May 17, 2012 | Volume 42, No.20

'Birdathon' spotters count 77 species

Upper Lynn Canal birders identified 77 species in the annual “Birdathon” that ran April 29 to May 5.

Participants were to observe and identify as many different species of birds as possible in a consecutive, 24-hour period, covering the Chilkat, Chilkoot and Ferebee watersheds from the Canadian border to Seduction Point.

Pam Randles, education coordinator for Takshanuk Watershed Council, said the eulachon run helped produce some unusual findings.

“We had quite a few pelagic cormorants,” Randles said. “They’re usually out to sea, and they’re usually farther out than here, but because the eulachon run was going, they came inland. This was on Pyramid Island, and at the same time, I saw an osprey, which we don’t often see.”

The tally of 77 species was one below the all-time record, she said. Skye Posey was the junior winner, listing 34 species. Randles was the senior winner, with 51 species, and Mario Benassi and a crew of youth Chilkat Forest Investigators won as a team, identifying 56 species.

“My focus, because of the inauguration of the bird observatory, was to try and find migratory hotspots – areas where there are lots and lots of migratory birds,” Randles said.