Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information


Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge  

Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge

The Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge stretches 16 miles between Point Woronzof and Potter Creek and its extensive tidal flats, marsh communities and alder-bog forest are home to the greatest variety of birds. More than 130 bird species have been sighted in this area.

The most widely known section of the refuge is Potter Marsh. Located south of Anchorage on the New Seward highway, the marsh was created in 1917 during the construction of the Alaska Railroad when work crews dammed several streams. Today Potter Marsh is the premier destination for birders in Anchorage. Large concentrations of birds can be seen during the spring migration from late April through mid-May when waterfowl stop on their way to breeding grounds farther north, and again in late July and August when shorebirds begin to flock up in preparation for their migration to southern wintering grounds. A diversity of birds also nest in the marsh and provide entertainment all summer long, in particular 15-20 pairs of lesser Canada geese and their large broods of goslings.

Other waterfowl often spotted in the marsh include mallards, northern pintails, northern shovelers, American wigeons, canvasbacks, red-necked grebes, horned grebes, yellowlegs and northern phalaropes. Moose are sometimes seen feeding on aquatic or shrubby vegetation.

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