Kachemak Bay Bird Alert Information Reports for 2003
A very intriguing bird was seen in town on Novermber 5th . This was a Red-breasted Sapsucker which is listed as a “visitor” to our area. It was seen close to the Firehall on Pioneer Street. Then on Nov. 8th it was seen in the high school parking lot on an ash tree. Also in town a Hairy Woodpecker was seen in the Hornaday Park area this week.
Out on the spit, Bonaparte’s Gulls were seen at Land’s End, Rock Sandpipers were seen west of the spit, and there was a third-hand report of a possible Northern Saw-whet Owl seen in the rigging of a boat in the harbor.
In Beluga Lake near the bypass, two Canvasbacks were seen on the 8th.
In the Fritz Creek area Boreal and Black-capped Chickadees, nuthatches, a Downy woodpeckers, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Brown Creeper, and Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Northern Hawk Owl have been seen.
October 16, 2003
THE hot spot for birding right now is Beluga Lake near the Airport Observation Platform. The following were seen this afternoon:
An immature Brant (this was previously reported at Mud Bay on the 12th)
Gadwalls (“90% confidence in this observation”)
Canvasback (three pairs observed)
Eurasian Wigeon and American Wigeon
2 American Coot
Buffleheads, Scaup, and hundreds of Mallards!
earlier report of Dowitcher there also
At the Lighthouse Observation Platform there are many many Green-winged Teal, mallards, and wigeons.
There are reports of Fork-tailed Storm Petrels at Land’s End, far out over the water visible with a scope.
A Winter Wren was seen at Diamond Gulch on the 11th and many Harlequins and singing Scoters were seen between there and Bishop’s Beach.
A Creeper was recently seen in the Fritz Creek area.
September 29, 2003
Near the road by Beluga Lake 7 swans were seen. This report said that some were juveniles, so this may be the same group that has been reported at the other end of the lake through the summer.
The American Coot, reported last time at the Airport Observation Platform , was seen several more times. There are only two or three other reports from past years of coot sightings here, always in the late-Sept to early Oct time frame. (A coot looks like a very dark smallish duck with white undertail feathers and with a white bill. The white bill is quite strikingeasily noticeable across the lake. The bill is shaped more like a chicken bill, however.) We are hoping there will be other reports of this bird.
On the 21st a flock of Bohemian Waxwings was seen at the west end of Diamond Ridge Road.
Out in the Bay, 30 Ancient Murrelets were seen between the end of the Spit and 60 Foot Rock. Several more were seen near Glacier Spit. Never before, it is reported, have there been so many Ancient Murrelets here. Usually there are hardly any. Also seen in the Bay were Marbled and Kittlitz’s Murrelets, and some newly fledged Tufted Puffins and one fledged Horned Puffin. On Gull Island there were Peregrine Falcons and many Eagles, Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants.
The Light House Observation area continues to have hundreds of Green-winged Teal, many Northern Shovelers, Greater Yellowlegs, Mallards, and (?) a colorful caged parrot!
In Mud Bay to the east were shovelers and wigeons. To the west of the spit, many grebes and scoters were seen.
In the Miller’s Landing area the following have been seen: Sharp-shinned Hawks, many robins, mallards, Song Sparrows, and many, MANY chickadees! (Two reports said they have never seen so many chickadees in this area.) Seen today also were a Northern Shrike and a Red-breasted Nuthatch, the first nuthatch we’ve ever seen in our yard.
September 19, 2003
In the Kachemak Drive area on the 11th a Great Blue Heron was seen flying over. Never before have they been seen right there. Large groups of swans and geese (not Canadian) were heard flying over and many large groups of robins have been seen flying also.
In the Millers Landing area a very odd whitish bird was seen trying to join a group of young pheasants. It looked like a ptarmigan, but no ptarmigan have been in the area for many years. A picture was taken and when developed, will show what it really was…
In an attempt to notice when the last cranes leave, it was reported that no cranes have been seen since the middle of the week, about the 17th or so in this area.
