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report from George in Homer

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  • kennethtarbox
    Kachemak Bay - Glacier Spit, Kenai Peninsula, US-AK Jul 10, 2012 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM Protocol: Traveling 6.0 mile(s) Comments: Cruised Glacier Spit by boat
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 11, 2012
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      Kachemak Bay - Glacier Spit, Kenai Peninsula, US-AK
      Jul 10, 2012 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
      Protocol: Traveling
      6.0 mile(s)
      Comments: Cruised Glacier Spit by boat looking for murrelets. We saw about 100 murrelets that seemed to be mostly Kittlitz's, but no Long-billed which was our hope. Weather conditions were ideal when we started, clear and calm, but changed to cloudy. Also visited Gull Island which is a separate report.

      6 species

      Surf Scoter 6
      Black-legged Kittiwake 100
      Arctic Tern 1
      Pigeon Guillemot 4
      Marbled Murrelet 25
      Kittlitz's Murrelet 75



      Kachemak Bay - Gull Island, Kenai Peninsula, US-AK
      Jul 10, 2012 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
      Protocol: Traveling
      1.0 mile(s)
      Comments: Cruised by Gull island in a boat. Huge numbers of murres both on water and on the island.

      7 species

      Pelagic Cormorant 15
      Black-legged Kittiwake 2000
      Glaucous-winged Gull X
      Common Murre 10000
      Pigeon Guillemot 4
      Tufted Puffin 6
      Northwestern Crow X
    • kennethtarbox
      Yesterday while hiking the Bay Crest Trails near the Homer Bluff, I was enjoying not only the great weather and nice variety of typical songbirds, but also the
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 27, 2012
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        Yesterday while hiking the Bay Crest Trails near the Homer Bluff, I was enjoying not only the great weather and nice variety of typical songbirds, but also the beautiful expanse of wild flowers carpeting the meadows and forest floor. The floral succession is at its peak with early bloomers, like lupine and wild geranium, starting to go to seed, and the late bloomers, like larkspur, just reaching its best. Fireweed, the summer countdown plant, was just starting to have flowers.

        As I hiked along the Awesome segment of the trail I was struck by seeing a beautiful but unwanted plant - the highly invasive orange hawkweed. There in the middle of the trail were three plants just starting to blossom. I dug them up by the roots and delivered them to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Homer for verification and documentation. While I uprooted every plant I saw, I may have missed some. So if you are hiking in this area be on the lookout for this invasive plant.

        In terms of birding, while at first it seemed pretty quiet, when I stopped and spent a little time in some of the brushy areas like the willows that line Diamond Creek, I began to see a lot more birds, The thick brush was alive with warblers, thrushes, and sparrows flittering through the vegetation. Every once in a while, one would sit on the top of a branch and allow identification. There were a lot of "chips" coming from the brush, but my song ID isn't good enough to sort these out.

        Below is the list of birds seen on this hike.


        Homer--Baycrest Trails, Kenai Peninsula, US-AK
        Jul 26, 2012 11:30 AM - 2:50 PM
        Protocol: Traveling
        4.0 mile(s)
        13 species

        Bald Eagle 3
        Common Raven X
        Boreal Chickadee 2
        Hermit Thrush 4
        Varied Thrush 1
        Orange-crowned Warbler 4
        Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
        Wilson's Warbler 2
        Savannah Sparrow 1
        Fox Sparrow 2
        Lincoln's Sparrow 2
        Dark-eyed Junco 2
        White-winged Crossbill 10

        This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/ak)

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • kennethtarbox
        2013 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project Session #7 WOW! On Monday, May 13th the Kachemak Bay Birders had its seventh shorebird monitoring session for
        Message 3 of 14 , May 15, 2013
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          2013 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project

          Session #7



          WOW!



          On Monday, May 13th the Kachemak Bay Birders had its seventh shorebird monitoring session for this season. A total of 20 volunteers made observations for two hours (6:45 pm – 8:45 pm) at four sites on the Homer Spit, nearby Beluga Slough, the Islands and Islets on the south side of Kachemak, Bay, and the Anchor Point/River. Sites on the Spit include Mud Bay, Mariner Park Lagoon, Mid-Spit (Green Timbers and Louie's Lagoon) and the Outer Spit (fishing hole and the boat harbor area).

          This year's spring migration was slow in starting but is making up for lost time. This was a banner monitoring session. Last session (May 8th) we saw 14 shorebird species (less the Willet) and 306 individual birds. This session (May 13th) we saw 20 shorebird species and a total of 10,519 individual birds, give or take a few. What a difference a spring makes - now that it really is here. We saw more shorebirds this session than we did our entire first year of monitoring in 2009 when we reported only 7,406 individual shorebirds (which didn't include the Anchor River site). Are shorebird populations on the rebound?



          To add to this, we have another possible rare bird alert. Our experienced team of Anchor River birders were stumped by a plover which they concluded might be a European Golden-Plover. The University of Alaska Museum Checklist of Alaska Birds for 2013 considers the European Golden-Plover an "Accidental" meaning that there are one or two Alaska records. We are only mentioning that this might be a possibility and birders who visit the Anchor River might be on the lookout in order to provide further documentation, or lack thereof. Michael Craig will be writing up a description of what they saw which will be attached as a comment to our eBird submission. If the observation is not accepted in review, it will be withdrawn.



