May 8: Out on the Bay

Obervations by Karl Stoltzfus:

I was planning to go to Mud Bay and Glacier Spit today, but as is usually the case during Shorebird Festival weekend, the wind is out of the Northeast.  So, I took the M/V Torega to the west side of the Spit, Cohen Island and Gull Island.


There were lots of Black-legged kittiwakes gathering nesting materials on both sides of the Homer harbor, around the docks. 

No shorebirds on the jetty today but the low tide is obvious here – one of the lowest of the year: an impressive -5.5 feet today!  Too low to head to the base of the spit – there are rocks there as big as a small house!

A raft of murres

I spotted some Kittlitz’s murrelets on the west side of the Spit, near the green can buoy before heading off to check out some diving kittiwakes.  By the time I got to them, the kittiwakes were done diving, but there were Common and Pacific loons, Marbled murrelets, Common murres, Pigeon guillemots and a lone Black scoter.

Heading over to Cohen Island, I had to stop and watch a Humpback whale break three times!  I saw two other Humpbacks there as well – it felt close watching the whales only a half mile away.   

On the west side of Cohen Island, there were about 100 sea otters near Hat Rock.  But, no other shorebirds – where are they!

Finally, some Surfbirds on the Lancashire Rocks.  I couldn’t get a close look because of the very low tide.  And I could hear Black turnstones, but haven’t seen them yet!


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