At the airport observation platform a swan with 5 cygnettes were seen and a pair of Northern Harriers was flying around.
At the Lighthouse observation platform there have been Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and some Yellowlegs.
At other vantage points on the spit, cormorants, Common Murres, murrelets, loons, Red-necked Grebes, and Scoters have been seen regularly.
And between Eldred and Neptune Bay some Wandering Tattlers have been seen.
July 19, 2003
Right now many birds are busy tending their families and eluding predators. Shrikes have been seen at the Tern Colony, on the shore of the bay and on Kachemak Drive near swallow nests and other vulnerable young.
On July11th there was a report of an Ancient Murrelet at the west end of Gull Island. And, more recently, a report of Three-toed woodpeckers that had fledged across the bay.
On July 17th, there was a report of 27 Whimbrels and over 20 Black Turnstones between Mariner Park and Bishop’s Beach in a rocky stretch. And in the harbor breakwater area, also Black Turnstones, some Surfbirds and Western Sandpipers were seen. Pacific Loons were seen at the end of the spit and some juvenile Pigeon Guillemots as well. Some Black Scoters have been seen but most scoters are Surf or White-winged Scoters.
There are over 60 swallow nests at the Subway building.
An eclipsed male Pintail with some females were also seen in the Greentimbers area.
In my yard I have been seeing a large family of 11 pheasants, countless Robins, innumerable Redpolls, and many Pine Siskin, Yellow-crowned, Fox and Savannah Sparrows. And we are happy to have twice-daily visit in the neighborhood of a half dozen or so cranes.
I have heard no recent news about the Ruff that had been seen in Kenai.
This week there is an excellent article by Mossi Kilcher in the Homer News. It is very interesting and gives many important suggestions about how to help songbirds in our area.
Also, we are compiling a list of birds seen since May 1, and would like to hear from people who have seen or heard owls, woodpeckers and/or ptarmigan during this time. We would also like to hear if anyone has seen a hummingbird? We always appreciate your input.
July 3, 2003
The end of June-beginning of July is a time to see many birds and juveniles.
Out on the Bay the following have been seen: Common Loon, Sooty Shearwater, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Palagic Cormorant, White-winged Scoter, Harlequin Duck. In forest areas across the Bay are Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Varied Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Red Crossbill, American Pipit, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, Three-toed Woodpecker and many more!
In town the following have been seen: a Whimbrel in Mud Bay about half a mile from the base of the spit, Alder and Olive-sided Flycatchers, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. At Fritz Creek Ruby-crowned Kinglets, fledged Juncos and Golden-crowned Sparrows were seen and a Townsend’s Warbler was heard. Two Great Horned Owls were seen at the Post Office (!) a couple weeks ago.
Up on the hill above town there are families of Spruce Grouse and out East End Road there are large (10+ chicks) family groups of Pheasants. A Northern Shrike and Belted Kingfishers were also seen in the hills above town.
A ways up north, there has also been a report from Kenai of a Ruff which was seen for several days in a marshy area there.
Also, we are compiling a list of birds seen since May 1, and would like to hear from people who have seen or heard owls, woodpeckers and/or ptarmigan during this time. We would appreciate your input.
On June 1st a King Eider was seen off the Glacier Boardwalk on the spit. And 7 Brants were seen east on Kachemak Bay.
On June 15 and 18th Yellow Billed Loons were seen in Mud Bay.
Both Alder Flycatchers and Olive-sided Flycatchers have been seen and heard around town in the last two weeks especially in the Kachemak Drive and Miller’s Landing area.
There are on-going reports of nesting Grebes and swans in Beluga Lake, and a report of a Three-toed Woodpecker on East End Road (not clear on the recording just where this was.)
At Glacier Spit on the 15th there were 100’s of Harlequin Ducks, many Marbled Murrlets and some Kittlitze’s Murrlets, and a Pacific Loon, AND a Yellow-billed Loon was seen there on the 18th. A Steller’s Eider was seen there much earlier, before June 5. (It was with a large group of Harlequin Ducks where the river empties into the Bay.)
