by Deborah Brocke ~ May 10th, 2011
The group of Talkeetna and Trapper Creek birders who gathered around a beach fire Saturday evening turned in a collective list of 69 species for the annual Birdathon event.
One of last year’s winners, Robert Ambrose, claimed the highest number counted, with 52 species, so the “crown” went back home with him. He was joined for most of his birding hours by second place birder Bill FitzGerald. Both of the men birded entirely by bicycle and on foot. Ambrose was the only birder to see a long-tailed jaeger, and the pair spotted a golden eagle and heard a saw-whet owl.
Ambrose said some of his favorite moments were watching horned grebes doing their courtship dance, and getting good views of a Eurasian wigeon and harlequin duck. Those species and many more were seen from the gravel bar near Main Street in Talkeetna.
Peg Foster and Cathy Teich had a count of 47 species, adding a new duck to the twenty-year Birdathon list: a black scoter. There have been a total of 125 species seen over the years.
Robin Song went home with the magpie pin, having been the first to find one Friday evening.
Participants also reported finding wood frogs, voles, a cavorting group of muskrats, a huge beaver, at least a couple moose, and a very large black bear while birding.
Photos by Robin Song