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.
Moose in Southcentral Alaska typically calve between now and early June, with the number peaking around May 25. New mothers can be hyper-protective and wise photogs and woods-people don’t mess around with them.
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 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”
It’s happening already. Springtime has barely arrived and I’m already so busy outdoors hiking, photographing, and watching nature that I’m falling behind on posts. I visited a favorite wetlands area early last week and was happy to find snow geese among the Canada geese, northern pintails, mallards, and trumpeter swans. Snow geese in groups smallContinue reading “Spring Dispatch”
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”
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”