64 species, 10,492 individual birds seen during Homer’s annual Christmas bird count

Forty-two volunteers participated in Homer’s annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, five watching feeders in their own yard and the others out in the field.

The weather was not too cooperative with icy walking, limited visibility for most of the day and resulting decreased available daylight hours, but many were expressing the same thought, “We’ve seen much worse!”

A total of 64 species were seen on the Count Day (Saturday, Dec. 17).

Highlights included a White-throated sparrow found at a feeder near Crittenden Street, a belted kingfisher found in Beluga Slough near the culvert from the lake, and a single sanderling found among the Rock sandpipers on the Homer Spit.

Chukars, a colorful gamebird related to a pheasant, were found at a residence out East End Road, though possibly may not count as an official species due to their probable domestic escapee status.

Three additional species were seen during the Count Week (three days before and three days after Count Day): snow bunting, merlin, and great-horned owl.

There were 10,492 individual birds counted.

Most numerous species were mallards (3,422), rock sandpipers (1,700), and common goldeneye (820).

Only one common murre was seen this year, compared to the die-off that was developing at this time last year when more than 200 were counted. (In winter, murres are typically out at sea instead of here in the bay.)

For a complete report of species and numbers seen, check the Kachemak Bay Birders’ website, kachemakbaybirders.org.

A big thanks to all the volunteers who participated, to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for letting us use their space for our meeting and potluck, the local Kachemak Bay Birders, and to Dave Erikson for coordinating yet another Christmas Bird Count.

It was indeed a great day to bird!

Lani Raymond is a part of the Kachemak Bay Birders.