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Homer Trip

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  • Chris Maack
    Thanks to Betty Friest for organizing an outing to Homer last weekend. She and I, Cecily Fritz, Charlie Sartor, White Keys and Judith had one gorgeous day to
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2006
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      Thanks to Betty Friest for organizing an outing to Homer last weekend.
      She and I, Cecily Fritz, Charlie Sartor, White Keys and Judith had one
      gorgeous day to enjoy the fall colors and two more drizzly days to
      continue birding. High points of the trip (besides the great food
      people brought) were the hunting falcons: a male merlin hunting from a
      spruce tree behind the Beluga Lake Lodge caught a small bird but was
      accosted by Steller's Jays and did not get to enjoy much of it.

      A juvenile peregrine was seen later on the bay side of the Spit,
      perched on a rock. Suddenly he (or she) took off over the bay and after
      a couple of hundred yards went into a glide less than two feet off the
      water (??!!). Suddenly he flung himself up about 20' into the sky and
      dived back at something near the water - a small shorebird we could
      hardly see with binoculars. Their chase proceeded towards land, the
      falcon ringing up and diving at least 4 more times until we lost sight
      of them near a rusted hulk that juts out into the water. When both were
      visible, the shorebird was fast but the peregrine was closing. We
      thought it had all come to nothing until shortly after that when we saw
      the peregrine fluttering near the rusted hulk and trying to get
      something in the shallows, eventually succeeding. It was probably the
      shorebird, disabled by a previous blow. Again, the raptor did not get
      to enjoy his meal due to a pesky raven. They flew up from behind a shed
      and exchanged near-hits until they disappeared into the low clouds.

      The trip wrapped up with some challenging shorebirds from the
      lighthouse deck - two small ones that could have been dunlin but didn't
      quite fit the markings and one yellow-legged bird shaped like a
      yellow-legs but feeding like a dowitcher. Possible stilt sandpiper? I'm
      hoping Carmen Field can track it down.

      The all-inclusive list: Red-necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, Double-crested
      Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Trumpeter Swan, American Wigeon,
      Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler,
      Greater Scaup, Harlequin Duck, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, White-winged
      Scoter, Barrow's Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Great Blue
      Heron, Bald Eagle, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Ring-necked Pheasant
      (ferals), Greater Yellowlegs, Wandering Tattler, Dowitcher sp., Dunlin
      (?), Stilt Sandpiper (unconfirmed), Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull,
      Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Murre (several father/child pairs seen),
      Marbled Murrelet, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Rock Pigeon, Downy
      Woodpecker (heard), Hairy Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, Gray Jay,
      Black-billed Magpie, Northwestern Crow, Common Raven, Northern Shrike,
      Varied Thrush, American Robin, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper,
      Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet,
      Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll
      (heard), Pine Grosbeak (heard), White-winged Crossbill, Song Sparrow.

      Happy birding,

      Chris Maack
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