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May 3, 2015

  • Lincoln's Sparrow, Peat Ponds, Fairbanks, Alaska

    Bird of the Week – Lincoln’s Sparrow

    We’re still on sparrows. There are lots of sparrow species, the Little Brown Jobs or LBJs. This one is the Lincoln’s Sparrow, a boreal forest specialist. Because the species breeds only in boreal regions, has a distinct preference for dense shrub cover, and is secretive in nature, much of its biology remains poorly documented. And it can be difficult to photograph. (It’s not a great photo; it’s a little soft and the shadow across the head is a distraction. This is a target species for this coming summer.) The Lincoln’s Sparrow is a microhabitat specialist, preferring low willow cover with dense ground vegetation and…

  • evil-cow-meme-6-2

    A 6-Pack of Reasons Amy Demboski Should Never Hold Office

    Shockingly there are still Anchorage residents who are answering “undecided” when asked who they will vote for on May 5th in the mayoral election. Maybe their brains are stricken with spring fever, or cabin fever, or a controlled substance of some kind (#YesOn2). We’re about to make it easier for you to decide, and the decision has little to do with policy and everything to do with integrity, honesty, and ethics. We’d like to believe that those things, when utterly lacking in a candidate of any political persuasion, render that candidate unsuitable to hold office in the eyes of the…

  • Savannah Sparrow, Steese Highway, Alaska

    Bird of the Week – Savannah Sparrow

    The distinctive yellow eyebrow – technically, the supercilium – and buzzy sa-sa-sa-savannah call make this a pretty easy species to identify. The yellow eyebrow can sometimes be a little indistinct and hard to see in the field. Savannah Sparrows prefer grassy meadows, cultivated fields, lightly grazed pastures, roadsides, coastal grasslands, sedge bogs, edge of salt marshes, and tundra. They are common along brushy roadsides in Interior Alaska.  Camera geek stuff: f7.1, 1/400, ISO200. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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    Mudflats Meets the NRA (Video)

    The Mudflats’ Zach Roberts, Marcus DiPaola and I were in Nashville recently, submersing ourselves in the gun culture at the NRA convention which was held this year in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re busy processing what we saw, and will have some more posts coming soon about our experiences there. Here’s a little preview of the convention for your amusement.

  • White-crowned Sparrow, East Denali Highway

    Bird of the Week – White-crowned Sparrow

    In the spring in Alaska, it’s hard to walk along a road or trail and not hear a White-crowned Sparrow. It’s often described as an “elegant little bird,” and it is certainly handsome.   Unlike some sparrows, the White-crowned is a bit of a generalist, occupying a wide variety of habitats and foraging on insect as well as seeds and fruit.  The distinctive white stripe on the op of the head makes this an easy bird to identify in the field. Camera geek stuff: f6.3, 1/500, ISO400. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

Headlines

Lincoln's Sparrow, Peat Ponds, Fairbanks, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Lincoln’s Sparrow

May 2, 2015

We’re still on sparrows. There are lots of sparrow species, the Little Brown Jobs or LBJs. This one is the Lincoln’s Sparrow, a boreal forest specialist. Because the species breeds only in boreal regions, has a distinct preference for dense shrub cover, and is secretive in nature, much of its biology remains poorly documented. And it can be difficult to photograph. (It’s not a great photo; it’s a little soft and the shadow across the head is a distraction. This is a target species for this coming summer.) The Lincoln’s Sparrow is a microhabitat specialist, preferring low willow cover with dense ground vegetation and…

evil-cow-meme-6-2

A 6-Pack of Reasons Amy Demboski Should Never Hold Office

Apr 30, 2015

Shockingly there are still Anchorage residents who are answering “undecided” when asked who they will vote for on May 5th in the mayoral election. Maybe their brains are stricken with spring fever, or cabin fever, or a controlled substance of some kind (#YesOn2). We’re about to make it easier for you to decide, and the decision has little to do with policy and everything to do with integrity, honesty, and ethics. We’d like to believe that those things, when utterly lacking in a candidate of any political persuasion, render that candidate unsuitable to hold office in the eyes of the…

Savannah Sparrow, Steese Highway, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Savannah Sparrow

