More than 100,000 birds are passing through Homer, where the community is celebrating the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival.
Birders are heading to the end-of-the-road town, scope in hand, for some of the best bird watching in the country.
On her seaside farm just outside Homer, Mossy Kilcher has been waiting for a flock of old friends she hasn't seen in months: sandhill cranes.
"I hope that wherever they are, they're having a good breakfast," she said with a laugh. "They come here first, of course, because there is lots of open space."
She says they should be here, but not this year. Last year, bird watchers were just starting to arrive at Kilcher's farm to see the flock when an eagle swooped out of the sky and killed one of the cranes, much to the horror of the onlookers.
It's raw, real moments like those that have drawn bird watchers to the Shorebird Festival for the past 18 years.
"If you go out and look at these little tiny birds and realize what they've gone through, your heart just goes, ‘Oh my gosh.' And they're here, some of them are only here for maybe one or two days and then they're gone," said Christina Whiting with the festival.
Some of the most popular birds are also the most difficult to spot.
"Birders like myself, we're looking for those unusual ones; the rare ones that as far as the sandpipers that you just wouldn't get," Anchorage birder John Wenger said.
Daily bus tours offer a chance to spot a lesser yellowlegs or short-billed dowitcher. More than 100,000 birds will migrate through Kachemak Bay this spring.
The sandhill cranes eventually showed up just west of Kilcher's farm.
They stop here because they must. The journey from the Lower 48 and beyond is grueling and the birds need to rest -- some will even raise their young here.
The others won't stay long. Their next visit comes in late August or early September when they turn around and head back south.
The festival runs through this weekend. Bring some good binoculars and you'll need some patience -- some of these birds are difficult to spot, and leave with the tide when they can't catch shoreline insects.
Contact Ted Land at firstname.lastname@example.org