Friday, June 3, 2011

Alaska Edition, Continued: Hey Guys, Did You See This Moose?

[Mom Moose and a very new calf, seen 100 yards from where I'm writing now.]

Horned Grebes almost stole the show again today - we had a pair skitter across Otto Lake in display, copulate, nest-build, and just sit on the water looking pretty. But I liked the Lesser Yellowlegs best.

 [Lesser Yellowlegs breed in taiga, not tundra like many shorebirds, and today we watched several perched in treetops and in magnificent flight display, necks thrusting forward, ballet dancing across the sky and singing and singing and singing, not just the tu, tu-tu stuff they do in migration.]

 [Horned Grebes. . . or is that horny grebes?]

It never gets dark, being Alaskan summer, which explains why I'm up writing at whatever time it is, 10:30-something p.m. Alaskan, 4 hours earlier than the east coast, after a full day of leading and Moose and Sandhill Cranes, Violet-green Swallows, Goshawks shooting across the road and Gray Jays teed up beside it, and horny grebes. There's barely 3 hours between sunset and sunrise, and plenty of light for reading outdoors at 2 a.m., if one cared to do that. We head into Denali tomorrow, here's hoping the skies stay clear so we can see McKinley.

I put in my $2.50 for a chance at guessing the date and time of ice out on the Nenana River next spring, as did Mark. The winner gets a cool $300,000 - a lot of people play this game.

[Sign, updated daily, in the hotel lobby.]

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