Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend in Homer, Alaska

Due to delayed planes, I was able to accompany a friend to Homer this weekend to do some birding. The target was the Long-billed Murrelets that have been present in Kachemak Bay for a couple months. On Saturday, we birded our way down do Homer, with stops at Whiskey Gulch and wherever we thought there might be birds. We found quite a few groups of passerines which included many Orange-crowned, Townsend's, Blackpoll, Yellow-rumped, Wilson's Warblers and Northern Waterthrush. Fox, Lincoln and Savannah Sparrows were abundant, and this Fox Sparrow proved somewhat cooperative in the dull, overcast light.
At Whiskey Gulch, we had a ton of birds moving over the water. Hoards of Shearwaters (most too far to discern details, but presumaby/almost certainly Sooty Shearwaters), Horned Puffins, Common Murres and hybrid gulls provided much amusement.

Homer was great as always. We passerine-birded this morning at various locations along the spit. More of the same were had, lots of Orange-crowned, Townsend's and Wilson's Warblers, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, ect, ect.

The boat into Kachemak Bay was great. We left at 8:30am and had a few hours before the wind picked up to sort through a plethora of Murrelets. The bay is loaded with Murrelets and it is impossible to even sort through the majority. Most were Marbled, with a smattering of Kittlitz's Murrelets thrown in, a dandy lifer. Some even provided a photo opportunity.
Try as we might, we were unable to locate a Long-billed Murrelet, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. With all the Murrelets present in the bay, it is quite possible they are still around. We also didn't turn up a Fork-tailed Storm-petrel, which would have also been a lifer. But, I'll take the Kittlitz's!

On the drive home, we saw a Black Bear drag a fish across the road.

Tomorrow my plane leaves out of Anchorage for Prudhoe Bay at 2pm. Let's hope it works out this time, I'm anxious to get on the boat and start these seabird surveys!

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