Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa, mile 3, East End Road, Homer, 22 January 2012.
It seems like Great Grays are being reported everywhere in southcoastal Alaska this winter, including at least three in Homer. This bird was hunting along East End Road this morning (22 January 2012). Thanks Carol Griswold and Anne Crane for the phone calls this morning!
A day of birding Homer with Luke DeCicco and Wendy Holman made for a very memorable final day of 2011. All photos by Luke DeCicco.
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa, Homer, 30 December 2011. Photo by Lucas DeCicco.
Great Gray Owls make birding headlines anywhere on the Kenai, especially Homer. This winter has been an exceptional winter for the species on the Peninsula–there have been up to four different Gray Grays reported in the Homer area alone. The most reliable birds have been two that have shown regularly and well at the east end of Beluga Lake. The best viewing opportunities have been from the end of Adams Drive (off of East End Road), but the birds have also been spotted from the observation platform at the end of FAA drive near the airport. Luke took this photo on 30 December, but we relocated the bird again on New Year’s Eve for a final bird of 2011. This was my first Great Gray Owl for the Kenai Peninsula and a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve!
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris, Homer Spit, 31 December 2011. Photo by Lucas DeCicco.
This Horned Lark represents only the second winter report for Homer. The first mid-winter record was of four birds found on the Homer CBC last winter, one of which was of the Asian breeding flava subspecies. Click here for more on that.
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis, Seaside Farm, Homer, 31 December 2011. Photo by Lucas DeCicco.
It has been a good fall/winter for overwintering sparrows in Homer. This White-throated Sparrow found at Mossy’s Seaside Farm makes for the third consecutive winter this rare fall/winter visitor has been found in Homer.
I’ve been out of the country for the last three weeks, leading a birding trip to Bhutan for Wilderness Birding Adventures. I’ve been trying to catch up with the happenings in Alaska birding while I’ve been gone and since returning home I’m very happy to see that Seward birder, Carol Griswold, has a new blog dedicated to her superb “Sporadic Birding Report.” She’s been sending this report out to birders for quite some time, but now we get to see many of her wonderful photographs accompany the report. Congratulations Carol! Click here to go to Carol’s site.
In bird news since I’ve been away, another rare Turdus has struck southcoastal Alaska. A Dusky Thrush was found in Thede Tobish’s yard in Anchorage on 10 December. The bird was viewed regularly in the neighborhood until 14 December then disappeared until it was relocated today, 22 December. Check AK Birding discussion group for updates.
Two other exciting bird phenomena noted this winter include multiple and widespread sightings of McKay’s Buntings on the Kenai Penisula (Seward, Homer, and Kenai) and a double digit reports of Great Gray Owls from the western Kenai Peninsula stretching from Sterling to Homer. Again, check AK birding for the latest on these and other bird sightings.
Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus, Anchorage, 12 December 2011. Photo by Lucas DeCicco.