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#ABArare – Dusky Thrush/Brambling/Black-tailed Gull – Alaska

There are currently three “good” birds in southcentral Alaska, one Code 3 and two Code 4s. Here’s a quick rundown, going from north to south:

Dusky Thrush

Starting in Anchorage, we have a Dusky Thrush (Code 4), the longest-staying bird of the bunch. It was first found by Thede Tobish on Dec 10 in a group of American Robins in the Turnagain Heights neighborhood northeast of Ted Stevens International Airport. It’s been seen off and on since then, moving throughout the area. After an absence, Tobish refound the bird on Feb 19. Check out the AK Birding email group for the lastest sightings.

Nearby, it’s been a good year for owls around the airport, particularly for Great Grays. Again, check AK Birding for the latest reports. Anchorage is a large city and has much of what you would expect in similar-sized towns in the Lower 48.

Brambling

Moving southwest to Homer, a female Brambling (Code 3) has been seen at feeders east of town on Feb 15, 18, and 19. It was seen at George Matz’s feeders this past weekend with a flock of Redpolls and Pine Siskins. Sightings have been sporadic, and the Brambling is not always with the Redpoll/Siskin flock. There are a number of feeders in the area, and it may be visiting others throughout the day.

Brambling 1a Homer copy
Photo by George Matz

Brambling is a “regular vagrant” to the Bering Sea region but much less common on the mainland, though there was a rash of sightings in the Pacific Northwest region earlier this winter, plus one was seen in Homer last winter, too.

Homer can be reached by road or air from Anchorage, and there are several hotels and restaurants in town. George Matz is Keeper of the Bird and can be emailed at [email protected]

Black-tailed Gull

Continuing on further southwest, we come to the final bird of this report, a first-cycle Black-tailed Gull (Code 4) found at the mouth of the Buskin River, south of the town of Kodiak on Kodiak Island. Rich Macintosh found it on Feb 19 and saw it again at the same location on Feb 20.

Kodiak is accessible by air from Anchorage and by ferry from Homer. There are several hotels and B&Bs to choose from for lodging. Macintosh has volunteered to be Keeper of the Bird. Email him at [email protected] for updates.

Black-tailed Gull +Kodiak+2-19-12 copy

Photo by Rich Macintosh

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
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