THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
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. The drift area is from the outlet of Skilak Lake to Bing's Landing - weather permitting. Many thanks to the guides for donating their time and services.
Limited to 15 people
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 the Soldotna Recreational Center on K-Beach Rd. Merlin, Orange-crowned Warbler, Arctic Tern and Ruby-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 18, 2018
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/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. Limited to 4 people.
North Peninsula Area Trails Walks – 8:00 – 11:00AM
Go approximately 10 miles north of Kenai on North Kenai Rd. Turn left at mile marker 23.4 and meet at Nikiski Pool Parking Lot. Easy 2 mile round trip walk on well-maintained trail through a brushy forest to a small lake. After this initial walk the group will drive north to Captain Cook State Park and reassemble at Discovery Picnic area to hike Discovery Campground Trail. If time permits we may also walk at Stormy Lake swim area. Northern Waterthrush, Boreal Chickadee, Fox Sparrow and Hermit Thrush are possible. Led by George and Bev Kirsch.
Kenai Flats Hot Spot – 2:00 – 3:30 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.
Kasilof Flats Hot Spot – 3:30 – 5:00 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 3:30 PM as the tide covers the flats quickly.
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 raven from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center. Children love live birds so bring the kids and enjoy a presentation on one of our resident birds.
SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018
24-Hour Midnight Sun Big Sit – 6:00 PM – 6:00 PM 5/20
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.
Kenai Wildlife Refuge Walk – 8:00 – 11:00 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 New Kenai Refuge Visitor Center near Soldotna. American Three-toed Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, and Golden-crowned Kinglet are possible. The first part of the walk will be on the Keen-Eye Trail followed by other trails as time permits. 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.
Bird Photography Basics – Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center 11:00 am to noon.
Join nature photographer Jamin Hunter Taylor for an informative lecture on the finer points of bird photography. You will learn some of his refined tools, tips, and techniques for getting stunning bird photos. This lecture will cover apparel, field gear, what makes a good composition, what photos to keep and which to delete, and much more. This lecture will also include a slide show of some of his favorite bird photos and the story behind them. All ages and skill level are welcomed to the presentation.
Bird Photography Walk 1:00 PM at North Peninsula Recreational Area.
Join nature photographer Jamin Hunter Taylor for a walk focused on getting some beautiful photos of a variety of species of birds. You will need a camera with a zoom lens as well as a good working knowledge of your camera for this trip. Being still and quite is essential to getting good bird photos, so this walk is limited to adults and teens with an interest and enthusiasm for photography. Please note that muted earth tones are requested for this walk, no whites or bright colors please. Walk is limited to 8 individuals and pre-registration is required.
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.
George Matz - Monitoring the Kenai Peninsula’s Spring Shorebird Migration – Kenai Visitor Center – 7:00 – 9:00 PM.
George Matz, formerly an employee of the State of Alaska, a member of the Alaska State Board of Game, President of Anchorage Audubon and a founder of the Kachemak Bay Birders.
A review of the highlights for the 2017 shorebird monitoring project, which includes the Homer Spit area, the Anchor River, and the Kasilof River. Data will be presented regarding a very large (for Kachemak Bay) pulse of Western Sandpipers and Dunlin that arrived on the Homer Spit, and how this coincides with favorable wind patterns. The review will also recap the previous eight years of monitoring.
SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018
Kelly, Peterson, Watson and Egumen Lake Walks – 8:00 – 11:00AM
Approximately 21 miles east of Soldotna off Sterling Highway past Sterling, AK. Park and meet at Kelly Lake parking lot. Here we will walk an easy trail along the lake. From there we will drive on to the other lakes for short stops as time allows. Common loon, Red-necked grebe, Surf Scoter, and Swainson’s Thrush 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.Helpful hints
- 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.