Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Bird Count Results

This was the 37th consecutive Kodiak Christmas Bird Count. A record eighty-five people participated this year. We tallied 78 species and 14,384 individual birds on count day, and an additional 3 species in count week (the period from three days before, to three days after count day). Count Week birds were Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Three-toed Woodpecker, and Northern Shrike. The average number of Count Day species seen over the previous ten years is 77, so this year’s total was respectable, but not stellar. The post-count compiling party was held Claudia and Stosh Anderson’s house. Thank you, Claudia.

Twelve upland field parties included two Ptarmigan SWAT teams and, for the first time ever, a Great Blue Heron SWAT team. All three SWAT teams found their target birds. When I recently looked up the exact meaning of the acronym SWAT, I chuckled when I read that it means Special Weapons And Tactics, which fits our ptarmigan teams, in particular, to a T. As usual, we had two boats participating. This year they were the Ursa Major II and the Mythos. Bird feeder Counts were made from Monashka to Bells Flats at 22 feeders. Twenty one species were found at feeders. The most abundant species at feeders was Pine Siskin (482). Four species, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Lincoln’s Willow Sparrow, and Golden-crowned Sparrow wereseen only at feeders.
Ptarmigan by Patrick Saltonstall
There were all-time high counts of seven species this year: Willow Ptarmigan (21), Bald Eagle (889), Northern Goshawk (7), Rock Sandpiper (490), Rock Pigeon (506), American Robin (24), and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (179).

Mixed shorebird flock on Dog Bay breakwater by Pam Foreman.

Rare species seen this year that have been seen fewer than sixteen times on Count Day in the history of the count (and the number of times seen) are: Ring-necked Duck (13), Willow Ptarmigan (5), Merlin (14), Orange-crowned Warbler (3), and Rusty Blackbird (4).

What are the commonest wintering birds in the Kodiak area? These 29 species have been seen on all 37 consecutive Kodiak CBC’s: Mallard, Greater Scaup, Steller’s Eider, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Horned Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Bald Eagle, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Black-billed Magpie, Northwestern Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, American Dipper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Varied Thrush, Song Sparrow.

Orange-crowned Warbler by Molly MacIntosh

For the second time in many years, Kodiak did not have the highest count day species total in the state. This is the second year that the high count title goes to Ketchikan, which this year mustered an impressive 81 count day species. Ketchikan compiler Andy Piston once again pulled out all the stops and led his people to the pinnacle of Alaskan winter birding.

We are very fortunate to have large vessels covering the marine waters in the count circle. This year’s vessels were the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Ursa Major II, skippered by Jeff Lewis, and Dave Kubiak’s F/V Mythos. We appreciate the major effort they make to support the count.

You can find all count results, as they are posted, at:

Cheers, Rich MacIntosh, compiler

PARTICIPANTS: Claudia Anderson, Roberta Austring, Paul Banyas, Wendy Beck, Celeste Beck-Goodell, Shirley Berns, Rae Jean Blaschka, Sue Blott, Graham Burnside, Chris Cooney, Diane Cooney, Andrea Cooney, Robin Corcoran, Braxton Dew, Angela Dewinter and family, Libby Eufemio, Rosemary Eufemio, Josh Fitzgerald, Nate Fitzgerald, Raymond Fletcher, Mary Forbes, Pam Foreman, Sam Friedman, Harvey Goodell, Jan Haaga, Pete Hannah, Jack Hannah, Carolyn Heitman, Pat Heitman, Mary Ann Hickey, Arielle Himelbloom, Linda Himelbloom, Eva Holm, Iver Holm, Oliver Holm, Beverly Horn, Donna Hurley, Gunnar Johnson, Katya Johnson, Mona Johnson, Tom Kjera, Dave Kubiak, Debra Kubiak, Linda Lance, Tom Lance, Jeff Lewis, Mary Lukens, Ian MacIntosh, Molly MacIntosh, Rich MacIntosh, Mike Marion, Sarah Meunier, Mike Milligan, Lucy Murdoch, Dan Olsen, Dean Olsen, Hildur Olsen, Deedie Pearson, Doug Pederson, Laurie Pederson, Suzanne Peschier, Jeanne Pontti, Bill Pyle, Dana Reid, Susan Reid, Dick Ross, Patrick Saltonstall, Dave Schuckman, Mike Sirofchuck, Darcy Stielstra, Stacy Studebaker, Pat Trosvig, Tom Trosvig, Cindy Trussell, Jane Van Atta, Esther Waddell, Haliegh Walker, Gary Wheeler, Jack Withrow, Jill Wittenbrader, Myla Woodley, Denny Zwiefelhofer.

Emperor Goose 588
Canada Goose 31
Gadwall 74
American Wigeon 16
Mallard 703
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 19
Ring-necked Duck 3
Greater Scaup 587
Lesser Scaup 2
Scaup sp. 19
Steller's Eider 835
Common Eider 140
Harlequin Duck 530
Surf Scoter 133
White-winged Scoter 239
Black Scoter 921
Long-tailed Duck 820
Bufflehead 133
Common Goldeneye 170
Barrow’s Goldeneye 57
Common Merganser 80
Red-breasted Merganser 164
Rock Ptarmigan 1
Willow Ptarmigan 21
Pacific Loon 7
Common Loon 32
Horned Grebe 106
Red-necked Grebe 50
Double-crested Cormorant 50
Red-faced Cormorant 10
Pelagic Cormorant 454
Great Blue Heron 5
Bald Eagle 889
Sharp-shinned Hawk cw
Northern Goshawk 7
Merlin 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black Oystercatcher 627
Black Turnstone 52
Surfbird 36

