Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, May 9-12, 2013

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When conjuring up the ultimate spring birding getaway, you might want to turn your imagination loose on this idea: Homer, Alaska in mid-May. Picture this: a quaint town nestled in rolling hills, on a sparkling bay lined with glaciers and mountains. Located on the southern edge of the Kenai Penninsula, Homer, besides being stunningly beautiful, is uniquely situated as a favorite stopover for over 200 species of migrating shorebirds. Seems like a birder's paradise, don't you think? And the fabulous Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival awaits your visit during peak migration! There. Decision made.

Alaska is legendary for its rugged scenery, pristine waterways and abundant wildlife. But it's also known for its friendly, down-home feel. The little town of Homer, and the folks at the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival exemplify this. It's a community festival. The hard-working, dedicated festival volunteers extend a warm welcome, and keep attendees busy (and happy!) by offering educational events, guided walks and boat trips, speakers, artists, and a friendly competition or two, to boot. Check the entire schedule of events here.12

Learn about bird and nature photography, shorebird ID, geology of the area, and try field drawing or birding by ear.  You can bird by bike and by kayak, take part in the festival's 5K run, or just stake out a spot with your binocular on one of the many viewing platforms along the Homer Spit.  Meet and talk with  Jeff Gordon, Saturday evening's keynote speaker and beloved President of the ABA, and Special Guest Author, Philip Hoose. Visit the beautiful Alaska Islands & Oceans Visitors Center. The variety of things to do is impressive, and there are activities specifically designed for families, children, and junior birders, too. Some events are free! Registration is required, since some trips and workshops have a limited capacity, so register today. No matter what you choose to do, hey--you're in Alaska. Everything is an adventure.

Eagle Optics will once again be there, so if you come, please stop in the vendor area, say hello to Ben, and sample some of the latest in spotting scopes, tripods, and  binoculars.

Do come to Homer.  You'll be charmed by the little town on Kachemak Bay. You'll marvel at the sights and sounds of shorebirds moving over mountains and across water to their Arctic nesting grounds. You'll make new friends, and you'll go home a better birder. And forever after, you'll have Alaska in your heart.

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

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