Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:02 PM on Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bird count wet, but still inspiring

We want to say a huge thank you to Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center for the use of its facility and help with the Christmas bird count.

Thanks also to the help of so many people counting; this is citizen science at its best. We estimate possibly close to 40 people participated, some covering an area and some feederwatchers.

There was success also because of excellent leadership; this was Dave Erickson's 36th year leading it. (He's done it every single year.)

We found 64 species for sure and may pick up one or two more from feederwatchers who haven't reported in yet. Rough-legged hawk and chestnut-sided chickadee were the least expected. Unfortunately we did not find the emperor goose or the McKay's bunting which we were hoping for.

It was a very wet and blustery day. Rain/snow down in town and very wet snow up in the higher elevations, so there was not good visibility. Many birds were hunkering down. Also, there were icy conditions underfoot to deal with. But as our motto reads: "It's always a good day to bird."

And as to my own day, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. (because snow was sliding off the roof) and heard a Great Horned Owl. I was instantly 100 percent awake so I went down and listened out the back door to be sure. Yes it was first bird. Somewhat clear skies with the moon shining down on all those bunnies probably. Also inspiring to me about 2 in the afternoon when things were getting quite dim, when the rain was pouring and the wind had whipped up was spotting an American robin in the top of a tree. There he was. You just have to smile when you see a robin in December, especially when you're all wet and cold.

Lani Raymond

Kachemak Bay Birders