Sunday, June 12, 2011

Three Owl Morning, and Everyone Needs a Hobby

 [Ten million spruce trees - and one of them has a Northern Hawk-owl perched at the tip.]

Finding owls in Alaska is like finding owls anywhere else. You look. You look more. You look high. You look low. You listen. You scan. You search the 10 million trees - and one will have the two nestling Great-horned Owls, another will have the hawk-owl-looking tuft on top that indeed is a Northern Hawk-owl. Beyond, near the moose (give us this day our daily moose), will hunt the Short-eared Owl. That was our morning yesterday.

Or part of it. The taiga warblers sang, and multiple Bohemian Waxwings perched and flew, perched and flew, eventually perching for scope views for the lot of us.

[Great-horned Owl fledglings. I'm hoping we find an adult before the trip is done - Alaskan Great-horned Owls are pale. Digiscoped at 60 power.]

 [Bohemian Waxwing.]

 ["Hey Mark, did you notice we're only seeing female Red-necked Phaloropes?" says I in an overstated way. "Gee, Don, do you think there's a reason for that?" replies Mark, even more overstated. "Why, yes Mark. . . " Thence a discussion of phalaropes and their polyandrous ways. The males sit on the nests.]

 [The northernmost amphibian, Alaskan Wood Frogs do every year what Walt Disney wished he could. . . freeze and thaw.]

 [Old World Swallowtails were hill-topping along the Glenn Highway.]

 [An Alaskan cultural moment. . . Everybody needs a hobby. Someday, just once, I'm going to ride around Alaska during the midnight sun, shooting out the car window at signs. Seems like that's a popular activity here. I hear you get extra points for the Moose and Caribou crossing signs.]

[Pray, prey.]

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