The “green” birding team of Robert Ambrose and Billy FitzGerald once again topped the list for most species identified during the twenty-four hour Talkeetna/ Trapper Creek Birdathon held over the weekend. Ambrose and FitzGerald biked 38 miles and walked 2 miles during their birding day, which, at nineteen-and-a-half hours long, was a little short on sleep. They found 49 species.
Most of the thirty-six birders who participated met Saturday evening around a beach fire to compile the cumulative list and swap stories. Many had visited the Dale Saunders Crane Sanctuary in Trapper Creek, which not only had a couple hundred sandhill cranes calling and dancing, but hundreds of northern pintail ducks also feeding on barley. Participants enjoyed seeing the unusual sight of large flocks of ducks as they rose and circled when a northern harrier hawk or eagle flew over.
Notably absent were common loons and belted kingfishers, and scarce were common redpolls, but American robins were everywhere, and many species of ducks were seen. A couple birders recorded golden-crowned sparrows in the Talkeetna townsite, and a hermit thrush and hawk owl, both unusual for the Birdathon list, were also turned in. The group total of species seen was 65, a lower tally than was recorded for many of the past fifteen years.