Mud Bay is a lagoon about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide at the head of Coal Bay near the base of the Homer Spit, on the north shore of Kachemak Bay, about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of Homer, Alaska. The local name was first reported by the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1940s when Coal Bay was bisected by a road causeway. The name Coal Bay is a translation by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey of the Russian “Zaliv Ugolnoy” that was published on charts by Mikhail Dmitriyevich Tebenkov, a Russian hydrographer and vice-admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy in 1852.
Mud Bay supports a dense and diverse variety of birds in early May that feed on invertebrates and fishes. This gathering inspired the annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. More than 100 species of birds have been seen in Kachemak Bay during the April-May migration and 36 species of shorebirds. The tidal range of almost 30 feet (9 m) creates expansive intertidal mudflats with high biomass of worms, bivalves, crustaceans, and other invertebrates that provide rich feeding grounds for an extraordinary number of migratory shorebirds. The most numerous are the Western Sandpiper, and Dunlin and dowitchers are also abundant.
Kachemak Bay was designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site in 1995, and the first parcels were Mud Bay and the adjacent Mariner Park Lagoon, both are owned and managed by the City of Homer. Other included areas were the Fox River Flats Critical Habitat Area at the head of Kachemak Bay and adjoining parts of the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area owned by the State of Alaska and managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 2016, several areas were added including Beluga Slough near the city of Homer, the entirety of Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area, and Sixty-Foot Rock, a small island owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is an important wintering site for Rock Sandpiper and Surfbird. Read more here and here. Explore more of Mud Bay here: