Today I birded an area for the CBC that I did last alone year (near Chester Creek), but this year I birded in the morning with a visitor from the Cincinnati area, Rick Dunning. It was a very pleasant day, about or above freezing and no noticeable wind, with the only problem being very icy trails. We walked along the south side of a portion of Chester Creek, plus birded some nearby neighborhoods.
We began the day with the usual Mallards, at first the only duck species of the day.
Highlights for me included a flock of 7 Golden-crowned Kinglets (not on the checklist for the count but seen by many people today) first heard by Rick. It was still quite dark then, but I was able to see the top of the head of a couple of them, which does not show in my partial, crummy photos of their tummies or of them flying.
Another highlight was three American Dippers (1 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon). I took a number of videos, even though the dippers kept diving and disappearing up or downstream (so some of the videos end with a habitat-view and no birds).
We were glad to add a Northern Shrike about 11 a.m.
In the afternoon I went back to the creek trail and found a Common Merganser and a couple of Pine Grosbeaks.
Also seen/heard but not photographed were Rock Pigeons, a Downy Woodpecker, Common Ravens, Steller’s Jays, Black-billed Magpies, Black-capped and Boreal Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, European Starlings, and Common Redpolls.
I added Bohemian Waxwings to my personal day-list in the afternoon but this species is only countable for the Anchorage CBC in the morning (which is also the case for Common Ravens, Rock Pigeons and Mallards).
At the countdown dinner, attended by over 65 people, I learned that others in other parts of the count circle had also seen about 15 other species including Sharp-tailed Grouse (apparent first record for Anchorage), a number of duck species, Three-toed Woodpecker, and Townsend’s Solitaire. A total of about 50 species (quite high) and 10,600 birds (very low) were seen in the 15-mile diameter count circle today.