THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2017
Kenai River Float Trip – Full Day
Five drift boats, complete with local expert on each, will help you find all of our feathered friends. $150/person. On this trip one can see 60-70 species of birds. The river can be chilly in May so dress in layers and warmly. There are no restrooms along the route except at the start and end points.
Many thanks to the guides for donating their time and services.
Kenai Wildlife Refuge Walk – 8:00 – 10:00 AM
A walk in the woods near the Kenai Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. This easy to moderate 2 mile walk is through a boreal forest and marsh habitats. Meet at the Kenai Refuge Visitor Center in Soldotna. American Three Toed Woodpecker, Brown Creepers, and Golden Crowned Kinglet are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
Festival Introduction – 6:30 – 7:45 PM Kenai Visitor Center
Birds of a feather flock together! Meet fellow birders and enjoy a short presentation on what you may see, where to go and how to get there. Over 180 species of birds have been documented using the Kenai River estuary. Seventy species were seen in one 24 hour period during the festival.
Stay to play Bird Trivia - teams will be made up at the event or bring a team with you.
FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017
Kasilof River Float Trip – 7 AM – 3 PM
One raft complete with oarsman and birding guide will venture down the Kasilof River during this full day birding float. $100 per person. This trip starts in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge and ends at the Sterling Highway Bridge. The area is not developed and a nice easy float through undeveloped lands.
Centennial Park Walk – Soldotna 8:00 – 11:00 AM
Walk in the riparian woodlands along the Kenai River. This is an easy to moderate 2 mile hike in a Soldotna City Park. Meet at Soldotna Visitor Center. Orange-crowned Warbler, Merlin, Varied Thrush and Ruby-crowned Kinglet are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
Kasilof Flats Hot Spot – 2:00 – 3:30 PM
The Kasilof River north bank mud flats are one of the best Kenai Peninsula shorebird viewing spots. Biologist Laura Burke will help ID thousands of tough shorebirds. Make sure to arrive near 2 PM as the tide covers the flats quickly.
Kenai Flats Hot Spot – 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Join Ken Tarbox and other local experts at a special shorebird hotspot. A small pond next to Cannery Road provides excellent shorebird views and photo opportunities.
Kenai Visitor Center for the following two events
Peeps Art Show Awards – 6:30 – 7:15 PM
The PEEPS Art Show artists and recognition of their work will take place at the Kenai Visitor Center.
A Visitor from our local Area - 7:15 to 8:15 PM
Our special guest this night is a boreal owl from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center. Children love owls so bring the kids and enjoy a presentation on one of our resident owls.
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017
24-Hour Midnight Sun Big Sit – 6:00 PM – 6:00 AM 5/21
Participate in the only 24-hour Big Sit in the land of the midnight sun. All are welcome at the Kenai Wildlife Viewing Platform. Come anytime and stay as long as you like. Past years have spotted 70+ bird species with moose, caribou, harbor seals and coyote joining us on the Kenai River estuary.
No binoculars? No spotting scope? No problem. There will be lots of gear to share with new birders. This is truly a great time to learn from local experts.
Bishop Creek Walk – 7:30 – 9:00 AM
Approximately 20 miles N of Kenai on North Kenai Rd. Park and meet at Bishop Cr. Day Use Parking Area. Fairly easy 1 mile round trip on narrow trail through damp mature forest and onto Cook Inlet beach near mouth of Bishop Creek. Northern Waterthrush, Fox Sparrow, and Hermit Thrush are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
North Peninsula Recreational Area Trails Walk – 9:30 – 11:30AM
Approximately 10 miles north of Kenai on North Kenai Rd. at mile marker 23.4. Park and meet at Nikiski Pool Parking Lot. Easy 2 mile round trip walk on well-maintained trail through brushy forest to a small lake. Pine Grosbeak, Boreal Chickadee and Swainson’s Thrush are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Children’s Program 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Enjoy some fine feathered fun with outdoor exploration and take-home arts and crafts. Pre-registration is required by contacting 907-260-2820.
A Walk in the Woods – 1:30 – 3:00 PM – Funny River road
A major fire in 2014 created ideal habitat for woodpeckers and flycatchers. Local birder Cyndie Avery will lead an easy walk on a closed to vehicles dirt road to look for boreal species.
Keynote Speaker – Kenai Visitor Center – 7:00 – 9:00 PM.
Lynn Barber will talk about her adventures of doing an Alaska Big Year.. Lynn has travelled far and wide in Alaska to see over 300 species of Alaskan birds. She will detail how she did it, the effort to find some rare birds, and of course the best place to find Alaskan birds.
Lynn Barber started birding at the age of 7. In 2005, she broke the Texas big year record with 522 species, and in 2008, she tallied 723 bird species in the ABA Area. An account of her ABA Big Year, entitled Extreme Birder: One Woman’s Big Year, was published in the spring of 2011. While living in North Carolina, Lynn was active in Wake County Audubon and on the board of the Carolina Bird Club. Moving to Texas in 2000, she was active in the Fort Worth Audubon Society, serving as its president for 3 years. She is a life member of the Texas Ornithological Society, and became its president in April 2009. She now lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017
Morgan’s Landing Walk – 8:00 – 10:00AM
Approximately 8 miles east of Soldotna off Sterling Highway near Sterling, AK. Park and meet at State of Alaska Parks Office at Morgan’s Landing. This is an easy to moderate 1 mile round trip hike down to the Kenai River. Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson’s Snipe and Lincoln’s Sparrow are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
Moose River Shorebird, Waterfowl, and Swan walk – 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Moose River near Sterling, AK
Join Cyndie Avery at an exclusive Moose River birding hot spot. This location is great for new birders to see a good diversity of birds at one location. Easy 100 foot walk to the River. Meet at Moosequitos Bar parking lot.
Backyard Birding Potluck – 12:30 – 3:30 PM – Marlow’s on the Kenai
Bring a dish and enjoy the beauty and the birds at Marlow’s on the Kenai River. This beautiful spot on the Kenai River always has good birds, fun activities including children activities, and good fellowship.
- At the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai there will be information on the Festival, checklists and maps to the various sites. Also information is posted to the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council web page at http://kenaipeninsula.org/kenai-peninsula-birding-festival
- The walks try to start right on the scheduled time so it is advisable to arrive 5-10 minutes earlier than the posted time.
- It can be chilly on some of the mornings so dress warmly.
- The length of the walks are listed as maximum distances. If you cannot make it that far there are numerous options for leaving the group and getting back safely to your vehicle.