Day trip to Homer

I have some use-or-lose leave to burn before the end of June so I took today off and zoomed down to Homer and back.

Well, I say zoomed, but it felt like about 80% of the roadway between Anchorage and Homer is under construction. I suspect I’m not going to be doing a lot of Kenai Peninsula trips this summer. At any rate, most people don’t regard Homer as a day trip from Anchorage because it’s about a 4 hour drive one-way and usually a lot to do and see in Homer, so okay, I have to confess I’m quite a bit of a weirdo for doing this. So be it. I like driving. Except when 80% of the mileage is under construction.

Savannah sparrow. You can see a bit of the yellow eyebrow stripe here.

My first stop on the way down was at the mouth of Deep Creek where it enters Cook Inlet. There’s a state recreation area there—later in the summer it will be crammed full of campers with folks going fishing for halibut—but at this time of year it’s relatively deserted except for tons of bald eagles. And a few fox sparrows and savannah sparrows.

fox sparrow getting some feathers ruffled by the breeze.
bald eagle enjoying some brunch at Deep Creek.

From there it was on in to Homer, with a couple of stops on the Spit, at the Beluga Slough overlook by the airport, and a bit of a walk along Bishop’s Beach. I finally spotted my first Wilson’s snipe at Beluga—I’ve heard them a few times this year, just not seen any. I also got to see my first black-legged kittiwakes of the year all over the docks on the Spit.

black-legged kittiwakes nesting on a pier, undeterred by the spiky things set down to keep birds from roosting.

I’ll confess though, that with the wind picking up and the clouds rolling in, my walk at Bishop’s Beach, even though it’s beautiful, was turning me cold so I tanked up the car and headed back home. I didn’t see much in the way of bird life on the road home but I saw three moose and kind of gross and sad, a dead beached whale.

glaucous-winged gull on the harbor jetty


Today’s bird list: common ravens, northwestern crows, black-billed magpies, mew gulls, herring gulls, glaucous winged gulls, black-legged kittiwakes, Arctic terns, bald eagles, fox sparrows, savannah sparrows, song sparrows, orange-crowned warblers, American robins, green-winged teal, northern pintails, greater scaup, northern shovelers, dark-eyed juncos, Canada geese, tree swallows, rock pigeons, sandhill cranes. So maybe not the most productive of days given the geographical distances and environments covered, but not a bad day off work.

bald eagle perched on one of the navigation pilings at the end of the Spit.

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