My Twitter Feed

June 27, 2016

  • Red-winged Blackbird Male, Peat Ponds, Fairbanks

    Bird of the Week – Red-winged Blackbird

    Interior Alaska is near the northerly limit of Red-winged Blackbirds’ range. The Red-winged Blackbird might be the most abundant (and best studied) bird in the U.S. The species breeds in marsh and upland habitats from interior Alaska and central Canada to Costa Rica, and from California to the Atlantic Coast and West Indies. Although primarily associated with large freshwater marshes and prairies, it also nests in small patches of marsh vegetation in roadside ditches, saltwater marshes, rice paddies, hay fields, pasture land, fallow fields, suburban habitats, and even urban parks. The Red-winged Blackbird is also known for its polygynous social…

  • AKRiver

    Weekend Off – News You Missed

    Alaska KNOM – First Evidence of Ancient Trade With Asia Uncovered in Northwest Alaska There’s new evidence that metal goods from central Asia made their way to Alaska long before contact with Europeans. Juneau Empire – After Legislature quits with work undone, Governor calls them back At 11:46 a.m. Sunday, the Alaska Senate adjourned the fourth special session of the 29th Alaska Legislature. Forty minutes later, Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation stating that the fifth special session will begin on July 11. On its agenda will be three items: Using the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay…

  • WebQ-edited-NRA-SatMay21-13

    2nd Amendment Overreach

    Regulations are killing my freedom to blow myself up with a gas container. When I was a kid, gas containers were not much more than red buckets with a spout and a usually missing black cap. Yeah, some gas sloshed out when you carried the can in and out of the boat or off into the woods with the chainsaw, but that was just the way it was. No big problem. These days, I need nuclear codes to get the spout to open enough for a dribble of gas. And the spout has some kind of magic slot that apparently…

  • Rusty Blackbird, Shaw Creek Flats, Alaska

    Bird of the Week – Rusty Blackbird

    Some years ago, Mrs. WC got a telephone call from a lady who reported there were a lot of “baby Ravens” in her yard. After careful questioning, Mrs. WC established they were Rusty Blackbirds which, after all, are nearly black, even if they don’t otherwise resemble Common Ravens very much, and “baby Ravens” not at all. Joking aside, Rusty Blackbirds are a species in trouble. Their populations have declined catastrophically. Data from long-term surveys like the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Counts suggest that Rusty Blackbird numbers have plummeted a staggering 85-95% since the mid-1900’s. It’s likely some combination of…

  • Photo By Zach D Roberts

    Joe Biden For VP

    Written and originally published for NationofChange.org I know, on principle it’s a ridiculous idea. Vice President Biden has already served 8 years in the position and it seems that he’s ready to retire. But here’s the deal – the current favorite media front runners for the position NEED to stay where they are. In a political world where Massachusetts Senate seats can go to Tea Party pickup driving guys darlings – Democrats don’t really have the flexibility for taking chances. But before we even talk about the current choices – let’s discuss 2008. Everyone wanted in on the Obama Administration,…

Headlines

Red-winged Blackbird Male, Peat Ponds, Fairbanks

Bird of the Week – Red-winged Blackbird

Jun 25, 2016

Interior Alaska is near the northerly limit of Red-winged Blackbirds’ range. The Red-winged Blackbird might be the most abundant (and best studied) bird in the U.S. The species breeds in marsh and upland habitats from interior Alaska and central Canada to Costa Rica, and from California to the Atlantic Coast and West Indies. Although primarily associated with large freshwater marshes and prairies, it also nests in small patches of marsh vegetation in roadside ditches, saltwater marshes, rice paddies, hay fields, pasture land, fallow fields, suburban habitats, and even urban parks. The Red-winged Blackbird is also known for its polygynous social…

AKRiver

Weekend Off – News You Missed

Jun 20, 2016

Alaska KNOM – First Evidence of Ancient Trade With Asia Uncovered in Northwest Alaska There’s new evidence that metal goods from central Asia made their way to Alaska long before contact with Europeans. Juneau Empire – After Legislature quits with work undone, Governor calls them back At 11:46 a.m. Sunday, the Alaska Senate adjourned the fourth special session of the 29th Alaska Legislature. Forty minutes later, Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation stating that the fifth special session will begin on July 11. On its agenda will be three items: Using the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay…

WebQ-edited-NRA-SatMay21-13

2nd Amendment Overreach

Jun 19, 2016

Regulations are killing my freedom to blow myself up with a gas container. When I was a kid, gas containers were not much more than red buckets with a spout and a usually missing black cap. Yeah, some gas sloshed out when you carried the can in and out of the boat or off into the woods with the chainsaw, but that was just the way it was. No big problem. These days, I need nuclear codes to get the spout to open enough for a dribble of gas. And the spout has some kind of magic slot that apparently…