Rock Sandpiper 490
Dunlin 62
Wilson's Snipe 1
Mew Gull 266
Herring Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 715
Glaucous Gull 2
Common Murre 217
Pigeon Guillemot 123
Marbled Murrelet 13
Crested Auklet 2
Rock Pigeon 506
Belted Kingfisher 16
Downy Woodpecker 6
American Three-toed Woodpecker cw
Northern Shrike cw
Black-billed Magpie 246
Northwestern Crow 316
Common Raven 917
Black-capped Chickadee 207
Red-breasted Nuthatch 47
Brown Creeper 4
Winter Wren 39
American Dipper 15
Golden-crowned Kinglet 281
American Robin 24
Varied Thrush 181
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
American Tree Sparrow 7
Fox Sparrow 18
Song Sparrow 22
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 35
Snow Bunting 50
Rusty Blackbird 2
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 179
Pine Grosbeak 103
Red Crossbill 75
Common Redpoll 1
Pine Siskin 621

cw = seen count week only

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Bird Count

Kodiak Audubon’s December Program is being presented by Rich MacIntosh. He will present a slide show with identification tips on the Winter Birds of Kodiak on Friday, December 11, 2009 in room 128-130 at the Kodiak College in the Benny Benson Building.

Join us at 6:30 p.m. for pizza and to sign-up for this year’s Christmas Bird Count. Rich’s talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. This is a wonderful opportunity to sharpen your skills for the 2010 count. This year’s count will held in town on December 19 and at Narrow Cape on January 2. For more information about the December program on the 11th you can contact Cindy at 486-1224. For more information about the Christmas Bird Count, please contact Rich MacIntosh at 486-3087.

December Program: December 11th at 6:30 PM

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November Birds About Town

This is the second column of the fall. This column includes, with a few exceptions, sightings from 1 through 28 October 2009. In recent years, the column has included more and more photographs. Not only are they nice to look at, but they are increasingly important for documenting the occurrence of uncommon or unusual birds in this area. It is highly advised that you try to photograph any unusual bird that you report. It really is true, in the case of bird documentation, that a picture is worth a thousand words. When you see a bird of interest, get in the habit of taking a photo of it. Thanks go to Jeff Allen, Tim Blott, Raymond Fletcher, Pam Foreman, Carolyn Heitman, Dave Kubiak, Lynne Murphy, Cecil Ranney, and Stacy Studebaker for providing photos or video during the period. Photos appearing in this column are: “white-cheeked” geese – Lynne Murphy, “white-cheeked” geese – Rich MacIntosh, Pacific Loon – Lynne Murphy, Peregrine Falcon – Lynne Murphy, Least Sandpiper – Stacy Studebaker, Wilson’s Snipe – Cecil Ranney, Common Raven – Tim Blott, Golden-crowned Kinglet – Carolyn Heitman, Golden-crowned Kinglet – Dave Kubiak.

Please feel free to call me with bird reports or questions at 486-3087, or email me at: A copy of the Kodiak bird checklist is available at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, or online at:
Good birding!

On 3 Oct, RM watched an immature Bald Eagle overtake and kill a Greater White-fronted Goose at Womens Bay. An account of that struggle appears at the very end of this report. The fall “white-cheeked” goose movement through the archipelago continues, with both Canada Geese and Cackling Geese reported in early October from Tugidak Island. LM took a nice photos of geese in flight over the Tugidak tundra (see photo). A group of white-cheeked geese on Mission Lake on 5 Oct (RM; photo) contained one tiny Cackling Goose, two of the medium-sized Canada Geese from the Shuyak population, and one lighter-breasted bird of unknown persuasion (right in photo). It is always exciting to see birds in migration, so JA was excited to see a flock of about 45 Emperor Geese flying in high from the northeast over the Buskin River mouth on 7 Oct. These birds were just arriving in this area from their summer haunts in western Alaska. A flock of about 100 Snow Geese was seen in nasty weather over Spruce Cape on 20 Oct (IH, EH). Trumpeter Swans were heard and seen on Tugidak Island in early October (BP, PB).

Migrant Tundra Swans were seen again this fall migrating over Trident Basin, with three on 30 Sep, 4 on 2 Oct, and about 25 on 23 Oct (SBo). Twelve Tundra Swans were on Lake Rose Tead on 20 Oct (RM), and 15 were there on 26 Oct (RF). The first Ring-necked Duck of the fall was a male with Greater Scaup on Mission Lake on 29 Sep (RM), and about eight were with Greater and Lesser Scaup on Lake Rose Tead on 20 Oct (RM). The first Buffleheads of the fall were seen on Kalsin Pond on 2 Oct (RC, RM). On 19 Oct, four Hooded Mergansers were on Mission and Potatopatch Lakes (RM). All of these birds were in brown female or immature male plumage, and one of them (see photo) didn’t have a “hood”. A Pacific Loon photographed in Hidden Basin on 27 Oct (LM; see photo), shows the dark “necklace” that is diagnostic for winter individuals of this species. An early October cruise by JA off the east side of Kodiak yielded several interesting seabirds. A single juvenile Short-tailed Albatross accompanied a Laysan Albatross and several Black-footed Albatross……a north Pacific “grand slam”. Two of the always rare Buller’s Shearwaters were also seen and photographed. A suspected light morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater seen on that same day (JA) would have been a first state record had it been well photographed.