At Neptune Bay on the 14th there were nesting Three-toed Woodpeckers and Belted Kingfisher. And Brant were seen at the mouth of the Wosnesenski River.
May the 27th
Happy Memorial Day! We have some exciting birds to report today. Pipits have been spotted in several locations around town. Gold Crowned Sparrows and White Crowned Sparrows are now in the area. The Hermit Thrush has been spotted around town, as have Black Oyster Catchers, Harlequin Ducks and Red throated Loons. Has anyone seen or heard a Fly Catcher?
May 9, 2003
Lighthouse Village: Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, least and Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Greater Yellow Legs, Semipalmated and Blackbellied Plover, Shortbilled Dowitcher, Sand Hill Crane, American Wigeon, Nor. Shoveler, Nor. Pintail, Greenwinged Teal, Mallard
Karen Hornaday Park: Golden- crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Yellow-rumped and Orange Crowned Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-winged Crossbill
May 8, 2003
Lighthouse Village: American and Pacific Golden Plovers, Semipalmated
May 3, 2003
There are many birds to report!
A King Eider was seen several times in with Common Eiders off the Glacier Boardwalk out on the spit. At the base of the spit Black-bellied Plovers, Dowitchers, and Dunlin, and Western Sandpipers have been seen. Rosy finch and Lapland Longspur were also seen here and there on the spit.
On April 27th a flock of 60 Brandt were seen flying along the edge of Kachemak Bay. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were seen on the 29th and Merlin was seen on the 30th on Ocean Drive.
Out at the mouth of the Anchor River and Anchor Point area a Whimbrel was seen on the 28th and a Blue Herron on the 29th.
At McNeil Canyon on the 26th a Harlan’s Hawk was seen; this is a subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk.
And out on the Bay, Red-necked Phalaropes and a Marbled Murrlet were seen on the 30.
Hundreds of Common Murres were seen in rafts near Gull island. Also seen were Surfbirds, Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, and three kinds of Cormorants. On May 1 Tufted Puffins appeared on Gull Island.
April 13, 2003
A pair of Belted Kingfishers was seen on April 8th at Beluga Lake near the Homer News office. In the water the following were seen: Buffleheads, Green-wing Teal, Golden Eyes, Pintails, and Red-breasted Merganzers.
American Widgeons were seen on April 9th at Beluga Slough. And some Greater Yellow-legs were seen in Beluga Slough by the outflow pipe.
On the morning of the 13th a swan was seen flying over Kachemak Drive going west and later that day two swans were seen in the grass far, far to the east of Beluga Lake. They were too far away to identify.
Also on the 13th, Pintails and Green-winged Teal were seen at the Lighthouse. At Land’s End hundreds of Common Murres were seen flying by. Some Black-legged Kittiwakes were in the water.
And in the evening of the 13th an Eurasian Widgeon was reported to have been seen in Beluga Lake.
April 6, 2003
On March 22 a Peregrine Falcon and some Black-legged Kittiwakes were seen at Gull Island.
On the 26th the American Goldfinch was seen again at Seaside Farms.
On the 27th two Green-winged Teal were seen at Beluga Slough.
On the 31st an American Dipper was seen by the Anchor River, ½ mile north of the Black Water coffee shop.
In addition to those reports, we thought it might be useful to folks to know what returning birds to be looking for in mid-April. I have a list of “average earliest arrival dates” which was compiled over the course of 9 years here in Homer. According to this list, we should be looking for Swans, Snow Geese, Canadian Geese, Brants, Widgeons, Canvasbacks, Yellow Legs, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and Sandhill Cranes.
March 23, 2003
On March 16 there were 33 robins in the yard at Seaside Farms.
On the 17th, there were 6 Rusty Blackbirds spotted on the west side of the spit at the east end of the retaining wall. They were up in trees there for at least 30 minutes. (Some were seen in Anchorage recently also.)
A snipe was heard again in the Skyline area on the 18th; it was first heard on March 8. I was told that snipes are usually not here until about April 12-14th.