Rusty Blackbird, Shaw Creek Flats, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Rusty Blackbird

Jun 18, 2016

Some years ago, Mrs. WC got a telephone call from a lady who reported there were a lot of “baby Ravens” in her yard. After careful questioning, Mrs. WC established they were Rusty Blackbirds which, after all, are nearly black, even if they don’t otherwise resemble Common Ravens very much, and “baby Ravens” not at all. Joking aside, Rusty Blackbirds are a species in trouble. Their populations have declined catastrophically. Data from long-term surveys like the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Counts suggest that Rusty Blackbird numbers have plummeted a staggering 85-95% since the mid-1900’s. It’s likely some combination of…

Photo By Zach D Roberts

Joe Biden For VP

Jun 14, 2016

Written and originally published for NationofChange.org I know, on principle it’s a ridiculous idea. Vice President Biden has already served 8 years in the position and it seems that he’s ready to retire. But here’s the deal – the current favorite media front runners for the position NEED to stay where they are. In a political world where Massachusetts Senate seats can go to Tea Party pickup driving guys darlings – Democrats don’t really have the flexibility for taking chances. But before we even talk about the current choices – let’s discuss 2008. Everyone wanted in on the Obama Administration,…

tumblr_mraqb7hR8v1qaseldo1_r1_1280

Reverse Robin Hood Economics

Jun 12, 2016

I’ve watched a particular boat for the last several years. It’s a 15-and-a-half-foot wooden boat built decades ago by my neighbor Dick Dunn. The little boat sat submerged, tied to a piling, during most tides. Barnacles and blue mussels took up residence and seemed quite happy shacked up from bow to stern. See, another neighbor had acquired the boat and got pretty busy with a million projects. It happens. Every time I drove past that forgotten vessel, it made me a tiny bit sad. The boat had been built for a wonderful woman here on the bay who has since…

Ruffed Grouse Closeup, Creamer's Refuge, Fairbanks

Bird of the Week – Ruffed Grouse

Jun 11, 2016

We’re pretty much done with raptors. It’s time to look at birds a little lower down the food chain. And in Interior Alaska, that means the Ruffed Grouse. This is Dennis, a Ruffed Grouse who was determined to drive all humans out of his territory. Dennis isn’t with us any longer; it’s not a behavioral style that confers an evolutionary advantage; his genes have left the pool. Like every species of Galliformes that WC has encountered, the Ruffed Grouse has an elaborate courtship display, including the display shown here and very impressive “drumming.” While perched on a log, stump, boulder,…

AroundtheLens-Mudflats

Around the Lens – Episode 28

Jun 8, 2016

        This week’s panelists for Around the Lens, episode 28, featured newcomer Michelle McLoughlin and returning panelist Jamie Rose. We discussed Instagram and their changing algorithm, equipment upgrading and the D500. Our eye-catchers this week included a story about the recently killed NPR photographer David Gilkey, dog toys that show wear of being dog toys, the book Afghanistan Between Hope and Fear and a story about Trump and a judge. Watch the video on YouTube. Podcast on iTunes – https://goo.gl/9Xx9Eo Podcast Direct Feed – http://goo.gl/v622SN Facebook – https://goo.gl/1ZqpHo Instagram – https://goo.gl/9s5KLE Twitter – https://goo.gl/XLeYuW Patreon – https://goo.gl/O5BiyH

aack23

AAACK! It’s Election Season in Alaska Again

Jun 5, 2016

Originally published on ADN.com  When I was growing up my dad had a secretary. Her name was Cathy, and it was during the era of the “Cathy” comic strip. I was pretty sure it was written about her. I thought she was wonderful. She had awesome permed hair and those glasses that were pink on the bottom and blue on the top with a sparkly butterfly in the lower corner. Cathy had something to figure out. How to program her VCR to record shows. Because of the digital video recorder, there is an entire generation who doesn’t understand how many…

Long-tailed Jaeger on Nest, Denali Highway

Bird of the Week – Long-tailed Jaeger

Jun 4, 2016

Jaegers, called Skuas outside of North America, are cousins of gulls that have a more raptor-like lifestyle. The smallest Jaeger, and the most common in North America, is the Long-tailed Jaeger. This is a mostly pelagic – sea-going – species that comes ashore to coastal and alpine Alaska to breed. Handsome and elegant in flight, with a long tail, it is highly territorial. More than one alpine backpacker has been ambushed by a Long-tailed Jaeger protecting its nest. This species’ diet in during consists primarily of lemmings and voles, so it is vulnerable to cycles in the populations of these rodents. The Long-tailed Jaeger…