In early Oct, Tugidak Island hosted many Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls (BP, PB). LM got a great photo of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon (see photo) in Hidden Basin on 27 Oct. A late Lesser Yellowlegs was on the flats opposite Kalsin Pond on 2 Oct (RC, RM), and a late Least Sandpiper was photographed at Pasagshak on 4 Oct (SS, MS; see photo). Pectoral Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Long-billed Dowitchers continued to be seen on the Kalsin Bay sedge flats through 27 Oct (RM). The Red-necked Phalaropes JA saw at sea east of Kodiak on 11 Oct were very late, while the Red Phalaropes seen the next day were not so late. A nice photo of a Wilson’s Snipe taken at a considerable distance on CR’s lawn on 9 Sep shows the power of a good digital camera to document birds (see photo). The first Thayer’s Gull of the fall was an adult seen off the east side of Kodiak Island on 14 Oct (JA). Since October is the best month here for Slaty-backed Gulls, it was not surprising that an adult was at Womens Bay on 2 Oct (RM, RC), three birds were there on 3 Oct (RM), and three were seen off the east side of Kodiak in mid Oct (JA). Two Common Ravens were photographed (see photo) in a knock down drag out battle on the ground on Spruce Cape on 4 Oct (TB, SBl). As described by SB, “one had a grip on the other’s face and wouldn’t let go”. After taking a few pictures, TB chased them away! CH photographed a Golden-crowned Kinglet (see photo) eating from a suet feeder in her yard on 19 Oct. This behavior is very seldom seen. A Brown Creeper was seen on 28 Oct by ML. A Varied Thrush that showed up in the CH yard on 19 Oct (CH) was the only one reported. Except for corvids, there have been no birds reported from fruiting mountain ash trees yet. Things should break loose any day now. An immature White-crowned Sparrow in the RM & MM yard on 26 Oct is probably going to winter here. The first fall road system Dark-eyed Junco was a bird at Mill Bay on 3 Oct (JA). CH had two at her feeder on 5 Oct. Red Crossbills were fairly common at feeders. Pine Siskins were not much in evidence.

THEY COOKED HIS GOOSE - On 3 Oct, RM was watching gulls below the Sargent Creek bridge in Womens Bay when all the gulls took to the air. The most probable cause, an (immature) Bald Eagle, was soon seen to be chasing a Greater White-fronted Goose in direct flight over the bay. The two birds flew south, towards Salonie Creek, with the eagle gradually gaining on the goose. When they were off the mouth of Salonie Creek, the eagle was only about 10 meters behind the goose, which then began taking evasive measures, cutting one way, and then another. This tactic did not work either, and the goose soon crashed into the water. Once the goose was in the water, the eagle began diving in shallow arcs over it, as it would do when picking up a fish from the surface of the water. Other eagles in the area were attracted to the scene, and several birds began making passes over the goose. During the first couple of passes, the goose would dive completely under the water, but after that, it would only duck its head or flail its wings. After a few misses, the eagles began connecting with the goose. On one early pass, an eagle grabbed the goose by the head, jerked it completely off the water, and was able to fly about five meters before dropping it. Another time, an eagle grabbed the goose by a flailing wing and flew a few meters with it. This happened several more times in the next few minutes, with the eagle always dropping the goose, presumably because it was too heavy to carry very far. After being grabbed and dropped four or five times, the goose was still able to keep its head and neck above water. It was still alive. Soon thereafter though, the goose showed no sign of life. Once the goose was lifeless on the water, the eagles stopped diving on it. My guess as to why they abandoned the goose at that point is that the lifeless goose, “dead weight”, and with no body parts sticking out of the water, presented an even more difficult target for the eagles to both grasp, and also jerk out of the water. The onshore wind and a falling tide would no doubt make the goose available to the eagles in due time.

Jeff Allen, Paul Banyas, Sue Blott, Tim Blott, Stephen Bodnar, Robin Corcoran, Raymond Fletcher, Pam Foreman, Carolyn Heitman, Eva Holm, Iver Holm, Dave Kubiak, Mary Lukens, Molly MacIntosh, Rich MacIntosh, Lynne Murphy, Wayne Murphy, Bill Pyle, Cecil Ranney, Mike Sirofchuck, Stacy Studebaker.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Portland's Chapman Swifts world premiere: 15 September at 10:30 PM

On The Wing will air on Alaska One Public Television Tuesday Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m. and Wednesday September 16 at 4:30 a.m.

On The Wing tells the story of Portland's Chapman Swifts. The Chapman Swifts are Vaux Swifts that have been roosting in the chimney of Portland's Chapman Elementary School each fall since the early 80's. Each night during their residency, the Swifts put on an amazing show for thousands of people. On The Wing tells the story of both the birds and their cult following. It also conveys the universal messages that protecting habitat everywhere is important and everyone can have an impact on their surrounding environment if they just get involved.

1 September: Alaska Senate Resources and Energy Committee Meeting at 5:30 PM

The Alaska Senate Resources and Energy Committees will be visiting Kodiak on Tuesday, September 1.

They will hold a public hearing at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly Chambers from 5:30 to 7:00 pm to hear comments from the public about what should Alaska¹s Energy policy be? How can we lower energy costs for the long-term and achieve greater Energy independence?

For more information please contact the Kodiak Legislative Information Office at 486-8116.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Birds About Town: April 2009

This is the ninth and last BAT column of the season. It covers, with a few exceptions, the period from 10 April through 9 May 2009. Thanks to Shirley Berns, Nate Fitzgerald, Carolyn Heitman, Dave Kubiak, Mike Marion, Lynne Murphy, and Patrick Saltonstall for providing photos or audio tape during the period. Remember that a photo, even a marginal photo, can be tremendously helpful in identifying and documenting birds. When you see a bird of interest, get in the habit of taking a photo of it. Feel free to call me with bird reports or questions about birds or birding at 486-3087, or email me at: The Kodiak bird checklist is available at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in downtown Kodiak and online at: Good birding!

