The Anchorage Audubon Society chapter is a volunteer, non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of southcentral Alaska ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Our dedicated volunteers provide field trips, natural history presentation, newsletters, the bird hotline, education programs for adults and children and support for conservation issues. Natural history presentations are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month from September through May. Our birding and natural history focused field trips are open to the public and are led by local bird experts. We welcome all levels of birders and non-birders on our field trips.
Thursday, May 28
Early Morning Bird Walk
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center
6:30 am--8:30 am
Thursday mornings in May (except May 1) Early Morning Bird Walks
happen from 6:30am until 8:30am. The walks are hosted by Aaron Bowman,
Audubon Board Members, and the staff of the Campbell Creek Science
Center. There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, and expected
species include Varied Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper,
and possibly other thrushes.
Meet at the Campbell Creek Science Center parking lot at 6:20am.
Bring binoculars and clothing suitable for a nippy early morning walk on
Thursday, May 28 6:00 pm
Monthly Meeting Potluck and Bird Walk
Westchester Lagoon Boat Launch Parking Lot
Because Spring Birding is at it’s peak, Anchorage Audubon has
decided to CANCEL our regular third-Thursday monthly program at the BP
Energy Center and have a party instead.
It’s a potluck, a chance
to tell birding lies, and a chance to casually stroll around the
Westchester Lagoon area with other birders looking for new arrivals.
PLEASE NOTE that we've pushed the date back one week because the weather
is totally guaranteed to be warmer.
Bring a dish to share, tales to
tell, binoculars, and gear appropriate for the day’s weather. We’ll
bring plates, utensils, and Audubon Society approved napkins for sloppy
The Bird Walk will be our annual Birder's Pro-Am Tournament.
Experienced birders will pair off with beginners, and launch into a
30-minute mad dash to see who can find the most species in the area
immediately surrounding the Potluck site. .
Saturday, May 30
The Potter Marsh-a-Thon Birding Smackdown
Potter Marsh, 8:00am--Noon
Once again it's Anchorage’s greatest Birding Smackdown. How many
bird species can your team find within Potter Marsh between 8:00 am and
Noon? How much food can you bring to the Potluck Picnic immediately
following the contest period at Noon? Whose team has the best name?
Fabulous Prizes will be awarded for most species seen. Teams may
consist of 2-6 people. The team must remain within voice or sight
contact and must fit into one vehicle. Species may only be counted if
they are seen/heard by the entire team (Exceptions: 6-person teams may
count birds seen by 5 members, and 5-person teams may count birds seen
by 4 members.)
Check-In is at 7:30 am in the parking lot at the
north end of the marsh. Teams will be given a check list and a Potter
Marsh map on which to log the location of each species seen. At the end
of the contest, species locations will be plotted on a gigantic master
map to allow all participants to re-locate desired species. Entry fee
is $20.00 per team. Exact Change is required. The Official Smackdown
ends precisely at Noon. Teams will be penalized one species per minute
Birds may be counted Only if seen from designated roads and
trails in the Potter Marsh area. No stopping or walking will be allowed
on the West side of the New Seward Highway. Birds seen in
non-designated areas may be counted if the observers are standing within
a designated area.
SPECIAL SAFETY RULES: No stopping is allowed
on the New Seward Highway except in designated turn-outs on the East
side of the highway, and pulling into the designated turn-outs is only
allowed for vehicles traveling NORTH. Parking in a manner that blocks
other teams from using a pull-out will result in a penalty of 15
Everybody is welcome, so assemble your team, whip up a
dish to share, and meet us Saturday Morning at 7:30 for a hilarious
birding field trip with Fabulous Prizes! Birding will be limited to the
Potter Marsh area, and who knows what rarities will show up when there
are birders combing every inch of an area that usually just gets the
Will Audubon Alaska get their clock cleaned by
Anchorage Audubon? Can members of the Mat-Su Birders hang with the guys
from the big city? If you don’t have a team, show up anyway and we’ll
try to assemble teams on the spot. It’s the anti-social event of the
If another team won’t tell you where they
just saw a Pectoral Sandpiper, you are totally allowed to use “enhanced
interrogation techniques.” This is not your Mother’s Birding Contest.
