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Welcome to the Anchorage Audubon Society

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.

 
 
  MAY 2015:

 
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 dirt trails. 

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 eaters.
    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 late. 
    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 species.  
    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 once-over.  

    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 ornithological season.  
    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.  

THEREDWING
            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. 
redwing1.jpg
Redwing Photo by Carol Griswold

  

THEDUSKY THRUSH
            Location:  Turnagain Subdivision, Anchorage,Alaska
            FirstSeen:           December10, 2011
            LastSeen:            March17
            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
 
THEEVENING GROSBEAK
            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.

BRISTLE THIGHEDCURLEWS
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
 
THEGREAT EGRET
great_egret1-b.winckler-5-29-12-20lr_mi._riv._anchorage_akcrop.jpg
            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

THEWESTERN KINGBIRD
3-weki-b.winckler_06-14-12_lr.jpg
 
 
            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
 
 
 

THELEAST FLYCATCHER
            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.

THEWILLET
            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.
 
THECALIFORNIA GULL
            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.
 
 THE BLACK-HEADEDGROSBEAK
            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

            LastSeen:            continuing

            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
            LastSeen:  Continuing.
            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..
 
THE BRAMBLINGS
            Location:  Lowell Point, Seward, Alaska
            FirstSeen:  
            LastSeen:  Continuing.
            Discoveredby:  Luke Dicicco and Scott Schuette
            RelativeRarity:     
 

 


 

 

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.