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August 28, 2016

  • Hooded Merganser, Sitka, Alaska

    Bird of the Week – Hooded Merganser

    The third species of Merganser that breeds in North America is the Hooded Merganser. The male likely wins the prize for snappiest headgear among North American birds. Hoodies are the smallest of the three mergansers, and the only one that breeds only in North America. A cavity nester, it prefers cavities – or manmade nest boxes – in old trees near or over water. Hoodies have extensive courtship displays, including the upward neck stretch. Hoodies have an attitude that is much larger than their diminutive size. They’re fun to watch. Unfortunately, humankind’s relentless cutting of old growth forests, where it’s…

  • AKLandscapeWeekendReview

    The Weekend Off – News You Missed

    Alaska The Guardian – ‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ Scientist Peter Wadhams believes the summer ice cover at the north pole is about to disappear, triggering even more rapid global warming KUOW – Threatened By Rising Seas, Alaska Village Decides To Relocate Rising sea levels have eroded an Inupiat Eskimo village for decades. Now, residents of Shishmaref, Alaska, have officially voted to relocate. ADN.com – The Arctic Circle may be more than 400 miles north, but Seward has become an Arctic port In this picturesque Alaska port town more than 400 miles south…

  • ZachDRoberts-Cross

    Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer

    Originally published in ADN.com I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…

  • Red-breasted Merganser Male, North Fork Chena River

    Bird of the Week – Red-breasted Merganser

    All three species of North American mergansers breed in Alaska, although one rarely makes it past the Panhandle. We’ve looked at the Common Merganser already. Now we’ll have a look at the other two. The Red-breasted Merganser is the most northerly breeding of the mergansers, found all the way to the North Slope. It’s also the bird with the second-snappiest hair-do (feather-do?), trailing only next week’s species. This is a diving duck, foraging as deep at 15-20 feet underwater for fish, especially smolts. Red-breasted Mergansers don’t breed until they are two years old, and breed late in the season, with…

  • Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.59.03 PM

    Reacting to the ‘Syrian Boy’

    During her daily CNN show Kate Bolduan started to cry while discussing the video of the small Syrian boy. The video is going viral on facebook even after the footage of the 5 year old boy – Omran Daqneesh had already hit the news cycle. Bouldan wasn’t trying to make the story about her – she was just responding as I am right now as I write this. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to respond to this as journalists, as commentators or just as human beings. Walter Cronkite in an interview with Terry Gross spoke of the moment that he told America that President…

Headlines

Hooded Merganser, Sitka, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Hooded Merganser

Aug 27, 2016

The third species of Merganser that breeds in North America is the Hooded Merganser. The male likely wins the prize for snappiest headgear among North American birds. Hoodies are the smallest of the three mergansers, and the only one that breeds only in North America. A cavity nester, it prefers cavities – or manmade nest boxes – in old trees near or over water. Hoodies have extensive courtship displays, including the upward neck stretch. Hoodies have an attitude that is much larger than their diminutive size. They’re fun to watch. Unfortunately, humankind’s relentless cutting of old growth forests, where it’s…

AKLandscapeWeekendReview

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Aug 22, 2016

Alaska The Guardian – ‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ Scientist Peter Wadhams believes the summer ice cover at the north pole is about to disappear, triggering even more rapid global warming KUOW – Threatened By Rising Seas, Alaska Village Decides To Relocate Rising sea levels have eroded an Inupiat Eskimo village for decades. Now, residents of Shishmaref, Alaska, have officially voted to relocate. ADN.com – The Arctic Circle may be more than 400 miles north, but Seward has become an Arctic port In this picturesque Alaska port town more than 400 miles south…

ZachDRoberts-Cross

Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer

Aug 21, 2016

Originally published in ADN.com I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…