As usual, the spring waterfowl migration began in earnest in late April. This movement is made up of some birds that will nest on Kodiak Island and some birds that will pass right on through Kodiak on the way to the Alaska Peninsula and points north. A large number of ducks and geese settled out in the three bays on 29 April, with some remaining for the next few days. There was also a large movement of ducks into the Hidden Basin, Ugak Bay area on the same date (LM). Also, as usual, a small movement of shorebirds began in late April and continued into early May. Most new passerine migrants appeared in early May. The timing of arrivals so far has been fairly normal.
Greater White-fronted Geese made a lot of news in late April. A flock flew over Monashka Bay on 21 Apr (AS), and on 29 Apr, there was a major movement into Chiniak Bay. Early that morning in Bells Flats, the calls of geese overhead were constant (KJ, CJ), and later that day about 375 Greater White-fronts and 40 Cackling Geese accompanied more than 1,500 ducks in Womens Bay (CT, SB, RM). On 30 Apr, Greater White-fronts were common on lawns on the Coast Guard base (BSt). They continued to be common at Womens Bay over the next few days (RE, JP, MK, RM; see photo). A flock of about 12 Greater White-fronts settled down on Mission Lake on 30 Apr (JFin, DF), and also frequented Pearson Cove Park over the next few days (PH, SJ). The last of the wintering Emperor Geese departed their Womens Bay (GC) and Ugak Bay (LM) haunts on the same day…..4 May! A few days earlier, lucky observers watched departing Emperors flying over Lake Louise (PB), and Monashka Bay (LE). Brant made a good showing this spring with good numbers passing through the Kalsin Bay to Cape Chiniak area on 24 Apr (MG, SL, HN, CC). A flock of probable Aleutian Cackling Geese (with conspicuous white neck collars) flew over the College Birding Class at Womens Bay on 25 Apr, but it kept on flying to the southwest, making positive identification impossible. On a very stormy 11 Apr, BSc came across a single swan sitting on the beach at Spruce Cape, not exactly typical swan habitat. Tundra Swans, one of our earliest migrants, continued to move through the area, with ten in Womens Bay on 17 Apr (SPer), two at Kalsin Pond 19-21 Apr (SB, RF, JP, RM), and one on Mission Lake 1-7 May (MMu, JFin, DF, BH, JP). Northern Pintails were a major player in the big 29 Apr waterfowl movement, with an estimated 1,295 at Womens Bay alone, along with 160 Green-winged Teal, and 162 Northern Shovelers (CT, SB, RM). Eurasian Wigeons accompanied American Wigeons into the area this spring, with a maximum count of nine in the three bays on 29 Apr (CT, SB, RM), and six in Hidden Basin on 2 May (LM). Amazingly, this species has never been documented breeding in North America! A flock of six Ring-necked Ducks was on Kalsin Pond on 2 May (College Birding Class), with two remaining through at least 7 May (SS). This species has become increasingly common in the archipelago in recent decades, and will no doubt be found breeding here some day soon. The College Birding Class encountered several flocks of geese on its 2 May field trip, so when another passing V of birds was examined over Womens Bay, some participants were shocked to see high flying Double-crested Cormorants rather than geese. The flock disappeared from view over the mountains to the southwest. Double-crested Cormorants breed as far west as the eastern Aleutians. Wintering Great Blue Herons typically depart the Kodiak area in April, so many late April and even early May records this spring seemed a bit odd. One was seen along the shore of Kalsin Pond (!!!) on 20 April (JP, RF); three (including at least one in breeding plumage) were in Trident Basin on 22 Apr (CT, HN, CC, SL, MC, RM); at least one was in Trident Basin on 29 April (MW, DH, JB); and the last bird of the spring was one photographed in Dog Bay on 5 May DaK). Merlins were seen on 29 Apr in town where they are suspected of nesting (IB); 4 May in cottonwoods near the golf course where they are also suspected of nesting (RM); and 5 May at Middle Bay (MF). The Merlin is the only commonly nesting falcon in the archipelago.

The shorebird migration so far has been normal. We typically see a small numbers of birds, but a nice variety. Some species are through-migrants (eg: Black-bellied Plover), and some are local breeders (eg: Greater Yellowlegs). With some species, it is difficult to determine which are the first migrants, because the species also winters in this area. I do my best. First migrants during the period were: Greater Yellowlegs at Karluk River - 20 Apr (MG); Greater Yellowlegs on the road system – 21 Apr (CR, JP); Wilson’s Snipe - 22 Apr (CR); Black-bellied Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper – 29 Apr (CT, SB, RM); Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit – 30 Apr (JFit, NF, RM; see photo); Short-billed Dowitcher – 2 May (College Birding Class); Least Sandpiper – 6 May (RM). The best places on the road system to see shorebirds are on the muddy and sandy flats at the heads of Womens and Kalsin Bays. The sedge and mud flat across from Kalsin Pond is probably the best place. Remember, you are looking for one of this and five of that…..not large numbers! Another habitat for migrant shorebirds is beaches and capes out Narrow Cape way. A flock of five Pacific Golden-Plovers was atop Narrow Cape on 3 May (SL, RB). An adult Bonaparte’s Gull was being chased mercilessly by Northwestern Crows at Potatopatch Lake on 25 Apr (CT, SB, RM), and what was presumably the same bird remained on Mission Beach for the next two days (TP, RM, JP, DH). The only other Bonaparte’s Gulls seen this spring were the two at Kalsin Bay estuary on 2 May (College Birding Class). While this beautiful little black-headed gull is a common breeder on the adjacent mainland, there is no indication that it breeds in the Kodiak archipelago. An adult Slaty-backed Gull made a one day appearance at the mouth of the Buskin River on 11 Apr (RM). The first Tufted Puffins of spring were seen by LM in Ugak Bay on 28 Apr. By 4 May, dozens surrounded Mary Island at the head of Womens Bay (RM). Horned Puffins, which arrive somewhat later than Tufteds, have not been reported yet. A Short-eared Owl, hit by a car, was found along the Anton Larsen Road on 4 May (PS).

