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”

Spring Dispatch

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”

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”

On Their Way

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”

Spruced Up for Springtime

Springtime in Southcentral Alaska means breeding season for spruce grouse. Male spruce grouse, identified easily by their black- and white-trimmed throats and chests topped with scarlet eye combs, get dandied up in April and May to court hens. Although they’re not formal lekers, males can often be found concentrated in relatively small areas during breedingContinue reading “Spruced Up for Springtime”

RIDDLE of the WINNOWING SNIPE

Although the photo illustration is not the usual full-frame bird close-up, this blog post may be of interest to people from the northern United States, Canada, and Alaska who’ve been seeing – and hearing – a lot of common snipe lately. The picture captures a snipe diving from the cloudy sky near Anchorage, Alaska, thisContinue reading “RIDDLE of the WINNOWING SNIPE”

Spring Wings

More than 300 Pacific Flyway bird species funnel through Southeast Alaska each spring, crowding the skies in numbers sure to inspire even a casual birder. By Ken Marsh Salmon Bay Lake on Prince of Wales Island was alive with birds that late-April evening, proof that even here in Southeast Alaska no winter lasts forever. InContinue reading “Spring Wings”