We hope to see you May 30 at the Potter Marsh North Parking Lot.
RARE BIRD REPORT IN THE ANCHORAGE AREA
In the past year, we have seen a large number of birds that are very unusual in the Anchorage area. The appearance of each of these is, of course, entirely due to efforts of The Anchorage Audubon Society. Here is a list of those birds, a few details on their discovery, and the relative rarity of the species in Anchorage. We have limited this list to areas easily accessible by road from Anchorage, and have listed these rarities in chronological order.
Location: Lowell Point Beach, Seward, Alaska
FirstSeen: November 16, 2011
LastSeen: November 26, 2011
Discoveredby: Jim Herbert first spotted thebird. Carol Griswold sent a phototo Buzz Scher who positively identified it. Thanks to Carol, Jim, and Peregrine Joe for hosting out oftown and out of state seekers.
RelativeRarity: First Alaskan Record. 5th United States Record.
Redwing Photo by Carol Griswold
Location: Turnagain Subdivision, Anchorage,Alaska
FirstSeen: December10, 2011
Discoveredby: Thede Tobish.
RelativeRarity: Most reports from WesternAleutians. Outside of Alaska therehave been 4 North America sightings. This was the first in our part of Alaska. --ABA
Location: The Butte Area, Palmer, Alaska
FirstSeen: January 12, 2012
LastSeen: March 25 withundocumented possible sightings as late as Mid-May.
Discoveredby: Bob and Charlie Sartor
RelativeRarity: There are anumber of records of Evening
Grosbeak (at least 20) from Southeast Alaska, and there isone prior record from Anchorage.
THE IVORY GULL
Location: Marsh Below Clitheroe Center,Anchorage, Alaska
FirstSeen: May 7, 2012
LastSeen: May 7, 2012
Discoveredby: Luke DeCicco
RelativeRarity: Casual inSouthcoastal Alaska . Third localrecord.. Last seen inAnchorage in late May, 2006.
Location: Mouth of the Anchor River, AnchorPoint, Alaska
FirstSeen: May 11 , 2012
LastSeen: approx. May 27
Discoveredby: Brad Meiklejohn
RelativeRarity: Casual at Homer andKodiak, Accidental in Seward. Only a few records on north gulf coast.Most records from Middleton Island
Location: Twenty Mile River Marsh, Portage,Alaska
FirstSeen: May 28
LastSeen: May 31
Discoveredby: John Pearce and Elizabeth Manning. Word spread by Thede Tobish.
RelativeRarity: This Great Egret .... is about the 20th occurrence of the species inAlaska and the first for the Anchorage area. Aside from one record for Cordova,another for Kodiak and two for Barrow, most of Alaska’s records are splitevenly between Southeast Alaska and the western and central Aleutians, wherethe Asian breeding race modesta is involved. –Aaron Lang
photo courtesy Bob Winckler
THE FRANKLIN’S GULL
Location: Mouth of Chester/Fish Creeks,Anchorage, Alaska
FirstSeen: June 7, 2012
LastSeen: Approx. June 10
Discoveredby: David Sonneborn
RelativeRarity: Casual in SouthcoastalAlaska. Anchorage sightings inAugust, 2005 and September 2009. Extremely rare in spring, summer, and fall. Maybe 1 per year
Location: Westchester Lagoon Outlet Bridge Marsh,Anchorage, Alaska
FirstSeen: Monday, June 11 by GavinBeiber. Re-located Wednesday, June13 by Pat Pourchot.
LastSeen: Approx.June 14.