An urban Black-billed Magpie took a liking to the cocoa fiber hanging basket liner material in CH’s yard, and helped itself to quite a bit of it for nest-making in late Apr. NF submitted an interesting video clip that showed several Northwestern Crows taking turns catching small fish, probably sticklebacks, in the creek draining Potatopatch Lake onto Mission Beach on 6 May. A singing Winter Wren was beautifully photographed (see photo) on Whale Island on 27 Apr (DaK). Weeks after MS built a “wren home” in the eaves of her cabin on Anton Larsen Island, a Winter Wren was busily constructing a nest in it. SPes and KM watched an American Dipper along a small creek flowing into Lake Catherine on 11 Apr, and TP and RM watched a dipper carrying nesting material up to the girders under an abandoned bridge across the Buskin River on 26 Apr. The first Hermit Thrush of spring was one in Fort Abercrombie on 2 May (SS). Our huge numbers of wintering Varied Thrushes pretty much disappeared in mid-Apr (JFin, CH, JP, CH, RM). Some of the wintering birds may have returned to the mainland (?), while others no doubt dispersed throughout the Kodiak woods. Although it is a difficult call, because of the large number that overwintered, my guess is that the first spring migrant Fox Sparrow was the singing bird in CT’s yard in Monashka Bay on 16 Apr. Wintering Lincoln’s Sparrows remained near town feeders through 19 Apr (DaK, DeK) and 25 Apr (MMac). There is only one summer record of Lincoln’s Sparrow in the archipelago, although they nest commonly as close to us as Homer. The Rusty Blackbird flock that lived on the Coast Guard base for most of the winter was last seen there on about 19 April (BSt). While White-winged Crossbills were fairly common in the spruce forest, the only cross-billed customers at feeders during the period were Red Crossbills (BO, JFin, MMar), with adults feeding young at the CH (16 Apr), SB (21 Apr), and MMac (26 Apr) feeders. I would be remiss in not adding that SB had a lone White-winged Crossbill land briefly on her porch rail and think about going to her feeder. The only Common Redpoll report was from a Bells Flats feeder in early Apr (SPer, SH).

Paul Banyas, Shirley Berns, Ian Bruce, Ryan Burt, Gary Carver, Margo Connolly, Chad Cook, Libby Eufemio, Rosemary Eufemio, Dale Finlay, Jan Finlay, Josh Fitzgerald, Nate Fitzgerald, Raymond Fletcher, Mary Forbes, Mike Getman, Carolyn Heitman, Patrick Holmes, Steve Honnold, Beverly Horn, David Horn, Sue Jeffrey, Chan Johnson, Katya Johnson, Meghan Kelly, Dave Kubiak, Debra Kubiak, Shelly Lawson, Molly MacIntosh, Rich MacIntosh, Mike Marion, Kevin Murphy, Lynne Murphy, Marti Murray, Hana Nower, Bob Otto, Sara Persselin, Suzanne Peschier, Judy Phillips, Ted Pobud, Jeanne Pontti, Cecil Ranney, Patrick Saltonstall, Bob Scholze, Midge Short, Al Spalinger, Bill Stenberg, Stacy Studebaker, Cindy Trussell, Mark Withrow.

College Birding Class and Friends: Roberta Austring, Shirley Berns, RaeJean Blaschka, Josh Fitzgerald, Nate Fitzgerald, Mary Forbes, Holly Hunter, Sue Jeffrey, Beth Kouremetis, Sara Loewen, Rich MacIntosh, Jeanne Pontti, Chad Pysher, Bill Stenberg, Cindy Trussell, Jill Wittenbrader.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Earth Day Whale Fest Event

On Earth Day—Wednesday, April 22 7:00—8:00pm

A Sea Change - a documentary film about ocean acidification and our changing seas. The film takes the audience to some of the globes most attractive locales and brings life to the subject of ocean acidification. See Trailer of film at this link

Robert Foy, director of the Near Island Research Lab, will answer questions after the film. This a free event is co sponsored by Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Sustainable Kodiak

Location: Gerald C. Wilson Choral Pod, Kodiak High School

Monday, April 13, 2009

Whalefest 2009:

Whale Fest Kodiak is a 10-day long celebration of the return of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales to Alaskan waters. Here on scenic Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, we are privileged enough to have nearly all of this population pass by on their journey north- and many grays remain around until the time comes to go back down south.

Whale Fest Kodiak 2009 will mark the 13th year that the festival has been running. It is not only a hot attraction for locals, but many tourists also travel to Kodiak to take part in the diverse events offered. In the past, events have ranged from everything from scientific lectures to marine mammal-inspired music, from traditional Native Alaskan games to environmental forums.

April 1-30 Whale Fest Ar t Show at The Next Page. Please come view and purchase new ocean inspired creations in any medium by local artists. Contact: Jennifer Ott 486-6164. Location: The Next Page.

April 17 - 29 Childrens Whale Art Show Stop by to view the amazing whale art created by local students. Arranged by Cat DeVries. Location: The High School Foyer in the glass cases.

April 4-May 2 Spill: Alaskan Artists Remember The exhibit is sponsored by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, and curated by Asia Freeman of Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer. It features the original artwork of thirty Alaskan artists, including Kodiak artists Sven Haakanson, Alf Pryor and Antoinette Walker. The opening reception will be Saturday, April 4, from 5 to 7:30 pm. Visitors can enjoy an evening of art and remembrance with free admission, refreshments and the opportunity to meet the Kodiak artists represented in the show. Location: Baranov Museum.