          The weather during monitoring was stable. Conditions, based on the Homer Airport (http://w1.weather.gov/obhistory/PAHO.html), were as follows. At 6:53 pm skies were overcast with scattered showers in the area and the temperature was 43°. The wind was from the SW at 8 mph and the barometric pressure read 29.45 inches. At 8:53 pm conditions were still cloudy and the temperature remained 43°. The SW wind was at 5 mph and the barometric pressure stayed at 29.45 inches.



          Here is a summary of shorebird observations followed by all other birds.



          Golden and black-bellied plovers seem to have moved on. Some Pacific Golden Plovers were seen in the grass at Mid-Spit (18) and the Anchor River (5). A few Black-bellied Plovers were seen at Mud Bay (4) and the Anchor River (6). But more Semipalmated Plovers, which breed locally, were seen including Mud Bay (2), Mariner Park Lagoon (8), Mid-Spit (23), Beluga Slough (3), and Anchor River (4).



          Black Oystercatchers (2) were seen at Gull Island.



          Yellowleg counts are also declining. Greater Yellowlegs were seen at Mud Bay (1), Beluga Slough (1), and the Anchor River (4). Lesser Yellowlegs were at Mariner Park Lagoon (1), Beluga Slough (1), and Anchor River (2).



          Whimbrel were seen at Mid-Spit (11) and Anchor River (21).



          A group of Wandering Tattler (24) were seen at the boat harbor and Gull Island (1). Surfbirds, as usual, were at the entrance to the boat harbor (75) and Lancashire Rocks (80). Black Turnstone showed up at Gull Island (1), Lancashire Rock (3), and Anchor River (2). Ruddy Turnstone were seen at Mid-Spit (2) and Anchor River (1).



          Hudsonian Godwit were seen only at Beluga Slough (3).



          The big news is the arrival of our first big pulse of sandpipers. Our previous session on Wednesday observed only about 190 shorebirds in the Calidris genus. This session on Monday counted over 10,000. Fortunately, most of them arrived on Friday afternoon, just in time for the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. While daily counts seem to indicate some leaving the area, it is obvious that more have arrived. In fact, on a trip out to the Spit on Tuesday night I saw 10,000-15,000 sandpipers just in Mud Bay including about 90% Western's, about 10% Dunlin, as well as some Dowitchers. Another birder there agreed with the count. It was a spectacular sight as huge flocks would take to the air, twist and turn, flashing brown and white, and then land on the beach again. At one point, two flocks of thousands of birds flew right into each other in what looked like a major head-on. But miraculously, they all came out the other side. Obviously, the birds don't need FAA controllers.



          The details for sandpipers are as follows: Western Sandpipers were at Mud Bay (3,504), Mariner Park Lagoon (2), Mid-Spit (1,510), the boat harbor (6), Beluga Slough (232), and the Anchor River (179). Dunlin were at Mud Bay (1,500), Mid-Spit (149), Beluga Slough (9), and Anchor River (+40). In addition there were lots of "peeps" including Mid-Spit (+5,000), boat harbor (50), Beluga Slough (16), and Anchor River (500). The peeps were about 90% Western Sandpipers and 10% Dunlin. Other sandpipers include Least Sandpiper at Mariner Park Lagoon ( 36), Mid-Spit (6), Beluga Slough (6), and Anchor River (5). Semipalmated Sandpiper (5) was seen at Anchor River (5). Pectoral Sandpiper were at Mud Bay (1), and Anchor River (3). Rock Sandpiper (2) were seen on Lancashire Rock.



          Mixed in with the big flocks of sandpipers were a lot of Dowitchers. Most observers didn't venture to determine whether the birds were short or long-billed and just lumped their sightings by recording Dowitcher sp. ; Mud Bay (119), Mariner Park Lagoon (10), Mid-Spit (4), Beluga Slough (22), and Anchor River (13). However, some observations were more specific with Short-billed Dowitchers at Mariner Park Lagoon (4), and Anchor River (4). Long-billed Dowitchers were seen and photographed at Mariner Park Lagoon (19) and reported at Anchor River (3).



          There was just 1 Wilson's Snipe at Anchor River.



          Other bird observations, by site, are as follows:





          Mariner Park Lagoon:

          Green-winged Teal – 14

          Northern Shoveler – 18

          Bald Eagle – 4

          Sandhill Crane - 2



          Mid-Spit:

          Lapland Longspur - 2

          Bonaparte's Gull - 1

          Common Murre - x



          Outer Spit:

          Black-legged Kittiwake - x

          Common Loon – 2

          Bald Eagle – x

          Herring Gull - 2

          Rock Pigeon – 2

          Common Murre – 5,000

          Pelagic Cormorant – 8

          Red-breasted Merganser – 6

          Pigeon Guillemot - 2

          Lapland Longspur - 1

          Savanna Sparrow – 3

          Song Sparrow – 1



          Beluga Slough:



          Greater White-fronted Goose - 40

          Cackling Goose – 18

          Northern Pintail - 5

          Green-winged Teal – 37

          American Widgeon – 34

          Eurasian Widgeon - 1

          Northern Shoveler – 7

          Mallard – 6

          Common Loon – 2 on bay

          Harlequin – 2 on bay

          Common Murre – x on bay

          Sandhill Crane - 7

          Mew Gull – 30

          Glaucous-winged Gull - 4

          Bald Eagle – seen eating a duck

          Peregrine Falcon – seen catching a sandpiper in the air



          Merlin – 1 heard

          Ring-necked Pheasant -1

          Lapland Longspur -1



          Next report in 5 days. Keep on birding.



          George Matz
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