December 16 – Anchorage Christmas Bird Count

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).

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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).

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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.




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