Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Salmon in the Marsh etc.

The photo above shows salmon fingerlings and their shadows in the sand at the outflow of 
Potter's Marsh. There were many hundres of them a week ago when I visited the marsh.
A pan sized fish. I'm not sure whether it's a  trout, Dolly Varden, (trout relative) or a small salmon. Fishing is prohibited at this wildlife refuge.
These larger fish in murky water are Humpback Salmon. There were many of them in the main channels in the marsh.
They were the most abundant species present. The ratios of salmon species vary throughout the season.
The big boys in the marsh are King, (Chinook) Salmon.
They are silver in color when they first enter fresh water from the ocean. As the days pass, they turn more red in coloration.
The big males can be truly massive. We did not see any really big kings while we were there.
This Muskrat did not demonstrate any concern about the salmon. The salmon paid it no attention.
I'll throw in a few dowitcher photos to this post.
They will all be gone south far too soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A New Painting and Southbound Shorebirds

It shames me to say that this is the first painting that I have done all year. Hopefully I am emerging from the worst creative funk of my life. It is partly the result of ongoing health issues. My kidneys are about shot. I have not been feeling very creative.
Anyway I finished this small 10x8" painting titled, 'Tern Lake'. I have also been busy illustrating a coloring book about Alaska birds.
Tern Lake is a beautiful spot on the Kenai Peninsula. where the highway splits between Seward and Homer.
The northbound shorebird migration was a real bust. I only saw Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs in the Spring. Part of that has to do with the fact that I only went birding three times. 
That does not mean that shorebird numbers are down. It has more to do with weather patterns. If the weather is good, shorebirds tend to overfly the Anchorage area. The weather this whole summer has been wonderful.
These are Short-billed Dowitchers.
The coast was devoid of shorebirds yesterday but Westchester Lagoon had plenty of birds.
Local shorebird diversity is not what it used to be. Yesterday I only saw yellowlegs, Hudsonian Godwits, and lots of Short-billed Dowitchers.
Near Westchester Lagoon I found a fallen log in the shade, sat down and photographed these cooperative dowitchers.
I was not fast enough on the shutter button to get any flight shots with my 600mm lens. This is the closest I could come.
I photographed birds both in the shade and full sun to see which looked better. I like the shade photos better.
The tip of the beak of dowitchers is very flexible. You can see the upturned tip of the bird's beak in this photo.
I got many fine photos of dowitchers yesterday but I'll limit the number of photos in this post.
This Greater Yellowlegs does not fear its close proximity to this metallic eagle.
There were lots of baby ducks, gulls, and grebes on Westchester. These are Greater Scaup.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day of the Ram, etc.

Did I already post this photo? Forgive me if my mind is not so sharp as it once was. This is a pair of Pintails that Bart photographed at Potter Marsh.
Bart and I both photographed these Gadwalls at Potter. This is Bart's photo..
A Greater Scaup.
A pair of G. S.
Twin Peaks in the Chugach Mountains.
Falls above Windy Corner in the Chugach Mtns.
Bart climbed well above the Seward Highway overlooking Windy Corner. This is too much physical exertion for my poor old body to endure.
He climbed up the steep slopes to visit the Dall Sheep that frequent those heights.
This ram showed more curiosity than fear. Dall Sheep do not get hunted in this area so close to the highway.
Bart even managed to get above the sheep.
I guess this ram did'nt like that so it climbed higher.
I envy Bart for getting so close to wild Dall Sheep.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Some Recent Sightings

About a week ago I went to Westchester Lagoon and the Coastal Trail. Almost immediately I found a nesting pair of Red-necked Grebes. They were only about 15 feet, (5 meters) from shore. I did not want to disturb them so I sat down well back from the shore..
I made the assumption that the sleeping grebe on the nest was the female although I have no idea whether it was the male or female. The male?, gently nudged the sleeping grebe.
She looked up....
Then she stood up. This is the first time that I have seen a grebe on its feet. I could not see far enough into the nest to  see any eggs.
In a flash the female was gone and the male took her place.
The male proudly took his place on the nest. As I carefully got up to leave I noticed another photographer on  the other side of a bush. He was right next to the nest but apparently did not disturb the grebes.
Further along the shore I sat down again trying to photograph Arctic Terns in flight. This is very difficult for me to do because I am too slow on the trigger. I cannot seem to be able to find the fast moving birds in my viewfinder.
The terns seem to be fearless of people.
Case in point, this tern landed about 12 feet from me.
As I sat there photographing terns a Lesser Yellowlegs landed very close to me.
This bird was also fearless.
It came very close to me. All of these photos were shot with my old Fujifilm camera. It is so much more versatile than my expensive DSLR.
 I have many more photos to post at a future time.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Wildlife Kind of Day

A week ago I went south to Portage to the Alaska Wildlife Preserve with Bart and Sandy. All of these photos were taken by Bart. I took my own photos but I like Bart's photos better. He has a better lens.
As they say, Good fences make good neighbors.
I have passed by this place numerous times but have never stopped. It lies at the end of Turnagain Arm.
Anchorage lies about 50 miles to the north.
A bull Moose just sprouting its antlers.
While I fumbled to set up my tripod to photograph this Hairy Woodpecker, Bart managed this hand held photo with his new Canon 100-400mm lens. It is a great lens.
The Gulls have only been back in town for a few weeks. These are Mew gulls.
Meanwhile Bart went up to Powerline Pass above Anchorage.It is still  winter up there.
The Willow Ptarmigan have really started to attain their breeding plumage.