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”

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. ###

The Savoring Season

Autumn lends colorful insight to life on the Last Frontier. By Ken Marsh “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”   – Samuel Butler I Early as it seems, first week of August, the wild raspberries are already perfectly ripe in Southcentral Alaska. Locals find themContinue reading “The Savoring Season”

Caribounty

I was fortunate to spend an evening and a morning in Denali Park this week with Polly. We didn’t have a permit, so were only allowed to drive into the parking area two or three miles short of Savage River (normally you can park at Savage River, but the lot is currently closed).Being industrious andContinue reading “Caribounty”

On the Prowl

Ever get the feeling while walking in the woods that something might be stalking you? Well, your Spidey senses may not be wrong … When I encountered this lynx crouched outside an Arctic ground squirrel den, it briefly turned its attention to me, stalking closer before hunkering down. A little closer … slowly … TheContinue reading “On the Prowl”

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”