Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Saturday, Dec. 28

This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 120th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Saturday, Dec. 28.

During this event, local teams will hike around various sections of Sitka in an attempt to count as many different birds they can find. There will be a planning meeting and slideshow to review local birds at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, at the Alaska Raptor Center. A post-bird count social event takes place at 4 p.m. Saturday in the house above Pet’s Choice Veterinary Clinic.

The Christmas Bird Count, which started nationally in 1900 with Alaska’s first event in 1941, involves thousands of bird-watchers, hikers, nature lovers and more each year. The count is for a 24-hour period and local events can take place from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 this winter to still count. This event is open to all ages, and many families participate.

Last year, on Dec. 29, 2018, in Sitka, there were 75 different bird species spotted by 55 Sitka participants. The most common bird seen was the Northwestern crow, with 503 counted. They also counted 476 common ravens and 295 dark-eyed juncos. You can find Sitka 2018 stats here. You can check out other 2018 stats (and early 2019 stats) by clicking this link.

In 2015-16, the Alaska Audubon Society reported 1,157 Alaska counters in 37 counting areas recorded 149 different species and 123,658 total birds. Kodiak’s Narrow Cape-Kalsin Bay recorded the most species in Alaska in 2015-16 with 74, followed by Sitka with 68 (Alaska overall stats aren’t available for the more recent Christmas Bird Counts).

For more information, contact Victoria Vosburg, DVM, at baldeaglevet@gmail.com or 738-8661.

Sitka Trail Works to host annual meeting and potluck dinner on Monday, Oct. 24

SitkaTrailWorksLogo

Sitka Trail Works will hold its annual meeting and potluck dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24, at the Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Members and trail enthusiasts are invited to the meeting and asked to bring a main dish, side dish, or dessert to share. Sitka Trail Works will supply beverages, paper plates, etc. Join us for an evening of fun and friendship.

Meeting highlights include a review of this year’s accomplishments, the election of one new board member, ceremonial matters, and a presentation by Matt Goff on the Natural History of Southeast Alaska.

For further information, please call Sitka Trail Works at 747-7244.

State parks closure prompts National Trails Day maintenance by Sitka Trail Works

Mosquito Cove Trail photo by Matt Goff of SitkaTrails.org

Mosquito Cove Trail photo by Matt Goff of SitkaTrails.org

SitkaTrailWorksLogoDo you ever visit Halibut Point Recreation Area, Mosquito Cove Trail, the Forest and Muskeg Trail, Old Sitka, Castle Hill or Fort Rousseau? These are Sitka’s Alaska State Parks and their future is threatened.

Proposed budget cuts this year zero out all support for the Sitka parks in the Alaska State Parks system, and local state park ranger Nick True will be moved out of Sitka. In addition, the plan is to close the local Alaska State Parks office, and eliminate the part-time staff and campground hosts who help maintain these sites.

Sitka will still have state parks, but there will be no garbage pick-up, bear control, reservations for picnic sites, trail maintenance, or brush control.

ntd_2013_copyright2_rgb-1024x1019As part of the American Hiking Society’s 23rd annual National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, Sitka Trail Works will host a trail maintenance event at the Mosquito Cove Trail. This volunteer work party will be led by the Sitka Trail Works board of directors.

All volunteers are encouraged to meet at the Mosquito Cove Trailhead at 9:15 a.m. (the trailhead is located seven miles from downtown Sitka on Halibut Point Road and is three-quarters of a mile beyond the ferry terminal, past Starrigavan Campground). The Mosquito Cove Trail is part of the Old Sitka State Historical Park.

“National Trails Day encourages Americans to connect with local outdoor clubs, businesses, community groups, and parks and recreation departments, as well as federal land managing agencies, to experience, appreciate, and share the natural places we cherish,” Sitka Trail Works said.

Sitka to host its local Christmas Bird Count event on Jan. 4

bird count

This year is the National Audubon Society‘s 115th annual Christmas Bird Count, and Sitka will be one of several Alaska communities to host a local event, with Sitka’s event set for Sunday, Jan. 4.

During this event, local teams will hike around various sections of Sitka in an attempt to count as many different birds they can find. There will be a planning meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 1, at the Alaska Raptor Center.

After the event, there will be a slide show to review the various birds seen in Sitka. There is a post-birding party at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Alaska Raptor Center, and snacks will be sponsored by Pet’s Choice Veterinary Hospital.

YardBirdsOfWinterSitka birders who want to practice for the Christmas Bird Count can participate in a free bird walk from 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 27, at Sitka National Historical Park. There also will be a Yard Birds of Winter presentation by Sitka naturalist Matt Goff at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 28, at the Kettleson Memorial Library’s temporary home (the old Sheldon Jackson College Stratton Library building).

The Christmas Bird Count, which started nationally in 1900 with Alaska’s first event in 1941, involves thousands of bird-watchers, hikers, nature lovers and more each year. The count is for a 24-hour period and local events can take place from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 this winter to still count. Last year the Alaska Audubon Society reported Alaska counters saw 139 species and 124,854 total birds, which was lower than usual.

For more information, contact Jen Cedarleaf at 738-0181 or Victoria Vosburg, DVM, at 738-8661.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the morning of Wednesday, April 16

Senior Hiking Club April 2014

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead. Sitka naturalist and bird-watcher Matt Goff will join this hike and share his knowledge.

Normally, the group usually picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. Please note that this month’s hike is on a Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday. During the winter, hikers are encouraged to bring cleats such as YakTrax, and SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance).

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Alli Gabbert at 747-6859 or email her at agabbert@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• April 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL ORCA events