Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Alaska Trip- Day 1

This past weekend I visited Alaska, specifically Anchorage and Homer with a few stops between. I got to Anchorage on Thursday night (5/9) and enjoyed pizza and beer with a couple friends from Moose's Tooth, my favorite beer and pizza pub.

On Friday, I birded Westchester Lagoon and a couple other coastal areas around Anchorage while waiting for Scott Schuette to get out of work. It wasn't hard to pick up year birds. Black-billed Magpies are common right in town.

Black-billed Magpie
Westchester only had a little open water, but that concentrated the waterfowl. Three Barrow's Goldeneye were present in the available water.

Barrow's Goldeneye
Another bird seen along the path was this Northwestern Crow, a very rare bird for Anchorage. They are common to the south. This is the only crow present in Alaska. This individual has been hanging around Anchorage for a while now.

Northwestern Crow
Mew Gulls are the most common gull in Anchorage and were setting up territories at Westchester. The harsh lighting made photography difficult.

Mew Gull
Following the path along the coast provided a few more photo opportunities. The tide was really far out and so were the birds. This Red-throated Loon was along the edge of the mud flats. I'm surprised the picture turned out at all! Not that it is a wall hanger, but it will do for now.

Red-throated Loon
On the mudflats were scattered Hudsonian Godwits. They were also quite distant, but close enough for identifiable pictures. Again, not the greatest (a theme that will become common from this trip...).

Hudsonian Godwit
I checked below the Clitheroe Center for ducks, but came up empty.  I did, however, have two very skulky and silent Golden-crowned Sparrows. It took a while to even get them to sit still.

Golden-crowned Sparrow
With Scott now out of work, I met him back at his place to start the drive south to Homer. But not before photographing this Violet-green Swallow flying around his apartment.

Violet-green Swallow
On our way out of town, we stopped briefly at Potter's Marsh so I could photograph an Arctic Tern. They are abundant at the marsh, and very tame.

Arctic Tern
We continued south heading for Homer. While driving through the mountains, a Varied Thrush along the road teased me as I couldn't stop for a picture. Luckily, I knew there would be more. We made a quick stop at the Kenai Flats but found nothing to brag about. We also checked Cannery Road as I've had great luck here in the past. This place proved to be very birdy with Pipits, Longspurs, Ducks, Geese and Shorebirds all taking advantage of the open water.

American Pipit

Cackling Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose

Lapland Longspur

Pectoral Sandpiper
We continued south, and as we were driving, Scott got a call about a Eurasian Hobby at the Anchor River. We were almost there, and had planned on stopping there anyway. We spent a couple hours, along with many others, but came up with no Hobby.

We ended the night in Homer. I was signed up for an all day boat trip into Kachemak Bay on Saturday. Check back soon for pictures from Homer!

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