by KTNA Staff ~ May 5th, 2014
What was remarkable to birders during this year’s Talkeetna-Trapper Creek Birdathon was the contrast between the summer-like temperatures around seventy degrees, and lack of birdsong variety, even though the trees were beginning to leaf out. Participants also theorized about the cause of the hazy skies, and slapped at large numbers of snow mosquitoes. The twenty-four hour event, in its twenty-second year, is an informal competition, as well as a group effort, to find all the resident and migrating bird species within the count circle.
Thirty-three birders turned in a group total of 61 species. “Green” birders Bill FitzGerald and Robert Ambrose biked and hiked their way to the crowns, with 40 species, one more than their closest competitors.
Wade Hopkins found a perched peregrine falcon near a nest, he believes, north of Talkeetna. It was the first time a peregrine had been sighted on Birdathon. Hopkins was also the only person to list a yellow-rumped warbler. A few people managed to find common redpolls, a few sparrows showed up, and waterfowl were well represented. Roger Robinson had the only sighting of a pine grosbeak, which landed at his feet in his backyard.
During the 350 birder-hours logged on count day, participants also watched otters mating, otters feeding on water plants, saw beavers and moose, and heard the first wood frogs of the season.