I love me a good festival--the more obscure the better--and Alaska is full of them. There's the fungus festival (celebrating mushrooms and their cousins) and the iceworm festival (in honor of a worm that spends its life in glacial ice). There are festivals honoring blueberries, whales, moose droppings, and burning baskets. Not to mention the Alaskan icons: halibut and salmon.
But more than anything, especially this time of year, there are bird festivals. With the spring migration of birds from their winter homes, every Alaskan community has a favorite bird they welcome back to their nesting grounds. Terns in Yakutat. Eagles in Haines. Hummingbirds in Ketchikan. Sandhill Cranes in Fairbanks.
Last weekend, I took in one of those festivals in Homer: the Kachemak Bay Shorebird festival. Thousands of sandpipers, plovers, dunlins, scoters, surfbirds, cranes, and ducks. The bird watching was spectacular, but I was a bit disappointed with my photographs -- even with a zoom lens, tripod, and remote cable release, I wasn't quite capturing what I was seeing. Clearly, that needs to be my area of photographic career development! But here are a few that I did like.
An ode to migratory birds, seen on a hiking trail. Appropriately enough, decorated with a plop of bird poop.
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, Homer, Alaska