View Full Version : Bird Photography spots in Alaska

Aidan Briggs
01-05-2009, 08:25 PM
Does anyone know any bird photography hotspots in Alaska? Target birds include all the breeding shorebirds, Arctic tern, Bar tailed Godwit, and Bristle thighed curlew. How approachable are the birds? I have a 400mm lens, will I need a TC?

Dave Taylor
01-06-2009, 12:48 AM
Hello Aidan -
Come on up! I can answer the first from personal experience. Arctic Tern are fairly easy to see - two places come to mind. The first is at Potter's Marsh, just on the outskirts of Anchorage (on the Seward Highway heading south) There are 2 decent turnoffs (to the left side of the highway) along the far end of the marsh that offer great ops for photographing Arctic Tern. They'll hover directly overhead and dive off and on all day long. Easily reached with a 400mm lens, you probably won't use all of it though. Here's a shot I got this June, which was busy with terns all the way through.
The other spot is Tern Lake (at the intersection of the Sterling and Seward Highways, nearer to Seward). Terns are very busy here as well, just not as close - but it is a beautiful location that can produce beautiful shots. Also, be on the lookout for bear, Dall sheep, and loon.
As for the others, I'd really recommend picking up the 2nd Edition of "The ABA's A Birder's Guide to Alaska" - great resource for where to find birds throughout the state. It's not a I.D. book, more of a very detailed guide to where you can find what you are looking for. Here's a link...
I just got my 2nd Edition, written by people I know personally - full of great info on locations, birds, and other wildlife. Hope this helps. Let me know if I can help at all - I do free logistical advice for traveling photogs visiting Alaska.

Dave Taylor
01-06-2009, 01:08 AM
Just a quick look at my ABA Guide, looks like the Bar tailed Godwit are pretty northerly - basically the Dalton Highway and north, Prudoe, Barrow, all along the Chukchi Sea, Nome (The Seward Peninsula), The Pribilof Islands, the Western coast of Alaska... out there places. The Bristle thighed curlew can be found on the Homer Spit (along with Bar tailed Godwits apparently...) - Not sure when they are there, you might be able to get some info from...
I'll be going to my first Kachemak Bird Festival this year, not sure how I haven't made it there earlier:) Can't stress the ABA Guide to Alaska enough (make sure you get the 2nd Edition though, the 1st is great - but the 2nd was just published in September, so it's very up-to-date). Let me know if you need anything else.

Aidan Briggs
01-09-2009, 07:11 PM
Thanks Dave, The info is very much appreciated. It is looking like I won't be able to make it up this year. But I'm hoping my budget/schedule will allow for it next year.

Dave Taylor
01-09-2009, 10:26 PM
Sure thing, if you decide to come up - let me know if you need any help.