May 13 – Anchor Point – More Great Birds

The sunrise was beautiful today and it was evident that it would be pleasant birding weather. I checked out Beluga Slough early on and found that there was still a godwit there, silhouetted against the sunrise. Nothing I could do with the photo let me see any color on it.

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I signed up for a formal field trip this morning, the 3-hour “Birding Hotspots” trip led by Aaron Lang and Ben Lizdas, part of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer. When I learned that they had decided to have the small field trip bus go to Anchor Point, just north of Homer, I was delighted. I had not yet been there this spring and I know it has great potential anytime.

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We arrived at Anchor Point a little before 8 am. As is the case in much of Alaska, Bald Eagles were all around. This one was tamer than most, sitting right next to the parking lot and ignoring our large group.

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It was a beautiful day and all the volcanoes were visible across the water to the west. The group of about 20 first scanned the water. Notable were the about 130 (!) Pacific Loons all together out on the water. Also notable was the RHINOCEROS AUKLET that I discovered on one of my scans, a distant photo of which is below. I expect to see more later in the year, but in the past I’ve usually seen them zooming by. It was nice to actually spend time to look at it.

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The dark PARASITIC JAEGER that was harassing a tern and then an eagle did not sit down for us to observe. I will see them again too, especially in Barrow where they are common.

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We walked along the little creek and saw numerous American Pipits and Lapland Longspurs, peeps (Least and Western), my second Pacific Golden-Plover of the year, a few Violet-green Swallows, and a small flock of PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. Again, this is a species that nests in great numbers in Barrow.

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My fourth new bird of the day was ALEUTIAN TERN. Aaron had seen one earlier, but then when I was scanning the water with my scope I was glad to see one and to be able to follow it for a while, even though it was too far out for binoculars or camera.

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One other noteworthy thing about the trip – the participants included Sharon Stiteler (otherwise known as “Birdchick”), one of the featured speakers at the festival, whom I had not met before.

After the field trip I wandered around Homer Spit and checked out various locations. The Sandhill Crane was still standing guard at the Lighthouse overlook. IMG_9292 (2)A.jpg

It looked like more shorebirds were around than I saw yesterday so I hoped that the next high tide about 9:30 pm would bring something interesting into view; however, the number of peeps and Semipalmated Plovers was lower than yesterday this evening and I did not stay around as long as I did yesterday.

Tomorrow I am signed up for another hotspots field trip in the Homer area, and after that, unless some wonderful bird is found that I need to see, I will head back to Anchorage to get ready for my trip to Adak starting Sunday.

178 species so far

 

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