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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska birding’

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron in Alaska

Great Blue Heron - Alaska

You Look’n at Me?

American Bald Eagle

American Bald Eagle, Alaska

Like Momma

Arctic Loon Chick

An Arctic Loon Chick learning to fluff it's feathers

Wax Wings

Wax Wings on berries

Wax Wings on Berries


Swan Wing Spread

Trumpeter Swan in wing spread

Waterfowl On Denali Highway

waterfowl on Denali Highway

Waterfowl on Denali Highway

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon


Redheads enjoying a break from the rain

The summit lake on the road over Hatcher Pass has some great birds sometimes.  Last week produced a pair of surf scoters and this week I located two redheads.  I enjoyed a respite from the rain with these guys.

as promised….

Another as I mentioned yesterday.

Green Winged Teal

I was fortunate to spend some time with a few Green Winged Teals on the water the other day.  There were 6 or so sleeping on logs around logs and the males were chasing girls.  This one just woke up.

Its May in Alaska….that means birds

May means birds.  Its that simple.  Up here in Alaska as the winter snows slowly rescind the birds move in to fill void.  The Homer bird festival is the 5/6-5/9 and the Festival in Cordova is this week also.  That is a bit unusual as they typically follow one another.  Break out the binos, put on the T-shirts and get out there.

They’re here….

A pair of American Wigeons and a female Goldeneye came cruising by.

Up the creek…

The birds are definitely in.  The water is opening up very quickly now.  The birding reports from Seward indicate that they are backing up there as they layover before heading here and further north.  I was waiting on an American Wigeon and these Mew Gulls caught my attention.  I think she likes him.

Three Trumpeter Swans

It keeps thawing and the swans keep coming.  I really enjoy photographing swans, they are so beautiful and graceful and here in Alaska we are fortunate to have a lot of them.  Of course the Big A K is home to a lot of migrate breeding birds which makes it just too much fun.

Upland Game Bird Sanctuary

I found these guys when I was putting out some millet for the pheasants.  The winters are a wee bit hard up here so when I found out that I had pheasants I put some food out to help them make it through the winter.  I walked out of my garage door with my head down looking at the bag of seed and when I looked up I had almost stepped on this bird.  They proceeded to allow me to come right up to within 3 feet or so of them.  The information on them says they are very fast runners and can easily out run a hunter.  I don’t know if they can out run a 10 gauge from 3 feet away though.

Things Are Heating Up….

Water is opening up a little more but overall locations are still limited.

Next up…The new Upland Game Bird Sanctuary here in the Matsu Valley.

Things Are Heating Up….

Seems early for swans but they might have come up from over wintering at Coopers Landing.

Things Are Heating Up….

And a few more for your enjoyment…

Mergansers and Mallards taking over the creek.

There’s a moose and an eagle that might have something to say about that though.

Things Are Heating Up….

Well March is here and here come the birds…

February was kind of an odd month.  The temps jumped way up to 45-48 degrees and then March rolled in and it started to get cold, windy and snowy again.  Well, in like a lion out like a lamb.

Oyster Catcher


This is the time of the year for reflection.  For me that really means “I have a ton of images I haven’t even looked at and I have a ton of film to develop.”  So while I was waiting for some water to warm up the other day I found this image that I really like but just have not yet got to.  I love these Oyster Catchers, the contrast of colors on this beautiful bird is just so attractive I can’t stop looking at it.  I might have mentioned that we took a Fjords tour earlier this year and we really enjoyed it.  It was different atmosphere, totally bird oriented really, with a relatively low head count.  It really made for a great day on the water.  The sun was out in totally clear skies that day which made for some harsh photographic conditions but as a general rule the people and birds seemed to like it.

Nice Ducks


These mallards and a blue winged teal or two are hanging out in just about the only open water that is left around here.  It was pretty cold (~10 F) but that was a warm up from the -18 F last week.  I don’t know how long this open water will last, I don’t recall last year if it closed up or not but I think it did.  There is a bit more down by the old Mat-Su townsite that might be productive too.  We went down there last Sunday though and did not see a thing.  The birding forums were reporting that a GBH had been in that area but we did not find it.

Great Blue Heron


A great blue heron was out on Potter’ Marsh about a month back.  I caught him over the course of several days and enjoyed his antics immensely.  It amazes me how hard it can be to spot this bird even when it is right in front of you.  It is quite a hunter too.  It was capable of remaining perfectly still for very long periods of time but it would lock on to anything that moved in the water even when it was on roost.  This photograph was made after he caught a fish and moved onto this log.  He is pretty much in  a zone here and he was attacking little sticks with great enthusiasm.  What a fun bird to watch.

Gavia stellata: Red-throated Loon


The ponderously beautiful Red-throated Loon is the smallest member of the loon family.  It also has some capabilities that are unique to this loon.  While the larger loons can require up to a 100 meter running start to get air born the Red-throated loon requires much less and can actually lift off from land.  The mating pairs also engage in a unique duet of calls as opposed to a singular territorial yodel of its male cousins.  The Red-throated loon of the North American variety primarily breeds in coastal tundra habitat which puts it out of contact with most people so it is a relative unknown.  It is an incredibly beautiful loon and a pleasure to watch.  This female scooted back and forth across this pond enjoying the late evening Arctic sun and did not seem to mind me too much.  I made her a little nervous initially but she quickly got over it.  I am glad she did.

Arctic Loon


The Arctic Loon has a distinguishing “greenish” iridescent patch on its foreneck that most of the time looks black.  From this angle you can see the green.  The little chick is all fluffy brown down though at the moment.  After being born the chicks down can actually get water logged and they will jump up on Momma’s back for a ride while they dry out.  This little guy seemed pretty well on his way to adjusting to his future on the water.  He still cannot dive though, too buoyant.  When mom or dad dives under he sticks his head down and tries to give chase but just pops right back up like a little cork.