April 23, 24, & 25 ComFish Alaska 2009 Celebrating 50 Years of Commercial Fishing and Processing. A special Maritime Museum photo display of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. WhaleFest Shirts Available at the Public Radio KMXT Booth. Contact: Deb King 486-5557 or Cheryl Nugent 539-2266. Location: New Downtown Convention Center.

Audubon Alaska eBrid Workshop: 20 April 2009

Audubon Alaska, with support from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, has worked hard to develop Alaska eBird, a growing online database that is revolutionizing the way the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Now is your chance to learn how to submit your own observations and to view and explore this vast database of records on bird distributions and abundance. Join us April 20, 2009, for a one-day workshop and discover all Alaska eBird has to offer!

What: An interactive, hands-on eBird workshop with Brian Sullivan from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Sullivan has conducted fieldwork on birds throughout North America for the past 15 years. He is currently project leader for eBird and the Avian Knowledge Network, photographic editor of the Birds of North America Online at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and photographic editor of the journal North American Birds.

The half-day seminar will include collecting data in the field (bring your binoculars), instruction on how to submit your observations, and exploration of the numerous eBird tools valuable to birders and researchers alike. The workshop is open to both new and veteran eBird users. Please feel free to bring all those questions you’ve been waiting to ask.

When: April 20, 2009 from 1:00-4:30pm. Where:Gordon W. Hartlieb Hall (GHH), Room 103. University of Alaska Anchorage Campus.

Cost: This free event is sponsored by Audubon Alaska, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and the University of Alaska Anchorage. For additional information and to register please contact Taldi Walter at(907) 276-7034 or *Space is limited* Registration will be filled on a first come basis. Check out Alaska eBird


The Spring 2009 issue of the Chapter Networker is now available for viewing in a Web and PDF version at

Articles and announcements include:

Think Big with a TogetherGreen Grant
Tools for Chapter
sA Message from John Flicker
"Greenomical" Practices at Chapter Services
Using Facebook as an Organizing Tool: Part II
Habitat for Herons
What are the Birds Telling us About Global Warming?
Chapter Leader Models Success for Audubon Adventures
Keep Track of the Birds in Your Yard All Year
Chapter Discount on Audubon Licenced Products
New Chapter Publication
Chapter Networker Information

Internship at NWR

Do you know a high school student (age 15-18) who has an interest in conservation and has a passion for sharing what they know with others? Kodiak Refuge is looking for high school students to join our summer Visitor Services team!

Kodiak Refuge is seeking to hire three (3) high school students (age 15-18) to join our Visitor Services team at the Kodiak Refuge Visitor Center. Applications are being accepted through the month of April at the Kodiak Refuge Visitor Center (last day for applications is April 30, 2009).

In addition to working at our Visitor Center through the summer months, interns will... Get trained in public outreach and education by staff from Kodiak Refuge, ADF&G Watchable Wildlife Program and Alaska Youth For Environmental Action (AYEA) Meet visitors from around the globe! Get their hands dirty with some biological field work and trails projects in Kodiak Refuge (three trips scheduled) Attend the AYEA state-wide leadership conference in the fall

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call or email.

Tina Shaw
Visitor Center Manager
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
direct phone- 907.487.0282

Monday, March 9, 2009

17th Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

Welcome to the 17th Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. Join us in celebrating spring and the more than 130 species of birds, including over 20 shorebirds, that migrate to Kachemak Bay. This year we also honor the 50th Anniversary of Alaska’s Statehood, as well as the Centennial Anniversary of National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. Enjoy presentations by our two Keynote speakers: Jack Dalton, aYup’ik Storyteller and artist, and Paul Baicich, chair of the Council on Environmental Education’s Bird Education Network.

This year’s theme is Birds in Culture: Our Brothes and Sisters Return. You’ll have numerous opportunities to enjoy food, music and presentations honoring a variety of cultures. Our expert speakers, naturalists and guides will share their extensive wealth of birding knowledge, as they lead you through the many field events, workshops, presentations and boat and kayak tours being offered. And spend your evenings enjoying our great lineup of entertainment for all ages.

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced birder, or even the nonbirder in your group, you’ll enjoy this fun-for-the-entire-family weekend event. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating this very special year!

Happy birding!

Christina M Whiting, Festival Coordinator
c/o the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Committee

Monday, March 2, 2009

State Park Survey

Forward to any Alaska State Park users you know who would be interested.I just took the survey and it only takes about 5 minutes. Best one like this I've seen over the years. Please take five minutes to fill out this survey from Alaska Parks and Recreation.

This statewide opinion survey will help the State of Alaska, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation better understand what Alaskans do for outdoor recreation and how we can meet future recreation demands. Results will become part of a statewide outdoor recreation plan that will guide policy and funding decisions. Please feel free to forward to others.

TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

Hi, everyone. As you know, the application process is open for Year 2 of the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants. If you are interested in applying for a grant, or if you are helping someone apply, please join us for a WebEx session to go over the program goals and answer questions about the online application process.

The session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10 at 1pm EST.

To join the session, please email Flo Miller, Innovation Grants Manager, at You will need to RSVP by this Friday, March 6, so that she can register you as a participant. She will then send you an invitation via WebEx with details on how to join the session. You'll need access to a computer with fairly fast Internet, and a phone to join via conference call.
Please contact Flo with any questions at or 802-505-0839. And if you cannot make this time and would like us to schedule another call the following week, please let us know what timing works best. We are happy to do an evening session if that would be helpful.

We're looking forward to getting some great applications.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2nd Annual Environmental Film Festival, Friday, 27 Feb

Kodiak High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) is co hosting along with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Sustainable Kodiak the 2nd Annual Environmental Film Festival to be held this Friday evening February 27th at the auditorium Coral Pod. Doors open at 6:30. Films will be shown from 7:00 – 10:00 with a half hour intermission. Please join us to enjoy great award winning environmental films, a silent auction, door prizes, Patagonia outdoor wear raffle, complimentary child care and refreshments!

