Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Northern Lights and Cranes

Since I never seem to go  anywhere or pull a camera out of the closet these days, these photos are Bart's. The photo above was taken at Fire Lake, very close to Bart's home in Eagle River.
The Aurora Borealis has been very active this Winter.  I have not gone to see them even once. Shame on me. I think Bart got these photos at about 2:00 AM.
Green is the dominant color of the Northern Lights, but other colors sometimes show themselves. People on the North Slope of Alaska claim that they make faint popping or crackling noises. I have not heard them.
A few months ago Bart photographed Sandhill Cranes in Palmer as they gathered for their Southbound migration.
He managed to get much better flight shots than I have gotten.
See what I mean?
I never even bothered to photograph cranes this year. Hopefully I'll be able to drum up more enthusiasm when they return next year.
They are truly majestic birds and relatively easy to approach in this part of Alaska.
Whenever I see cranes they tend to be sedentary and I lack the patience to wait for action shots. Therefore I have few action photos of cranes.
What a great shot that Bart got.
Earlier Bart went to an area called Shroeder Lake, Mosquito paradise.
The approach to the lake is more interesting than the lake itself.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tangle Lakes

Earlier this Fall Bart and his son Tom went Moose hunting around Tangle Lakes off the Denali Highway. It is a beautiful spot but a terrible place for Moose hunting.
It is perfect Moose habitat but it is easily accessible by road. That means that hunters have already picked the place clean, (mostly).
It does have lots of swans, both Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. I cannot tell which species these are.
Besides swans, there are many ducks.
And loons. This is a Common loon.
This is a Common Loon but Red-throated Loons also occur on the smaller bodies of water.
This is a great place to go berry picking. Most years there is an abundance of Blueberries as well as other kinds of berries.
Some kind of fungi?
The cozy tent.
Tom looks out over the expansive countryside hoping to spot a legal bull.
They brought along a canoe to help them get around.
The canoe let them get closer to the lake's inhabitants. A pair of adult swans and their brood.
Tom hold up an Arctic Grayling. Good eating, if you like fish. I do not.
I do not remember whether Bart and Tom got a Moose but I know they had a nice adventure either way.

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...