Saturday, June 11, 2011

Stalking and Being Stalked

[Varied Thrush, Seward Highway yesterday - after a bit of belly crawling. Just noticed Varied Thrushes have a fairly stout bill.]

We finally found a really cooperative Varied Thrush, afer hearing them all around us for the last few days but only seeing them teed up high in the tip-top of far-away spruces. I'm always trying to meet the standard of good looks for all participants at every species detected during a tour, a worthy but usually unattainable objective. Let's not talk about Townsend's Warbler, for example, the little brats. . .

 [At Potter Marsh just outside Anchorage we accidentally parked right next to an Arctic Tern nest.]

Some birds are easier than others to get good looks at. Witness the Arctic Terns - though we struggle mightily to see one in the east, here they're nesting of course. The birds at Potter Marsh aggressively defended their space - Mark has shots of one nearly parting my hair as I took these photos. It's hard to believe these birds will be in the southern hemisphere in a few months.

The Arctic Terns were at Potter Marsh, a well-known birding location south of Anchorage. Anchorage and surrounds are disturbingly civilized, reminding me of a giant Rio Grande, NJ with a Fred Meyers instead of a Wal-Mart. Glad to leave that mess behind.

[I love the long, long wings and tail of Arctic Terns, marks of a consummate long distance migrant.]

[The Matanuska Glacier, just down the road from our present home at Sheep Mountain Lodge.]

Speaking of being stalked - both Mark and I are carrying bear spray whenever we're away from the vehicles. I'd kind of like the chance to try it (it's a guy thing, I guess). . . we haven't seen any bears since Denali, but they're out there. Somewhere out there is a statistic that groups of 3 or more are never attacked. We're having an encounter with a Snowshoe Hare out the lodge window right now, didn't bring any "Hare Spray."

We were out until after 10 p.m. searching in vain for Hawk Owl, and afterwards I scanned from the lodge close to midnight (still plenty of light for Hawk Owls and Zeiss bins.) Colette had a moose outside her cabin at 2:00 a.m. We're out there again.

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