Adults $5.00Students $3.00

Moneys earned will go towards sending KHS’s Envirothon Teams to State Competition in April as well as supporting local marine stewardship programs.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

EVOS Program on Friday, March 20, 2009

There are 5 compelling and surprising stories of long term effects to species and habitats that were not predicted at the time of the settlement in 1991: 2 pods of killer whales continue to struggle from the initial effects of the oil spill; liquid oil was found to be persisting a few inches below the surface of more than half the beaches surveyed in 2001; pink salmon embryos were impacted through the fall of 1993- some four years past the spill; sea otters populations in the northern Knight island area struggled well into the second decade. Herring remain depressed following a population collapse after the spill, although scientists can not say for certain what the role of the spill was in their collapse or lack of recovery since.

All of these impacts were surprising to scientists following the spill; documentation of long term effects were generally lacking in previous spills, but no spill in history has been followed as closely, or as long as the Exxon Valdez spill. Collectively, these findings, from several groups of researchers, have changed the way we assess and measure the long term impacts of a spill, and these findings will likely affect the strategies of prevention and clean-up after a spill for a long time.

Dr. Stanley “Jeep” Rice will present these long term observations. Jeep was originally hired in 1971 at the Auke Bay Lab in Juneau of the National Marine Fisheries Service as a toxicologist to first work on the Environmental Impact Statement for then proposed TransAlaska Pipeline. With approval of the pipeline, Jeep gathered together a team of biologists and chemists and initiated studies to determine toxicity of crude oil to Alaskan species, and to establish baseline sites in Prince William Sound to document the low level of oil contamination. The team was productive for more than a decade prior to the spill, and as experts in the field of oil toxicity, were thrust into the sound quickly in response to the spill. Baseline sites were re-sampled before and after the spill contaminated them; and several damage assessment studies were initiated in the first summer of the spill. Most agencies lacked chemical and oil expertise, and we became partners in many studies. Twenty years later, our group has published more than 150 papers, and we have lead or been involved with some of the highest profile studies. Our lab continues to be the primary laboratory for analyzing for oil contamination and maintains a database of thousands of samples dating back to the 1970s prior to the oil spill. Today, we continue with lingering oil and herring studies; our interests, along with the EVOS Trustee council interest has evolved over time, from species specific damage assessment to ecosystem recovery. We still have concerns for the recovery of killer whales, contamination in the intertidal zone, lingering exposure to sea otters, and the lack of recovery in herring is perplexing.

Kodiak Events Planned for the 20th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS)

March 14th – Saturday Kodiak Maritime Museum
“Kodiak Out Loud!” Seven fisher poets, writers and musicians present original poetry, stories and songs about the sea. – EVOS Theme
Location: Kodiak Auditorium
Time: 7 p.m.
Contact Person: Toby Sullivan – 907-360-8837

March 17th - Tuesday KMXT Public Radio
“Talk of the Rock”
Interview with Dr. Stanley (Jeep) Rice, expert physiologist/toxicologist on the impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Location: KMXT Studios
Time: 12:30 – 1:00pm
Contact person: Jay Barrett – KMXT

March 20th – Friday Kodiak Maritime Museum
“Images of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Kodiak Island”
Community reception and display of images and video of the oil spill shot during the summer of 1989 in Kodiak.
Location: Kodiak College – Rooms 127, 128, 129
Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Toby Sullivan, Director of the KMM introduces exhibit)
Contact person: Toby Sullivan – 486-0384
Free Pizza and soft drinks served from 5:00pm – 6:00pm

NOTE: Community Reception hosted by Kodiak Maritime Museum, Kodiak Audubon Society, Friends of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Marine Conservation Council

March 20th – Friday Kodiak College and Maritime Museum
Dr. Duane A. Gill, Professor of Sociology, Mississippi State University
Speaking on sociological/economic impacts of the EVOS
Location: Kodiak College – Rooms 127, 128, 129
Time: 6:00pm – 7:15pm

March 20th – Friday EXXON Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council
“Alaska’s Oil Spill” New 15-minute documentary on the EVOS.
Location: Kodiak College – Rooms 127, 128, 129
Time: 7:20pm – 7:40pm
Contact person: Stacy Studebaker – 486-6498

March 20th – Friday Kodiak Audubon Society
Friends of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Speaker: Dr. Stanley Rice – NOAA Juneau, Auk Bay Lab
Physiologist & Toxicologist
“Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: Long Term Persistence and Long Term Effects”
Dr. Rice will present a PowerPoint lecture on the long-term persistence and impacts resulting from the EVOS on killer whales, herring, pink salmon and sea otters as well as the toxicity of lingering oil.
Location: Kodiak College – Rooms 127, 128, 129
Time: 7:45pm – 9:00pm
Contact person: Stacy Studebaker – 486-6498

9:00 – 10:00 – Socializing and remembrance while looking at the images

March 21st – Saturday Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council & Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Book signing of EVOS Oral Histories and open house
Location: Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Special Guests: John Devens & Stan Jones of the PWSRCAC and local
Kodiak residents featured in the book.
Time: 11:00am – 2:00pm
Contact person: Tina Shaw–487-2626, Linda Robinson: robinson@pwsrcac

March 21st – Saturday Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

Speaker: Tim Richardson – Director of Government Affairs -American Land Conservancy
Former Director of the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust
Author of: Kodiak Bears and the Exxon Valdez
Tim has helped to direct land purchases and conservation easements for habitat restoration throughout the archipelago.
Location: Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Time: 7:00pm
Contact person: Tina Shaw – 487-2626

April 4 – April 30 Kodiak Historical Society & Baranov Museum
Sponsored by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council and the Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer
“SPILL” A Commemorative Exhibition of artwork by 30 Alaskan artists. “SPILL” will showcase the artist’s individual interpretations of the EVOS as informed by diverse cultural values, experiences, beliefs, and artistic passions.
Location: Baranov Museum
Time: TBA
Contact person: Katie Oliver – 486-5920

Friday, January 30, 2009

Reduce Reuse Recycle

On Thursday, 29 Jan, Sustainable Kodiak hosted a panel discussion on the new changes coming to Kodiak's waste management program. Kodiak Island Borough adopted a new Solid Waste Management Plan, and it contains recommendations to increase the amount of recycling and decrease the amount of waste headed to our landfill.