Red-breasted Merganser Male, North Fork Chena River

Bird of the Week – Red-breasted Merganser

Aug 20, 2016

All three species of North American mergansers breed in Alaska, although one rarely makes it past the Panhandle. We’ve looked at the Common Merganser already. Now we’ll have a look at the other two. The Red-breasted Merganser is the most northerly breeding of the mergansers, found all the way to the North Slope. It’s also the bird with the second-snappiest hair-do (feather-do?), trailing only next week’s species. This is a diving duck, foraging as deep at 15-20 feet underwater for fish, especially smolts. Red-breasted Mergansers don’t breed until they are two years old, and breed late in the season, with…

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 7.59.03 PM

Reacting to the ‘Syrian Boy’

Aug 18, 2016

During her daily CNN show Kate Bolduan started to cry while discussing the video of the small Syrian boy. The video is going viral on facebook even after the footage of the 5 year old boy – Omran Daqneesh had already hit the news cycle. Bouldan wasn’t trying to make the story about her – she was just responding as I am right now as I write this. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to respond to this as journalists, as commentators or just as human beings. Walter Cronkite in an interview with Terry Gross spoke of the moment that he told America that President…

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19th Amendment Solutions

Aug 15, 2016

It’s not a secret that every few years I’m asked who the Democrats should run against Republican Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer. Every time I tell them they’d be better off spending their money against one of the Republican Future Felons from the Mat-Su. Mr. Seaton is a respected fisherman and responsible legislator, one held in high regard by his community. The nastiest races in our fair state are often the Republican-on-Republican primaries. Outside interests pay to flood our boxes with scary flyers promising gloom and doom if we elect their unchosen. Oh, the horrors! According to them, Homer’s Seaton…

LanfieldEndorsement

The Mudflats Endorses Jeff Landfield in the Republican Primary

Aug 13, 2016

It’s last-minute classless attack ad time, and lookie what came in the mail! Craig Johnson quoted us and everything. Because Craig Johnson thinks that even we – the godless, tree-huggin’ bunny-smoochin’ libruls believe that he, Craig Johnson, is the better choice for Senate District L. That would make Craig Johnson WRONG. While our social style is a little less… freewheeling than Mr. Landfield’s, we have found him to be sincere, hard-working, smart, willing to listen to and consider all sides of an issue, and even downright likeable. Craig Johnson on the other hand is a humorless, closed-minded, oil guzzlin’ blowhard….

Parasitic Jaeger on a Nest, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Bird of the Week – Parasitic Jaeger

Aug 12, 2016

Back in June, we looked at a Long-tailed Jaeger. This is one of that species’ relatives, the Parasitic Jaeger. Even among gulls and jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers are unsavory characters. A major part of their diet is obtained through kleptoparasitism. They steal food from other birds, either by harassing the other birds till they drop if or, if it’s been swallowed, until the victim regurgitates it. Alaska-breeding Parasitic Jaegers aren’t exclusively kleptoparasites, unlike their east Atlantic cousins. Alaska’s birds also hunt and, truth be told, steal eggs. Hey, it’s a living. Parasitic Jeager are among the least known, least studied birds that…

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Wasilla Republican Threatens Bull With Kitchen Knife For Your Vote

Aug 11, 2016

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” that was Joni Ernst just months before she become Congresswoman Joni Ernst. America seems to like someone threatening to cut the balls off of livestock. The television ad, titled “Squeal” caused quite a bit of conversation, but that was an election seasons that had soon to be elected officials firing guns at tax code and printed versions of legislation… it wasn’t the worst ad of the 2014 political season. I’m not sure if Alaska State Senate candidate Lynn Gattis was going for…

A protester being arrested after a clash between the protesters and the Military Police.

Outside the Olympic Village, There’s a Bigger Story Happening

Aug 8, 2016

While much of news media focuses it’s cameras on the sports being played out inside the stadiums there’s a bigger story happening outside that involves thousands of Brazilians. Many have been displaced by the Olympic games and the World Cup before it and many more complain of the games costs in a country reeling from financial collapse. As with Sochi claims of corruption have been made against the government and the IOC – billions of dollars with little oversight have been funnelled from tax dollars to building hotels and stadiums. Many Brazilians ask why the money could be found for the…