On the 19th, there was a possible sighting of a Golden Eagle in with some Bald Eagles. Folks were checking this out, but I have not heard anything more. (This was about a mile from Bishop’s Beach to the west.)
On March 21 there were 4 Lapland Longspurs seen about 5 miles out on East End Rd toward the water. Possiblybut only possiblythe American Goldfinch might have been seen there about a week ago. A Northern Shrike has been hanging around also.
On the 23rd, 2 Pintail Ducks were seen in the area between Mariner Park and the Lighthouse. Also seen from the spit were Buffleheads, Golden Eyes, Harlequins, Murres, Cormorants, and, it seemed, Long-tailed Ducks everywhere.
Also on the 23rd from the Kachemak Drive area a mile or so from East End Rd, a report of many birds! A robin on the beach, Song Sparrows, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Siskins, chickadees, White-winged Crossbills, Junco, and possibly the American Goldfinch about two weeks ago.
March 12, 2003
There were not many reports left on the message line this week. Sightings may soon pick up with spring getting closer and after this cold spell is over.
There was a snipe heard on March 8 in the Bridge Creek Watershed. Anyone who might know when snipes usually return could let us know? This probably is very early for these birds to have returned.
The American Goldfinch at Seaside Farms has not been seen for a week. It may still be in the area, however.
March 4, 2003
There are so many exciting birds in our area right now!!!
From late January to the present, American Goldfinch has been seen at Seaside Farms which is out East End Road.
On March 2 there were 3 Smews seen in Halibut Cove at the public dock.
There has been a White-throated Sparrow seen in the Rangeview Drive area in town.
On March 2 a Slaty-backed Gull was seen on the spit at Land’s End.
On March 1 an Orange-crowned Sparrow was seen in the Bidarka Inn area.
A Northern Saw-whet Owl and a Great-horned Owl were seen in the McNeal Canyon area.
Varied Thrush have been seen on Diamond Ridge Road, at McNeal Canyon and at the Winn Nature Center.
And last, out on the spit we continue to see Eiders, Merganzers, Long-tailed Ducks, Golden-eyes, Rosy Finches, and the large group of Rock Sandpipers (on the shore of the bay or on the rocks about 1/4 mile out on the spit on the seaward side in the sun.)
February 12, 2003
First we want to remind folks that the Great Backyard Bird Count will be held February 14-17. This is sponsored by the Audubon Society and Cornell University. It is fun to do and you will contribute valuable data about birds in our area. For more information visit the website: www.birdsource.org/gbbc
We have the following bird sightings:
Jan. 26 a Goshawk was seen at Beluga Lake
Jan. 28 about 20 Snow Buntings were seen at Mariner Park in the Rye grass
Jan. 29 a Sharp shinned Hawk was seen at Fritz Creek
Feb. 1 a Northern Shrike was seen at Mary Lane and another at the Connolly House on E End Rd
And at Fritz Creek at a feeder were a Brown Creeper, Pine Siskin, Red Breasted Nuthatch, and Chickadees
Out on the spit on Feb. 9 the following were seen:
Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequins, about 60 Steller’s Eiders (these were seen from the Glacier Boardwalk), Goldeneyes, Grebes, Scoters, a Common Loon, and many many Mallards, and many many Eagles!
On Feb 11 some White-winged Crossbills were seen on Katchemak Drive about two miles from the airport. There was also a Hawk Owl seen at Fritz Creek.
January 26, 2003
On December 29th, there were Blue Herons reported flying over Little Tutka Bay.
On January 20, a Kachemak Dive resident reported spring-like sightings of many hundreds of ducks out in the bay and over 500 Rock Sandpipers.
The last two weekends out on the spit, the following were seen:
20-30 Gray Crowned Rosy Finches (near the Eagle feeding area)
And scoters, cormorants, grebes, gulls, and of course EAGLES!
On Katchemak Drive by the airport and at the beginning of the spit, several folks reported seeing the European Starlings.
Today in the bay at Miller’s Landing , we’ve saw:
and Shrikes down on the beach
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