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bjay Jan 29th, 2006 08:12 PM

Bird watching in Alaska
While reading through the posts and trip reports, I noticed some of you making comments about bird watching in various parts of Alaska. I would be interested in knowing what spots are especially good and what types of birds to look out for. Is there a helpful guide to help identify the birds?

Our trip is scheduled for June 8--19. We'll be visiting Denali National Park, Seward, and Homer. As a matter of fact, when we're in Homer, we'll be staying on the Spit, which I understand is especially good for bird watching.

Thanks for any information you can share with me.

Pat2003 Jan 30th, 2006 03:35 AM

bjay, there is a birding program 'Wings Over Alaska'
Check it out on
You will find there the Alaska Bird Checklist and place for bird watching anywhere in Alaska
Also or call them for more info at # 907-465-4190

My favorite place is Homer with an exceptional birding, in my opinion. If you go to the website for birding in Homer you will get the best possible information with all spots in Homer including many places on the Spit

You can also call the Kachemak Bay Birding Hotline for recorded location details and dates of sightseeing. # 907- 235-PEEP

bjay Jan 30th, 2006 11:44 AM

Thank you for giving me the web addresses relating to Alaska birding. I've bookmarked these sites and plan to read the information before we go on our trip.

My husband bought me new binoculars for Christmas and I can hardly wait to try them out.

BayouGal Jan 30th, 2006 01:10 PM

bjay, we were amazed that we saw so many birds in just about every area we visited last year in Alaska(and we were there during almost the same time period you'll be going.) Homer and Valdez were great for viewing eagles, but we saw the most eagles on the beach at Anchor Point. Plan a little sidetrip to Anchor Point if you are going to Homer--it's only a few minutes drive from Sterling Hwy. Also, one of the best things about the NW Kenai Fjords boat trip was the many kinds of birds we saw. The captain was a birder and helped us with our Life lists.

Those websites Pat gave you were a great help to us, and most people in tourist related fields in Alaska can point you in the right direction if you are interested in birding while visiting a particular area.

Enjoy your trip!

bjay Jan 31st, 2006 11:09 AM

Thank you for the suggestions, BayouGal. I'll be sure to add Anchor Point to our itinerary. And we will definitely be doing a Kenai Fjords tour when we're in Seward.

birder Feb 12th, 2006 05:50 PM

We spent 10 days in Alaska last August, in Anchorage, Denali & Seward. Potter Marsh just south of Anchorage was fantastic - we saw a large variety of waterfowl as well as some songbirds in the parking lot area. Eagle River Nature Center north of Alaska also had lots of duck varieties in their marsh area, and they had a good bird identification display to help out. In Denali, I was mostly looking at the large mammals :) but at one point, when we were off the bus and out hiking on our own, I spotted an artic tern sitting on her nest on the ground. It was fantastic just watching and I certainly wouldn't have seen it from the bus. The gray jay at the Wonder Lake picnic table was a riot, he kept trying to share our lunch!

In Seward, we saw lots of eagles, including a few at close range walking on the beach out at Lowell's Point. On the Cain's Head trail, we ran into a stellar jay - the first time I've seen one, just beautiful, so big and brash. Hopefully you can take the Kenai boat tour, and you will see an enormous amount of birds. On our trip, there was a group of very serious birders and they were very helpful with identification. Lastly, don't miss the Sealife Center - they have a truly fantastic bird exhibit that lets you see the puffins up close. I wouldn't miss it for anything!

dfrostnh Feb 13th, 2006 03:30 AM

We managed to be at Potter Marsh and not see any birds at all. Is there a recommended time of day? We saw quite a few eagles on the Spit. Did an overnight to Seldovia so saw more birds on the way. The Kenai Fjords trip was great. The wildflowers are wonderful that time of year. We noticed perfume in the air and later decided it was from the cow parsley that was in bloom. There is a large stand of it around the overlook just before you get to Homer. You might want to buy the small book about the Eagle Woman of Homer who feeds them all winter. There's a large bookstore in Anchorage called the Title Wave that ought to have a good bird guide for the area.

birder Feb 13th, 2006 04:58 AM

dfrostnh, when were you at Potter Marsh? I've heard that during migration, the marsh is simply full of birds. When we went in early August, it definitely was not full of birds -- lots of birds but it wasn't a migrating scene. Maybe it was the time of day? Early morning and late afternoon are always the best times to spot birds - during the heat of the day, they often are nowhere to be found.

BayouGal Feb 13th, 2006 03:50 PM

Great suggestions for books, dfrostnh. I am going to get those for our next trip. Thanks!

Gardyloo Feb 13th, 2006 04:10 PM

If you are devout birders than you should save your shekels for a trip out to the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. In addition to being interesting people places, the islands' bird populations are remarkable.

dfrostnh Feb 14th, 2006 04:00 AM

Birder: it was early August and probably middle of the day. We always seen to drive that stretch at low tide, too. I was so excited in anticipation of seeing my first bald eagle but my first eagle was really a crow or raven carrying a piece of bread. In Seldovia we watched and listened to 5 eagles perched in trees. I like birds but I really love the wildflowers. I have a lovely book by a local artist describing her life in Alaska, how she developed her style and where she goes to paint. Hope you find some great local bird books. If you google Eagle Lady of Homer you can read some of the story and see some great photos.

peggionthego Feb 17th, 2006 10:57 AM

Our most exciting bird was puffins which we saw while fishing at Icy Strait Point.

BayouGal Feb 17th, 2006 04:53 PM

Peggi, we loved seeing those little birds, too. Aren't they pretty? We saw the most on the Northwestern Kenai Fjords boat tour out of Seward. Did you know that the only time they stay on land is to nest? (The captain of our tour boat told us about them--he's a birder, too.)

That must have been a great fishing trip! We haven't been to Icy Strait or Glacier Bay YET. :) I bet the scenery is beautiful. How was the fishing? Did you see any whales while in that area? Would love to hear more about it . . . .

peggionthego Feb 18th, 2006 05:54 AM

We were on a Celebrity ship; not too many cruise lines stop at Icy Strait Point (the village is Hoonah) but we LOVED it...more "authentic" Alaska, I think. Our fishing boat captain was a First Nation Alaskan and he was wonderful. There were only five people on our boat. It was very successful fishing - we caught both silver salmon and halibut. We paid to have "our" fish shipped back home and enjoyed sharing it with our friends. It was just a fabulous excursion. Didn't see whales though. They're there, of course, we just didn't see them.

klondike Feb 23rd, 2006 11:25 PM

You might consider contacting the local Audoban (sp?!) Society. The one here in Juneau does weekly walks at lunch. Whether they do them during the summer months, too, I don't know.

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