Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day three of Alaska trip - OMG

Right now I'm at Cooper Landing Alaska, half way between Anchorage and Homer and we'll be spending the night here.

What an amazing day today - not only were the birds incredible, I got to see wild Dall Sheep, Moose, Black Bear, and orphaned/injured rehabilitated animals at the Alaska Wildlife Rehabilitation Center such as Bison, Musk Ox, Kodiak Bears, Caribou and more.

Today I got 4 of my chief Alaska targets.  First off as we were driving just out of Anchorage I spotted a swan and identified it as a Tundra.  One of my favorite birds but first one of the year.  A little ways past that I was parked in a roadside parking lot and found a woodpecker and identified it as an American Three-toed.  Year bird and one of my chief Alaska targets.  Then as we were driving I spotted some common gulls and then I spotted a tern - Arctic Tern!  and got some great looks.  What a special life bird!  Once we got to our waterside place at Cooper Landing I spotted a duck flying up river and put my binoculars on it.  Goldeneye!  Barrow's Goldeneye!  Life bird.

How amazing Alaska is treating me for birds!  I had hoped for 20-30 year birds during my whole 3 week trip and I already have an amazing 13 after 48 hours!  Current year count is 334.

What a great day.

Until later


Alaska trip day two - yup, we're north!

Written July 31 2011.

Yesterday, July 30 I birded around Anchorage and had the most wonderful time.  I managed 6 new year birds, plus 3 the day before making the Anchorage total 9, much better than hoped.

I started out at the beautiful Potter Marsh where I got 2 new year birds, Black-billed Magpie and Short-billed Dowitcher as well as many other beautiful birds including Sandhill Cranes, both yellowlegs, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and more.

Then we went to a place called Smoke Jumper Trail, a very boreal forest filled with northern trees.  While walking I heard a chickadee, which I first regarded as one of the many Black-cappeds.  But then it caught my attention.  No!  Not a Black-capped!  It's a Boreal Chickadee!  I walked to the sound and starting pishing.  It came in and gave me the most beautiful look.  One of my long wanted life birds had finally made a showing.

Then I went to a bog near where I'm staying and I got to spend time with a beautiful Moose.

Yesterday evening I went to a place called Arctic Valley and climbed to above tree line and got to hike there with magnificent views, true Alaska.  On that outing I got 3 new year birds, Northwestern Crow along the way and Gray-cheeked Thrush and Rufous Hummingbird at mountaintop.  The Rufous Hummingbird was attracted to the red of a chair lift of a small skiing area.

Today I head south starting my trek to Homer and am more focusing on mammals today stopping at a wildlife rehabilitation center, looking for Dall Sheep, and a hike for bears.  Between now and when I get back to Anchorage next week I don't know if I'll be able to post much, but I will write and next week will post all at once if I can't post at Homer.

Until later.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Alaska trip day one - travel day and first birds

ALASKA!  It's official!  We're here!  I can't blog in detail because it's 9:50 in the evening Alaskan time, 1:50 in the morning Eastern time where I came from, I've been up close to 24 hours.  Right now I'm in a nice Bed and Breakfast in Anchorage Alaska.

After landing I did some quick birding around a few spots in Anchorage in good areas noted for boreal birds.  I managed 3 year birds, including two lifers (Common Redpoll and Western Wood-Pewee) as well as year bird White-winged Crossbill.  Tomorrow I try to go after more boreal birds and enjoy the amazing Alaska!

Until later


Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick update

I'm off to Shenandoah National Park to look for bears but I thought I'd let you all know that in a week I'm off to Alaska!  So exciting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simcoe County birding - an awesome rap up to Ontario

I'm back in Virginia..but NOT FOR LONG!  In just over 2 weeks north is the direction I head once again. The farthest north I've ever gone..Alaska!  Pine Grosbeaks, Alutean and Arctic Terns, just the thoughts get me super excited.

I haven't blogged since I've left Algonquin but here's the report from the Barrie area (Simcoe County)

I met up with Alex Mills, a professional ornithologist from the area who took me around the area birding and got me 3 valuable life birds.  He said 2 should be fairly easy, Piping Plover, and Black Tern.  Indeed we got both of those, which made me very happy.  My third target for that day was Clay-colored Sparrow but Alex said that would be tough.  He said if we saw a Christmas Tree farm we could try to hear it but expectations would be low.  We indeed found a Christmas Tree farm and after walking around a while as we were getting ready to give up "chhh - chhh - chhh".  Alex said "listen, there you go, Clay-colored Sparrow!".  We walked over to where the sound was coming from, got to hear it excellently and got a few brief glimpses.

Thanks for 3 great birds Alex!

All in all an awesome trip to Ontario, 14 year birds bagged well.  Excellent.  321 is the standing year count.