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”
Just over a week ago, the temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska, were dipping down below zero degrees F. This white-tailed ptarmigan tried to make the best of the cold weather it by hunkering in a beam of sunlight. Incidentally, white-tailed ptarmigan are North America’s smallest grouse. Adults top out at weights of around 12 ounces, onContinue reading “Snow White & Waiting for Spring”
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.
And of course, waiting at the far end of the trail are those mountain lakes, deep and cold, holding hungry trout, grayling and char eager to strike flies, spinners or spoons.
Anchorage, Alaska, remains covered in two or three feet of snow these days, with fresh buckets-full coming down at this very moment. But don’t be fooled. Springtime is on its way and the first Canada geese will be showing up here in about four weeks. Trust them. They’ve returned to this part of the worldContinue reading “On Their Way”
By Ken Marsh A spruce bark beetle infestation across Southcentral Alaska in recent years has proven beneficial for regional woodpeckers. From Petersville to Palmer, Anchorage and beyond, infested trees have provided a year-round banquet for these sharp-billed birds. Downy and hairy woodpeckers are most common around Anchorage, but a hike yesterday was highlighted by anContinue reading “A Winter’s Walk with Woody”
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”
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”
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. ###
We caught and released at least 50 trout that late summer day, all big, powerful, vibrantly colored fish that leaped and ran like the wild things they were. The sandbars were stamped with grizzly bear tracks and not another angler in sight. Such days are rare anymore from the road system in Alaska’s Susitna Valley.Continue reading “Rainbow Days”