce branch. It is good that there was an Anchorage Eurasian Collared-Dove last year so everyone who really wanted one on their Anchorage list had a chance to do so, since this year’s bird is not accessible to the public unfortunately.
After finally getting the dove on my year list, I drove to a north-eastern part of Anchorage where I had done the Anchorage Christmas Bird Count in December because I knew there were many fruit trees and fruit-eating birds there. While the robins were not longer easily found, there were a couple of good-sized flocks of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS still around, and a single DOWNY WOODPECKER. When I got home later, I had another Downy Woodpecker at my suet feeder.
I made one more unsuccessful foray for the Northern Hawk Owl, but did add BOREAL CHICKADEE on my way there.
I watched my feeders a while until it got dark. In addition to the Downy Woodpecker, there were six Pine Grosbeaks and three Common Redpolls filling up before bedtime.
So, four more new year-bird species today. I’m hoping to do some more bird-hunting in the wider Anchorage area in the next couple of days.
85 species so far
Way to Go Lynn,
Another 15 species before 1 February and you are well on your way. You have some great birds (for Alaska ) in Hoonah, Juneau and Ketchikan and now you’re pulling them out of the bushes in Anchorage. I should have some goodies up here in Fairbanks; Spruce, Ruffed and Sharp-tailed Grouse and Boreal Owl for your future Interior Alaska visit!
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The Hawk Owl was there yesterday
I’m really excited to follow your blog throughout the year, Lynn! By the way, what is the current Alaskan Big Year record?
I don’t know the official Alaska Big Year record. From what I’ve been told it is in the range of 270-275, but I may be wrong on that. Maybe someone else will eventually chime in on that and let us know.