Monday, October 1, 2012

Alaska Birds-My Adventure

Wow what a trip.  I joined two of my birding buds in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula for a week of September birding.  The birding season for most of the migrating species is really short in Alaska, but we knew going in that our species list would be abbreviated.  Given that my birding on the west coast is pretty limited, almost any bird would be a new one for me.  Scenery, animals both land and sea were definitely going to be amazing.  That show was almost guaranteed.

I departed out of Logan Airport in Boston on September 1 for a very long day of flying.  I flew to Dallas on my first leg.  Flight wasn't so bad-4.5 hours to Dallas.  I don't do well sitting still.  The second leg was worse 6.5 to Anchorage.  I landed at 1845 and met Mike Mandracchia of Mandrake Birding and Mike Zarella of Hillcountry Naturalist.  We checked into the hotel and immediately went birding.  It was poring but who really cared.  We got a great sample of ducks at a local lake, but with the rain and the heavy clouds quickly put a damper on things as it got too dark to bird by 2100.  I would have birded till sun up and kept on going. 

The next morning as soon as we got on the highway we saw an enormous male moose.  What a great start with so many amazing possibilities.  I'll have a few posts from this trip.  Enjoy!

American Wigeon

Black bear (youngster only 200 to 350). 
Didn't want to ask him to step on the scale.

Immature Bald Eagle (great eye shot)
Kenai Song Sparrow 
Distinctly darker than Eastern Song Sparrow. 
I really got into the sub-species on this trip. 

Black-legged Kittiwake 
I've only ever seen these from a long distance off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  I was like a little kid in a candy store with all these new species and even common species close up and smiling for a photo. 

Alaskan Brown bear
Fishing for salmon.  Not smiling at us BTW!

Fox Sparrow

Golden Crowned Sparrow
New species for me.  Yay me!

Stellar Jay
Jovial like all Jays, but distinctly different then the Stellars that I saw during my trip to Rocky Mnt National Park in July (photos to be posted later)

Sandhill Crane
Just hanging out on someones front lawn like the pink flamingos at my moms.  Bahahaa
2 adults and 4 young eating bird seed.  So cool!

I'll post more in a few days.  Hope you enjoy looking as much as I did taking them. 


Jen said...

Oh wow!! Every year I say I'm going to visit Alaska and then something comes up and I can't do it. Last year it was Hawaii (not complaining) and this year it was buying a house (also, not complaining). But these photos are fantastic!! Yep, our Song Sparrows are much filthier than yours (which always confuses me back east). Your bear shots are amazing, love that crane shot too. So much good stuff, can't wait for the rest!

Pedernaturalist said...

Nice shot of that Eagle, it is impressive. FYI ... I have 5,000+ pictures from that trip so I'm sure sorting through them and picking the best will be a challenge. Thanks for letting me tag along with you and Mike M., I enjoyed the birding ID lessons and the company.

dAwN said...

Thats great! Look forward to more of your photos! Alaska is still on our list of places to visit!

Anonymous said...

NICE work John!!