Apr 25, 2015

The distinctive yellow eyebrow – technically, the supercilium – and buzzy sa-sa-sa-savannah call make this a pretty easy species to identify. The yellow eyebrow can sometimes be a little indistinct and hard to see in the field. Savannah Sparrows prefer grassy meadows, cultivated fields, lightly grazed pastures, roadsides, coastal grasslands, sedge bogs, edge of salt marshes, and tundra. They are common along brushy roadsides in Interior Alaska.  Camera geek stuff: f7.1, 1/400, ISO200. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

11010972_10206490022038882_5036178016109582055_n

Mudflats Meets the NRA (Video)

Apr 23, 2015

The Mudflats’ Zach Roberts, Marcus DiPaola and I were in Nashville recently, submersing ourselves in the gun culture at the NRA convention which was held this year in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re busy processing what we saw, and will have some more posts coming soon about our experiences there. Here’s a little preview of the convention for your amusement.

White-crowned Sparrow, East Denali Highway

Bird of the Week – White-crowned Sparrow

Apr 18, 2015

In the spring in Alaska, it’s hard to walk along a road or trail and not hear a White-crowned Sparrow. It’s often described as an “elegant little bird,” and it is certainly handsome.   Unlike some sparrows, the White-crowned is a bit of a generalist, occupying a wide variety of habitats and foraging on insect as well as seeds and fruit.  The distinctive white stripe on the op of the head makes this an easy bird to identify in the field. Camera geek stuff: f6.3, 1/500, ISO400. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

(Photo: J Devon)

Photos: The NRA Takes Nashville

Apr 17, 2015

Three days in the center of gun country celebrating the Second Amendment – we saw big rifles, small handguns, Presidential candidates and so much more. Here’s a selection of photos from myself and Jeanne Devon of our time at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting – this year in Nashville, Tennessee.      

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Anchorage Secessionist Wants to be its Mayor

Apr 14, 2015

I’ve been lucky enough to reside in several parts of Alaska. When I lived in Fairbanks, I heard constantly how Fairbanksans were “real Alaskans” and people in Anchorage couldn’t handle a real winter. Anchorage, on the other hand, barely acknowledges the existence of Fairbanks — you mean that little town with ridiculous weather and bad air? Southeast Alaska is viewed as North Seattle. And Kodiak is a rock with rockets — more Pacific island than piece of Alaska. But the real “us and them” is between residents of the Mat-Su Borough and Anchorage. That rivalry has barbs. I’m not sure…

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the NRA Leadership Forum in Nashville.

NRA Leaders Speechify – Aloha Akhbar?!

Apr 11, 2015

For a weekend conference designed to celebrate and protect Americans’ second amendment rights, the Leadership Conference at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association sounded a whole lot more like a fire and brimstone tent revival to quash the political aspirations of future Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana “The leader of the vast left wing conspiracy will be announcing her candidacy,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, during an unscheduled moment with the press before the event started. Jindal described this event in vague terms as an unholy alliance between big business and the Hollywood elite….

American Tree Sparrow, Denali Highway, Alaska

Bird of the Week – American Tree Sparrow

Apr 11, 2015

The American Tree Sparrow is mis-named. It breeds in Alaska and Canada, north of the treeline, far from trees. Early European settlers thought it looked like the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an unrelated species, and the name stuck. The handsome, brown-capped little sparrow breeds in alpine habitats across Alaska, between the Brooks Range and the Coastal Range. This is one of the smaller Alaska sparrows, best seen in spring when the male perches on top of low bushes, singing to establish his territory and  to find a mate. Camera geek stuff: f4, 1/250, ISO200. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather…

Song Sparrow, Copper River Delta, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Song Sparrow

Apr 4, 2015

The Song Sparrow is one of the most diverse and widespread songbirds in North America, with 24 diagnosable subspecies (52 named) breeding from Newfoundland to the Aleutian islands here in Alaska and south to central Mexico. Coastal southcentral Alaska is the northerly limit of its breeding range. Individuals vary 150% in body mass over this range—the largest subspecies breed in beach grass in the Aleutians, the smallest in California salt marshes. The species commonly seen in mainland Alaska is at the larger end of the size spectrum. While the species generally winters in the western states, birds regularly over-winter in southeastern Alaska…