Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Aleutians etc

This post is the last entry from Bart and Sandy's trip to Dutch Harbor and Unalaska. I must admit that I do not know which village this is.
A flock of gulls, probably Glaucous-winged or B. L. Kittiwakes.
Horned Puffins like this one, occupy a much smaller range than the commoner Tufted Puffin.
A pair of Common Murres.
A dark colored seabird takes wing.
There are a few possibilities as to its identity. Possibly a dark morph Northern Fulmar, or a Short-tailed, or Sooty Shearwater. If I was there to see its relative size or other subtle field marks, then maybe I would be more sure about what it was. Any Thoughts?
I am more confident that this bird is a Pomarine Jaeger (Skua).
Back on land is another Gray-crowned Rosy Finch.
Saying goodbye to the Aleutian chain, it is appropriate to see some eagles.
The long ferry ride back to Homer.
Back in Homer, Gary who lives in Homer, measures his shoe to a bear track.
A bull Moose on his property. In Alaska if you want a particular tree to survive being eaten by Moose, you have to protect it until it grows too big for the Moose.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Aleutians continued

Getting back to Bart and Sandy's trip to the Aleutian Islands is an overlook of what I believe is Dutch Harbor. Since I have not personally been there I cannot be sure.
Like I mentioned in the last post, Bald eagles are abundant in the area. These are fledgelings still in the nest.
The vigilant adult is nearby.

A Lapland Longspur, (bunting) forages on the beach.
A Gray-crowned Rosy Finch forages nearby.
Offshore a group of Steller's Sea Lions gathers nearby.
A Humpback Whale dives.
A Pigeon Guillemot catches its dinner.
It comes ashore to enjoy its bounty.
The Harbor Seal missed its chance to steal the fish.
Continuing down the road to see what else there is to find.
This must be a Red Fox but it looks a lot like a Coyote from this angle.
Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dutch Harbor and Unalaska

A few weeks ago Bart and Sandy took the Alaska Ferry from Homer to Dutch Harbor at the base of the Aleutian Island chain. It is a long journey into the treeless wilds of western Alaska. These great photos were all taken by Bart.
There is very little human presense here.
Unalaska is one of the small settlements in this part of the state. It is a small Aleut native village and a center of commercial fishing.
Crab fishing drives much of the local economy.
During World War ll the U.S. military built defenses in the area. These are quonset huts.
Fortified Bunkers to repel the invading Japanese..
Bald Eagles are numerous in the area. This is a sub-adult.
An Arctic Ground Squirrel keeps a wary lookout for hungry eagles.
Red Foxes are an even bigger threat to the squirrels. There are no bears in this part of the world.
The local Orthodox Church and graveyard.
This was a mystery bird that Bart could not identify. Do you have any ideas about what it might be?
 I strained my brain and decided that it is a juvenile bird based on the yellow lips. It has to be the dark Aleutian race of a Pacific Wren.
A Bald Eagle poses amid Fireweed blooms.
Another Bald Eagle kicks up dirt as it takes wing. There is more to come from Unalaska and Dutch Harbor.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Puffin Painting etc.

Although I have painted many  puffins over the years, most of them were Tufted Puffins. This is my latest, a Horned Puffin, 8x10".
I will flesh out this post with a few photos from the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward.
To me, Horned Puffins are prettier than Atlantic Puffins but not as attractive as Tufted Puffins. That is why I invariably paint Tufted Puffins instead of Horned Puffins. I believe that I have never painted an Atllantic Puffin. That is because I have never lived on the Atlantic Coast.
I have only seen one Rhinoceros Auklet in the wild even though they are more widespread than other species of Auklets in Alaska. I enjoyed observing them in the Sea Life Center.
Pigeon Guillemots. I wish that I could get so close to them in the Wild.
I'll throw in some more Sea Otter shots from the harbor on  my recent trip to Seward.
I usually cannot get so close.
Waving goodbye.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mt. Marathon

Most of you have probably never heard of the Mt. Marathon race in Seward. It is a big deal in Alaska and runners come from all over the world to test their toughness against the mountain.
All of these photos were taken by Bart.
Mt. Marathon at the edge of Seward is not a long race. It is usually won by someone in less than 45 minutes.
The origin of it started in the 1800's. Two prospectors were drinking in a bar in Seward and one challenged the other to a race up to the top of the tallest mountain in Seward.
It is all uphill and very treacherous. This was an impressive feat to the other bar patrons and the Mt. Marathon race was born.
The race starts downtown on the 4th of July every year. It is a madhouse.
A large crowd assembles to cheer on the racers.
Bart's son Mike often participates. That is him in the blue t-shirt in the middle of the photo.
Not everyone is serious about winning.
The trail is brutal.
I mean brutal.
Some places are too rough for running and require careful rock climbing. There are race observers all along the route.
I believe that this man is the winner of this year's race. He is a college skiier at Alaska Pacific University.
One must be in top physical condition to be a race contender.
Many people fall and get injured every year. Last year one runner went missing on the mountain and has not been seen since.
Mike, (blue t-shirt) Finishes the race in about an hour. Not a contender so he is disappointed but I think it is an incredible feat.
He looks back at the mountain after the race. He may not have won a prize but he earned his battle scars.