May 1: Out on the Bay

Karl Stoltzfus and Mallory Primm participated in the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project by boat and scouted the bay for shorebirds. Here’s what we found (as told by Mallory):

surf birds on the Homer Harbor jetty

After several sunny days in Homer, we left the Harbor under low clouds on gray water. The rock jetty leaving the harbor offered our first exciting sighting: surf birds! Two groups, for a total of about 100 surf birds, were resting on the rocks.

We took some time to notice the Common loons, Red-breasted mergansers, scoters (Surf and White-winged), Long-tailed ducks, and Horned grebes hanging out on the west side of the Homer Spit before heading south across the bay.  We spotted a few different groups of Red-necked phalaropes flying and on the water, as well as plenty of sea otters.  In a group of Marbled murrelets on the water, we spotted a Kittlitz murrelet (a first for me)!  Karl taught me how to look for the white eye of a Kittlitz, which stands out, compared to the black hooded appearance of the Marbled murrelet.  And there it was – white eye showing! 

We spotted four black oystercatchers (two singles, and one pair) as we circled the rocky outcroppings on the south side of the bay before circling back toward Gull Island. 

Never disappointing, Gull Island was full of life!  Rafts of common murres, Black-legged kittiwakes galore, and a few Pigeon guillemots mixed in.  Some sea lions poked their heads out to see what the fuss was all about, and an elderly sea otter paid us no mind.  A day on Kachemak Bay is always a great birding day!  

Karl Stoltzfus is on the Shorebird Festival Planning Committee, participates in the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project and owns and operates Bay Excursions Water Taxi. You may have met him on a boat tour during the Festival.

Mallory Primm is the Festival Coordinator and works as a Naturalist Guide. You may have met her at the registration table last year at the Festival.