A great day of birding! The began with a yummy omelet breakfast at the Kenai home of Ken and Connie Tarbox, who graciously invited me to stay with them last night. We then packed up and joined other Kenai birders for their field trip to Homer. The group was well-led by Cindy Avery. I have included a couple of pictures of her and some of the other participants as well.
On the way to Homer, the cars stopped at Anchor Point State Recreation Area. It was quite breezy and cold, but we were able to see all three scoter species and many of the other wintering birds there, highlights of which for me were Brown Creeper and Harlequin Ducks. I spent a fair amount of time gazing across the water at the spectacular Mount Redoubt.
In Homer we drove to the end of the spit and scanned the water where we saw the normal wintering gulls, including Black-legged Kittiwakes. At various areas along the spit were the usual multitude of Bald Eagles, Common Goldeneyes, Harlequin Ducks, Long-tailed Ducks, both Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Common Murres, the usual Pelagic Cormorants and one Double-crested Cormorant, a Red-necked Grebe, more scoters, and a couple of flocks of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches.
Beluga Slough was teeming with ducks, most of which were Mallards and American Wigeons, but I was delighted to find that a male NORTHERN SHOVELER (I had been told that there was one there on my last trip to Homer but I did not see it then) and a distant male EURASIAN WIGEON were also at the Slough. Everyone was able to see both of these birds and I managed to get a blurry but identifiable picture of the wigeon.
At the Beluga Slough Overlook we saw three Trumpeter Swans, more Mallards and a Northern Shrike.
When we walked the trail behind the Islands and Oceans visitor center down to the slough we came upon a little flock of passerines, which included Black-capped and Boreal Chickadees, about three calling Golden-crowned Kinglets, and at least one scolding RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, which obligingly actually let us see it as it flitted about in the spruce trees.
We did one more scan of the water, looking for but not finding eiders, and then it was time for me to begin the 200-plus mile trip north to Anchorage, while the rest of the participants went off for a pizza dinner. I’m looking forward to being back in Kenai to speak at and go on field trips at their bird festival in May, but I may also go back sooner if those elusive owls show up again.
122 species so far