We left Homer on 16 July 2015 bound for  Colorado, Arizona, and Africa – in that order.   We made pretty good time, of course doing a little birding along the way – at least we tried while traveling through Alaska and Canada.  When we did our year long adventure in 2013-2104, we had 51 species of birds before we even hit the Canadian border.  This year I think we had about 6 species.  What a difference it makes when you travel during – our Bird Adventure we left in early September – fall migration.  This year the birds had yet to begin migration, except for the male ducks.


Stopped to check out Matanuska Glacier on the Glenn Highway

We spent the night at a campground within the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.  This is one of only a few national wildlife refuges that allows camping.  We love this spot and have stopped here overnight often on our travels up and down the Alaska Highway.

Lakeside campground in Tetlin NWR

Lakeside campground in Tetlin NWR


Goldeneye family enjoying the day – nine little ones


Saw a Sandhill Crane family with two colts


Sandhill Crane Colt


This Gray Jay decided to check out what was on the menu …


… and was joined by at least three other Gray Jays



Near the Alaska/Yukon border is a wetland, which besides being beautiful, always yields some interesting  birds, including this year a Trumpeter Swan family.


Wetland near the US/Canadian Border (in Alaska)


Trumpeter Swan pair with cygnets.

Once in Canada we stopped periodically to check out the many ponds alongside the road, looking for waterfowl and any shorebirds.  Most of the waterfowl were females with their young, which personally I find harder to identify than shorebirds in non-breeding plumage and many sparrows.  Does anyone know of a good field guide for female ducks and their young?


Roadside pond with hen and ducklings


This swallow nest was on a building at a rest stop. The swallows did not like me getting too close.


This place is generally windy when we come through the area. Not so on the way through this year.


Of course we generally come through in the fall or spring when there is snow on the mountains.

We took the Cassier Highway and stopped at the Blue Lakes.  These were some great wetlands too, yielding Common Loons, a Rusty Blackbird, four Lesser Yellowlegs, Bohemian Waxwings, and several flycatchers.  Okay so maybe female ducks are easier to identify than certain flycatchers (Empidonax spp.)


One of “Blue Lakes”


Lesser Yellowleg


Rusty Blackbird, I believe


Common Loon


There was actually a pair of Common Loons on the lakes. They cooperated by coming  quite close to the edge of the lake. Fun to watch.

This was the first time we did not see a Black Bear feeding along the Cassier Highway.  In fact, we didn’t see much wildlife at all.  The birds must have been busy with domestic details since they were not jumping out at us.   In one campground in British Columbia we did encounter a number of curious squirrels, including this one.


We traveled down through the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.  There were a number of forest fires near some of the towns we passed through.  A little scary.  In two different towns we saw, but I was unable to photograph, an interesting sight.  Imagine this … instead of going to a drive-through kiosk for coffee you go to a drive-through kiosk for “corn”.  Yes, corn.  The buildings were painted, what else – yellow.  I almost made Jack turn around so I could get a photo.

Internet service in the campgrounds was no existent through much of our trip, so I decided to wait until we reached Arizona to write blogs for the past three weeks.  Stay tuned – what can you expect next?  We visited three National Wildlife Refuges while on our trip – Little Pend Oreille (Washington), Seedskadee (Wyoming), and Arapaho (Colorado).  And later …. the four different National Parks we visited on our trip to date – Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon, and Mesa Verde.

The Adventure continues …. and remembers “Its always a Great Day to Bird”