Spring Update: Waterfowl

No luck this morning on my annual quest for Morchella, but it’s early yet. The springtime dance has barely started here at north latitude 61.2 degrees. We’re getting close, though. The birch buds are just one sunny afternoon away from popping the country into an explosion of green. The morels will appear soon after, but for now signs of the season can be found in the arrival of winged things.

Morel Challenges

An amateur Alaskan mushroom hunter learns of resilience and revival. By Ken Marsh “There is something inscrutably satisfying about finding a good patch of morel mushrooms that travels far beyond their excellent flavor, perhaps a trace of the glad hearts of hungry earlier gatherers in the long weary path of evolution.”   – Jim Harrison“The SummerContinue reading “Morel Challenges”

The Alpine News

The hike begins early in the morning, around 5:30 for we with creatures to meet and places three miles up the valley to be. I don’t know if snowshoes will be needed, but a mix of deep drifts and warm April days have conjured visions of post-holing to my thighs. I’ll attach the snowshoes toContinue reading “The Alpine News”

And Just Like that, Spring Was Here

So last week’s subzero temperatures finally vanished. Overnight. And just like that the snow started melting as days warmed into the mid-40s and 50s F. Even more miraculously, the waterfowl began to arrive. First, I saw trumpeter swans. They came in pairs or small flocks, landing on ice shelves near open water. Their hornlike callsContinue reading “And Just Like that, Spring Was Here”

Three-Thousand Rivers

To greater or lesser extents, Alaskans depend upon rivers to lead us to our homes, livelihoods, recreation, and food sources as surely as citizens of Seattle, Los Angeles, Memphis or Pittsburg rely upon freeways to access the same things.

Alaska Wildlife Viewing: The Urban Option

By Ken Marsh Every city, village and community in this wilderness state has its own birds, animals and viewing treasures. Armed only with a camera and with nowhere to hide I knew calling in a bull moose might be risky. But afternoon glare had eased into golden evening light and the willow shadows now stretchedContinue reading “Alaska Wildlife Viewing: The Urban Option”

CONFESSIONS OF A CASUAL BIRDER

Alaska’s wild side is home to a distinctive assortment of birds. By Ken Marsh “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”   —William Shakespeare The surf charges in with a drumroll that crescendos, peaks, then breaks in a carbonated hiss. It’s late afternoon and, wrapped in waders and raingear, I’ve left the shelter ofContinue reading “CONFESSIONS OF A CASUAL BIRDER”

Cold Ducks

Photos by Ken Marsh Mallards are a hardy breed. Cold weather really doesn’t seem to bother them as long as open water and/or food is available. These ducks winter in Anchorage, Alaska, despite subzero temperatures and deep snow. They seem no worse for the wear. ###