At the current rate, our landfill will be FULL in 2014. To combat this, panel members and Sustainable Kodiak members encourage us to:

REDUCE: Be thoughtful consumers: purchase items with less packaging
REUSE: Reuse items: be creative, be artistic, pay it forward.
RECYCLE: Check out Threhold Recycling's list of Acceptable Items (below)

The Solid Waste Advisory Board is looking for volunteers to help with public outreach to educate our fellow residents on the three Rs and make a cultural shift in how we handle waste in this pristine environment in which we live. To understand how this committee will conduct outreach, click the hyperlink above to read the plan and view the recommendations. To volunteer, contact Sustainable Kodiak.

Accepted Items
Corrugated Cardboard (OCC)
Boxes and sheet cardboard
Mixed Paperboard
any non corrugated cardboard, or OCC with shiny finish
Office Paper
White printer paper, unused or with ink
Daily newspaper or similar type of paper
Shiny finished pages
Hard or paperbacked
Any file folders
Stationary paper
Mixed colored paper
Shipping, mailing, interoffice With or without windows
Junk mail/Voting pamphlets
Any mail that doesn’t interest you, please don’t throw away
Carbonless forms
Fill-in forms without a carbon form
Bond paper
Ink-jet printer paper
Manila folders
File folders
Store receipts
Usually falls under stationary paper
Blueprint paper
Architectural layout of building
Styrofoam packing peanuts
These are available to the public from us at no cost for reuse
HDPE#2 Natural
White/clear in color, usually milk jugs
HDPE#2 Colored
Variety of color’s, primarily soap and detergent bottles
PET#1 Clear
Transparent or semi-transparent, water, soda, juice bottles
OTHER plastics-Various Number codes
Plastics without specific codes, we take all plastics!!!
Plastic Film
Bags, Shrink wrap, Bubble wrap, etc.
Soda, beer, juice cans aluminum siding, gutters
Tin cans
Soup cans, coffee cans
Cell phones
Old cell phones-collected for school funding
Ink-jet cartridges
Used ink-jet cartridges-collected for school funding

Tires: $.30 per pound charge, drop off at plant during business hours
Electronics: $.50 per pound charge, drop off at plant during business hours
Appliances: $25.00 refrigerant removal fee, all others are free of charge
Light bulbs: $1.50 per pound charge, drop off at plant during business hours
Batteries: All household and car batteries, free of charge
Document destruction: $.15 per pound charge, We have a commercial shredder at the plant

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teshekpuk Lake Birding

Teshekpuk Lake Birding Contest!

1. Click the link below.
2. Watch the video.
3. Using the email link provided on the website, email them a list of all the birds seen or heard in the video

Alaska Audubon will send you a prize!

Tell your friends and encourage fellow Chapter members, colleagues, relatives, and birding buddies, to pass it on, too!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birding Classes Begin 30 Jan!

We welcome students to audit or to take the class for credit. There is no homework or exams... we just require a field notebook for those who take the class for credit. Please join us, or pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested.

Remember that students over the age of 65 can take the class for free and that anyone who has taught for the college during the past year can use their free class for themselves or a family member (spouse or children).

For more information
1. Contact Cindy Trussell (907) 486-1224 or
2. Register on-line at or at Kodiak College

ACA/ACV Legislative Fly-In 2009!

What: The Fly-In comprises two days of legislative & grassroots advocacy training, followed by one day of lobby visits with legislators at the Capitol. Each year, the Legislative Fly-In brings together conservation-minded folks from around the state to learn about the Legislature and conservation issues in Alaska, hone their activism skills, and meet their legislators to lobby on specific conservation issues. Space is limited - Fly-In participants must apply and be accepted (see below).

When and Where: Fly-In begins promptly at 12:00 pm Sunday, March 8th in Juneau and ends with a lobby visit to your legislators (if available) and a Legislative Lunch Reception on Tuesday, March 10th. See the attached Draft Agenda for more information. Cost: This is a free service we offer to Alaskans who want to lobby on conservation issues! What a deal! Fill out the Fly-In Application (see below) and if you’re accepted, purchase a ticket through Alaska Airlines using the constituent fare, bring us the receipt and we’ll reimburse your airfare costs after the event. Also, if you need lodging while in Juneau, we have reserved a number of spaces in the Juneau Hostel available to you free of charge. More about ACA and ACV: Visit our websites: and

Application: Please fill out your online application at:

If you have any trouble viewing this form, please email Sue ( for an application copy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Important Bird Area Signs

In Decembrer 2008, our Important Bird Area (IBA) signs that went up to inform the public that Chiniak Bay is an IBA of Global Significance. These area hosts large wintering populations of three birds of conservation concern status: Steller's Eider, Emperor Geese, and large flocks of Black Oystercatchers.

Special Thanks to Rob Greene at the Department of Transportation who posted the signs at Women's Bay and Kalsin Bay. The Kodiak State Parks also posted one at the mouth of the Buskin River. All three sign sites are on the rim of Chiniak Bay which provides excellent habitat for these vulnerable species of very special birds.

* Note: We do not have a picture of the sign at Buskin River.