Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Minor Urban Adventure and a Small Painting

It all started when I checked my e-mails after knocking off from painting for the day. Someone reported seeing a Great Blue Heron at University Lake. Great Blue Herons are abundant throughout most of North America, and I have seen thousands of them from Washington State to Costa Rica..
However, they do not occur in this part of Alaska.
I hastily made a sack dinner, peanut butter sandwich, potato chips, and a granola bar, and threw it in my knapsack with my camera and binocs. It was a decent enough day, and University Lake is only about 3 or 4 miles away. A pleasant bicycle ride from my place. GBH would be a nice addition to my Alaska bird list, so I headed out on my bike, on the quest for the Great Blue Heron.
To avoid city traffic, I rode most of the way along bike paths through Russian Jack Park, along Chester Creek Greenbelt, past Goose Lake, through the University of Alaska campus, past Mosquito Lake, through Alaska Pacific University campus to University Lake. Maybe not the most direct route, but certainly the most scenic.
There is a trail that goes all the way around University Lake. It is a favorite haunt of dog walkers, and they were out in full force that evening. I went around the lake, stopping often to glass the lake and environs from every angle. Mallards, widgeons, C Geese, R N Grebes, Mew Gulls, no heron. Past the lake, there is a small pond that often has waterfowl and shorebirds. I checked it out, swallows and a Lesser Yellowlegs, no heron.
Disappointed, I went back to Mosquito Lake to give it a closer look. Some Ducks and gulls, no heron. By then I was getting hungry so I rode over to Goose Lake to sit at a picnic table and eat my dinner. While I ate my humble meal I carefully glassed the whole lake. It was a pleasure to watch the nesting pair of Pacific Loons who were too far away for photos. No heron on Goose Lake either although the habitat looked ideal.
Finally I gave up and headed home.
Russian Jack Park is one of the few places around here that has a golf course. It is very modest and doubles as a bunny hill for novice skiiers during the winter. While I rode past the golf course there was a Moose helping to keep the grass mowed. The building is the combo golf clubhouse and ski chalet. Since I had not taken a single photo I decided to stop and get this gal's portrait.
Like virtually all urban Moose, this one took little notice of me or other people nearby.

Tired of leaning over, she plopped onto the ground.
This Moose may look a little haggard, but this is a young Moose, born about a year ago. Too young to have a calf of her own.
Today I completed this 10x8" Iiwi. One of a handfull of endemic Hawaiian birds. Most of Hawaii's endemics are critically endangered. Many species have already been driven into extinction. Iiwis are doing better than most. I messed up the background.
You gotta love that beak.


Unknown said...

John, lastly i have one of the worst time for photograph birds, not only for lack the presence of many especies like, in your case, the herons, if not for there are no maner to find birds and other animals in seberal places where i know, for hiding and launching photographs;i only can photograph a pair of rollers,few especies of song birds,one kestrel and one female of common cuckoo.And all of that,since the half of April.And also i find the roe deer an wild boar without a good light for phograph this mammals,and also when in my country makes a dry and and beginning to heat up sooner on May ;the animal activity decreasing rapidly.Lastly i fill a little failed like a photographer. The beter places for launching photos on this seasons,is in the ponds,rivers or if i find a colony or nesting places.But at any rate i have to change of estrategies,like search traces of feathers, fur, excrements, pugmarks etc.Or other sings like remains of food,the territorial callings and territorial marcks.

john said...

It seems that we are never content with the available subject matter for photography. The challenge is to find ways to make the mundane subjects look interesting. I dont have the patience to become a good photographer. I'm content to be a point and shoot opportunist.

Friend of HK said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.
The caterpillar you described in your comment could be a Larva of a Swallowtail butterfly. The "big horns" come out when it feels threatened. At the same time the caterpillar also produces a strong smell to repel potential predators. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmeterium