Waders, waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, alcids, etc.

This section is for notes on the diverse group of resident and migrant species we call “waterbirds.” Generally long-lived species, typically portrayed as branches off the lower half of the order Aves. From the perspective of a pilot, these are the families you really don’t want to see up-close on approach to the runway. Here’s some thoughts on the reaction of gulls to smaller, unpeopled aircraft.

Coming home from Hoonah in late April, 2015, Cathy and I (RC) swung out to the Industrial Boulevard wetland access to see how migration was progressing. She brought along her new Kowa 88mm spotscope, and although I was traveling with only the little fixed-28mm Ricoh GR that I bought for drone photography, that turned out to be the perfect combination for “digiscoping.” Although we haven’t purchased an eyepiece attachment, I was able to hold the camera against the lens frame with a rubber band, taking my hands away long enough for some steady stills and video. Very cooperative migrants (straight up from a National Wildlife Refuge?) also helped.

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Common Birds of Southeast Alaska


Grab a pair of binoculars and head outside with this pocket Discovery Guide. With hand drawn illustrations, this guide clearly identifies most of the birds you’re apt to see in Southeast, from the belted kingfisher to the marbled murrelet.  And it’s laminated, in the off chance it rains.

Common Tracks Guide

Tracking has been a core activity in Discovery programs for years.  This pocket guide provides tracking tips for common mammals and birds of Southeast, helping students, teachers, and budding naturalists read the signs of non-human inhabitants in the landscape.


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You can purchase a physical copy, or make a donation below.

Hotspots: Bird Survey of Mendenhall Wetlands (April 2002 to May 2003)

This report is the culmination of eighteen bird surveys conducted in the Mendenhall Wetlands, an area widely recognized as an important habitat for migrating birds.  The survey results are complimented by GIS maps, graphs, and extensive habitat descriptions.  Looking towards the future, this report also addresses concerns about habitat use and destruction in the Wetlands.

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The Mendenhall Wetlands: a globally recognized Important Bird Area

The Mendenhall Wetlands have long been recognized as an important habitat for a large variety of birds.  This book provides an exhaustive picture of this federally recognized “Important Bird Area.”  It begins with a brief history of how the wetlands came to fall under environmental protection, and goes on to describe the birds that call the area home. You’ll also find information on vegetation, mammals, invertebrates, and ecological interactions in the wetlands.  The pages are complimented by wonderful color photographs of birds.

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Wildlife “Out the Road”

This is a report from Richard Carstensen  to the Southeast Alaska Land Trust on habitats and wildlife use of glacially-rebounding valleys from 25 to 28-mile Glacier Highway in Juneau. They call this area “risen valleys,” and in the report you can trace animal use and habitat descriptions for this remarkable portion of Southeast Alaska. This report contains extensive habitat descriptions, photographs, and animal descriptions.

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