I had never been to Alaska. A few days ago, I had a report that a rare Hawfinch was seen in Anchorage. I was in Virginia. *sigh*. It was also my father’s 89th Birthday.
I found a red eye flight that would allow me to leave after celebrating Dad’s Birthday and get me into AK at 3:30 a.m. Did I mention you can’t sleep during a Big Year???
My next problem was that I didn’t know the logistics. I had no time to plan. I once again reached out to 2016 Big Year Birder Laura Keene. She not only helped, she connected me with Lynn Barber who agreed to go birding with me the whole day!
If you happened to read my Day 1 post, you would know that these are the only 2 women to have ever achieved an ABA Big Year! Lynn Barber has been my hero for years. To have these 2 women help me achieve my goals is more than I could have ever imagined.
Lynn picked me up at my hotel and we proceeded to the neighborhood where the Hawfinch had been seen. The homeowner that had this bird at his feeders, Norm McAtee, welcomed us into the warmth of his home to wait for the bird to show up. At 6 degrees outside, this Naples girl was very appreciative. He even made us coffee!
In less than an hour, the little beauty showed up at the feeders. Number 434–Hawfinch!!!
Plenty of day left so we decided to drive about an hour away in search of Woodpeckers. One of the few I still needed for my Big Year was Three-toed Woodpecker. The bird was nowhere to be found.
We saw some beautiful mountain scenery, tons of Bald Eagles, deep snow and even my very first Moose! A lovely day spent in a previously unknown land. I would have loved to stay and explore more but there wasn’t anything else I could see at this time that I hadn’t already seen somewhere else in the lower 48.
We ended the day having a celebratory dinner. Lifer followed by Decoy Merlot and a nice Filet.
I will be back to Alaska many times this year, from one end to the other. I leave thirsting for more.