Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index

Return to the North America Index
Return to the U.S.A. Index
Return to the Alaska Index

U.S.A. - ALASKA: Anchorage area

Big Day (Bird Race)

21 May 1997

by Gordon J. Tans

Big Day Statistics:

Our former team members Stacey and Joe Scott moved on to Wyoming, so we replaced them with a seasoned Big Day veteran, Dave Delap. Dave has a permit to bird Elmendorf AFB, which amounts to a huge habitat reservation on the edge of Anchorage, so we were eager to change our route to include this area. It was with high hopes that we began our birding on the edge of foggy Otter Lake on the air force base. When we finally left the base at 6 a.m., we had tallied 39 species, including several problematical birds: Ring-necked Duck, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bohemian Waxwing, Belted Kingfisher, and American Dipper.

After that good start, however, the birding turned flat. When we passed our mid-day checkpoint at Portage (11 a.m.) we were at a weak 76 species, but we still held out hope that Homer would be hot like it was the year before. As soon as we hit the Homer Spit, however, we knew there would be no record this year. There were practically no shorebirds there, and the birds on Kachemak Bay were nearly as disappointing. Our total of 98 was the worst of our 6 year quest for 110. This year's result was so uninspiring I have put off this report until the snow is piled deep and the temperature is in the single digits. But we are already studying the '98 tide books, and are considering a May 16 effort, when the shorebirds and waterfowl should be present in good numbers. Can't wait.

Species List
1 Red-throated Loon
2 Pacific Loon
3 Common Loon
4 Horned Grebe
5 Red-necked Grebe
6 Double-crested Cormorant
7 Pelagic Cormorant
8 Red-faced Cormorant
9 Trumpeter Swan
10 Brant
11 Canada Goose
12 Green-winged Teal
13 Mallard
14 Northern Pintail
15 Northern Shoveler
16 Gadwall
17 American Wigeon
18 Canvasback
19 Ring-necked Duck
20 Greater Scaup
21 Lesser Scaup
22 Common Eider
23 Steller's Eider
24 Harlequin Duck
25 White-winged Scoter
26 Common Goldeneye
27 Barrow's Goldeneye
28 Common Merganser
29 Red-breasted Merganser
30 Bald Eagle
31 Red-tailed Hawk
32 Sandhill Crane
33 Semipalmated Plover
34 Black Oystercatcher
35 Greater Yellowlegs
36 Lesser Yellowlegs
37 Wandering Tattler
38 Spotted Sandpiper
39 Whimbrel
40 Hudsonian Godwit
41 Surfbird
42 Sanderling
43 Semipalmated Sandpiper
44 Western Sandpiper
45 Least Sandpiper
46 Pectoral Sandpiper
47 Short-billed Dowitcher
48 Common Snipe
49 Red-necked Phalarope
50 Bonaparte's Gull
51 Mew Gull
52 Herring Gull
53 Glaucous-winged Gull
54 Black-legged Kittiwake
55 Arctic Tern
56 Common Murre
57 Pigeon Guillemot
58 Marbled Murrelet
59 Tufted Puffin
60 Rock Dove
61 Rufous Hummingbird
62 Belted Kingfisher
63 Hairy Woodpecker
64 Olive-sided Flycatcher
65 Tree Swallow
66 Violet-green Swallow
67 Gray Jay
68 Steller's Jay
69 Black-billed Magpie
70 Northwestern Crow
71 Common Raven
72 Black-capped Chickadee
73 Boreal Chickadee
74 Red-breasted Nuthatch
75 Brown Creeper
76 American Dipper
77 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
78 Swainson's Thrush
79 Hermit Thrush
80 American Robin
81 Varied Thrush
82 American Pipit
83 Bohemian Waxwing
84 Orange-crowned Warbler
85 Yellow-rumped Warbler
86 Townsend's Warbler
87 Northern Waterthrush
88 Wilson's Warbler
89 Savannah Sparrow
90 Fox Sparrow
91 Lincoln's Sparrow
92 Golden-crowned Sparrow
93 White-crowned Sparrow
94 Dark-eyed Junco
95 Red-winged Blackbird
96 Rusty Blackbird
97 Common Redpoll
98 Pine Siskin

Big Misses:

Downy Woodpecker
Song Sparrow

Birding Top 500 Counter