Sunday, May 31, 2009


These are Brants . I forget what they are called in Inupiaq.



Known in english as Old Squaw, or the more politically correct name of Long Tailed Duck duck. The Inupiaq name for these ducks is Aahaaliq, and that is exactly how they sound Uh-haaaaaaa-lik.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things to See in Anchorage



Butthead in a big bus with no traffic!

Lotsa frikkin' traffic!

Kids selling an oosik on the corner of a major intersection.

Exciting stuff, I know.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I had to fly to the village of Notak yesterday for work. Here are a few photos from my "commute" taken through the dirty window of a Piper Navajo.

The mouth of the Noatak River where it empties into Kotzebue Sound.

Hugo Mountain.

In the lower part of this photo you can see Paul's Slough.

Lower Noatak canyon.


The confluence of the Noatak and Aggie (Agasheshok) Rivers.

The Village of Noatak.

I am leaving for Anchorage this morning and will be there til Saturday evening. I will try and post while I am down there. I have some Kotzebue stuff to post and try and post some Anchorage stuff too.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bum Bum Bumblebee


I took these photos on Wednesday. This was my first bee of the spring.

I saw my first mosquito the day before. I didn't take it's picture...I squished it.

Willow blossoms are the earliest form of food for bees here in the arctic. As soon as they are available they emerge from their winter hibernation to feed.

The bees are not the only ones feeding on the willows. The flies like it too.

Bumblebees in the arctic are larger and hairier than their more southern relatives. Their size can be kinda freaky if you are scared of bees.

But arctic bees are also rather peaceful. They don't get scared when you go near you, and they don't try to least they have never tried to sting me.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Short Eared Owl


This morning, at about awful o'clock, my dog decided that she needed to go out. When I brought her outside the sky was a beautiful red and pink with the rising sun. I figured that since I was up anyway I should take a drive and see if I could get some nice photos of the sunrise. Unfortunately, by the time I got outside of town it wasn't quite so dramatic so I turned around and headed home.

On the way back I saw this fella.

He was flying low looking for squirrels.

I pulled over and turned off my truck to see if he would land.

And he did, not too far away. He was a bold little fella.

I am not much of a birder, but I and pretty sure that he is Short Eared Owl, just like the one I saw last summer.

According to Wikapedia (which we all know is the infallible source of all truth and wisdom,)the Short Eared Owl is "a medium-sized owl averaging 34–43 cm (13 to 17 inches) in length and weighing 206–475 grams (11 to 13 ounces)."

"The Short-eared Owl occurs on all continents except Antarctica and Australia; thus it has one of the largest distributions of any bird."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Noatak River

Taken 5/20/09. Obviously I didn't take this photo since you can't get there from here right now. I got connections.




Tulugaq (too-loo-guk) is the Inupiaq word for Raven.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big Bird


I received a few phone calls this afternoon about a big bird down on the ice off of Front Street.

People thought it was a hawk or an eagle and they wanted me to go take some photos. I headed down to the ice and I was surprised that he was still out there.

He was just hanging out pissing off the seagulls and looking at that dog.

And then the dog fell through the ice.

The bird was probably thinking "Stupid dog".

And then the dog made it out.

It was attracting quite a bit of attention from people on the street.

I had the lens zoomed to 200mm and then I cropped the photos as closely as possible so that it would be easier to see what kind of bird it is.

Unfortunately he was a bit outside my range so the photos aren't that great.

At first, looking at the photo on the lcd screen of my camera, I thought that it was a Rough Legged Hawk.

The coloring was kinda similar and he really didn't look all that big at first. I showed the lcd display to one of the ladies at the Park Service and she thought hawk too.

Now that I have looked at the photos more closely on the computer I don't really think that he looks so much like a Rough Legged Hawk.

His beak and his feet are huge.

I'm thinking more along the lines of a juvenile Bald Eagle.

I have seen several adult Bald Eagles along the Noatak River, one even as far down river as Paul's Slough, but I have never seen one in town.

So anyone (KC???), who knows raptors better than I do can chime in here and let us know if this was a juvenile Bald Eagle.