RelativeRarity: Western Kingbirds have been seen in Southeast Alaska in Juneau and inthe Hyder area, as well as along the Denali Highway. They are extremely unusual with less-than-annual sightings. A Western Kingbird was seen inSeward for about 4 days in 2008.
Photo Courtesy Bob Winckler
Location: Lions' Park near Lake Hood, Anchorage,Alaska
FirstSeen: June 16, 1012
LastSeen: Approximately1 week later
Discoveredby: Thede Tobish
RelativeRarity: 2nd Anchorage Record. Previous sighting in 1962. Other records from Southeast Alaska,Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Kenny Lake. One record from Gambell & Middleton Island.
Location: Kenai Boat Launch Viewing Platform,Kenai, Alaska
FirstSeen: June 22, 2012
LastSeen: Approx June 30
Discoveredby: Toby Burke. Special Thanks to Ken Tarbox forguiding Willet seekers from all over the state.
RelativeRarity: First Accepted AlaskanRecord. Seen once but notdocumented in Minto Flats, 1961.
Location: Loussac Library Pond, Anchorage Alaska
FirstSeen: July 22, 2012
LastSeen: throughout August
Discoveredby: David Sonneborn
RelativeRarity: almost annual inFall in Anchorage area, 1-2 birds most years. Very rare in July
THELESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
Location: Kenai River near Bridge AccessRoad, Kenai,Alaska
FirstSeen: July 28, 2012
LastSeen: July 28, 2012. Anotherbird was found at the Anchor River shortly after.
Discoveredby: Rich MacIntosh
RelativeRarity: Extremely rare, might be the 1stsouth-coastal record. There are 2records from Kodiak (1985, 1991) , and the first breeding pair in North Americawas found in Juneau.
Location: Dimond Estates Mobile Home Park,Anchorage, Alaska
FirstSeen: Sept.10, 2012
LastSeen: Sept11, 2012
Discoveredby: DeWayne Brantley and family attheir feeders. Photographed andcaptured on video. Neverre-located by anyone else.
RelativeRarity: Casualto Accidental in SE Alaska (Juneau, Hyder, Petersburg). A few records from Middleton Island,and one sighting from Kodiak in 2001.
THE PALM WARBLER
Location: 4700Elmore Road, Anchorage, Alaska
FirstSeen: Oct18, 2012
Discoveredby: Thede Tobish. On Wednesday, October 17, Thedeposted on AK Birding: “I've started checking chickadeeflocks for late migrants.” 21Hours later, he found a Palm Warbler.
RelativeRarity: Thedesays Palm Warblers are “a common rarity” in Alaska. “1 or 2 are found every year all over the state.” This, however, is only the 2ndrecord in our part of the state. The first was 2 years ago when Luke DiCicco discovered a deceased PalmWarbler on the sidewalk of the Girdwood gas station.
THE SKY LARK
Location: Deep Creek Boat Launch, near Ninilchik,Alaska
FirstSeen: Oct. 18, 2012
Discoveredby: Steve Waltz. Steve drove south to bird Homer, but since the tide was wrong, he decided to bird the beach access points along the way. He explained, "This time I got lucky."
RelativeRarity: Rare to casual migrant in the Western Aleutians, Prbilofs, and Gambell.--George West. We've not found any records for Mainland Alaska..
Location: Lowell Point, Seward, Alaska
Discoveredby: Luke Dicicco and Scott Schuette
Birding maps are now available for Anchorage area!
The full-color map is 2’x 3’ when unfolded but folds down to a handy 6” x 9” pocket size. Authored and published by Audubon Alaska, in cooperation with Anchorage Audubon (primary author: Eric Myers). Features detailed road map, site descriptions, and driving directions for 34 birding spots on public lands. Includes updated checklist with seasonal abundance of likely birds. To purchase for $10 (or $11 by mail), contact Audubon Alaska: 907-276-7034 or Gretchen Hazen (online and local outlets coming soon). Maps will also be available for sale at Anchorage Audubon field trips and monthly meetings.