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August 5, 2015

  • 700LEYE20150714

    Bird of the Week – Lesser Yellowlegs

    The signature shore bird of the boreal forest might be the Lesser Yellowlegs. William Rowan got it exactly right when he wrote, “They will be perched there as though the safety of the entire universe depended on the amount of noise they made.”Lesser Yellowlegs provide biparental care to its kids but the females tend to depart breeding areas before chicks can fly, thus leaving males to defend the young until fledging. Whether it is one bird or two, they are noisy, with the distinctive tu tu tu calls. Even if it weren’t for the call the bright yellow legs that gives these birds their…

  • alg-trump-palin-2-jpg

    President Trump Wants Palin in Cabinet

    I’d like Sarah Palin to be in a cabinet too – preferably one that is soundproof. But, we don’t always get what we want. Loudmouth fake political celebrity, and bad hairpiece-wearing reality TV star Donald Trump is running for office. And he’d love to have loudmouth fake political celebrity, and bad hairpiece-wearing reality TV star Sarah Palin in his cabinet in the unlikely event he is elected President of the United States. When you think about it, it’s really amazing these two haven’t connected long before now. I mean, ok, there was that awkward first date where they both ate…

  • 700SPSA20150714

    Bird of the Week – Spotted Sandpiper

    We’re back to the peeps, the sandpipers. It doesn’t take many weeks to see all of Alaska’s hummingbirds, after all. But there are lots and lots of shorebirds. The Spotted Sandpiper is fairly common in Alaska. The signature spots are only present during breeding season. But the Spottie also has a distinct, teetering or rocking behavior that makes it pretty easy to recognize in the field, even after it loses its spots. Spotted Sandpipers are among a small minority of birds that have reversed sex roles; i.e., females are more aggressive and active in courtship than males, and males take the…

  • Rufous Hummingbird, Kachemak Bay

    Bird of the Week: Rufous Hummingbird

    We’ll take a break from the pesky shorebirds and take a moment to look at one of nature’s marvels. Just one of the 338 known hummingbird species breeds in Alaska, the Rufous Hummingbird. The Rufous Hummingbird is nothing less than astonishing. This tiny little 3.5 gram bird migrates thousands of kilometers, from the shores of Cook Inlet to northern Mexico. If you don’t find that amazing, your sense of wonder must be lost. The female builds the nest and in just a few days after arriving, lays and starts incubating eggs. Three weeks later, the kids are fledged and after building fat…

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    Jade Helm – What is Actually Happening in Texas

      There has been a lot of conspiracy talk about Jade Helm 15 as the military exercises get underway this week. Here’s what is actually happening, and why. So what is our military doing? The world situation is changing and the combat environment that our forces face will soon change from deserts, hills, and villages, to one where our troops will have to fight in a more urban and or metropolitan setting. So in response to this, our Special Operations Forces (who normally are one of the first into the fight) are familiarizing themselves with operating in these types of environments….

Headlines

700LEYE20150714

Bird of the Week – Lesser Yellowlegs

Aug 1, 2015

The signature shore bird of the boreal forest might be the Lesser Yellowlegs. William Rowan got it exactly right when he wrote, “They will be perched there as though the safety of the entire universe depended on the amount of noise they made.”Lesser Yellowlegs provide biparental care to its kids but the females tend to depart breeding areas before chicks can fly, thus leaving males to defend the young until fledging. Whether it is one bird or two, they are noisy, with the distinctive tu tu tu calls. Even if it weren’t for the call the bright yellow legs that gives these birds their…

alg-trump-palin-2-jpg

President Trump Wants Palin in Cabinet

Jul 29, 2015

I’d like Sarah Palin to be in a cabinet too – preferably one that is soundproof. But, we don’t always get what we want. Loudmouth fake political celebrity, and bad hairpiece-wearing reality TV star Donald Trump is running for office. And he’d love to have loudmouth fake political celebrity, and bad hairpiece-wearing reality TV star Sarah Palin in his cabinet in the unlikely event he is elected President of the United States. When you think about it, it’s really amazing these two haven’t connected long before now. I mean, ok, there was that awkward first date where they both ate…

700SPSA20150714

Bird of the Week – Spotted Sandpiper

Jul 25, 2015

We’re back to the peeps, the sandpipers. It doesn’t take many weeks to see all of Alaska’s hummingbirds, after all. But there are lots and lots of shorebirds. The Spotted Sandpiper is fairly common in Alaska. The signature spots are only present during breeding season. But the Spottie also has a distinct, teetering or rocking behavior that makes it pretty easy to recognize in the field, even after it loses its spots. Spotted Sandpipers are among a small minority of birds that have reversed sex roles; i.e., females are more aggressive and active in courtship than males, and males take the…

Rufous Hummingbird, Kachemak Bay

Bird of the Week: Rufous Hummingbird

Jul 18, 2015

We’ll take a break from the pesky shorebirds and take a moment to look at one of nature’s marvels. Just one of the 338 known hummingbird species breeds in Alaska, the Rufous Hummingbird. The Rufous Hummingbird is nothing less than astonishing. This tiny little 3.5 gram bird migrates thousands of kilometers, from the shores of Cook Inlet to northern Mexico. If you don’t find that amazing, your sense of wonder must be lost. The female builds the nest and in just a few days after arriving, lays and starts incubating eggs. Three weeks later, the kids are fledged and after building fat…

163826_600

Jade Helm – What is Actually Happening in Texas

Jul 16, 2015

  There has been a lot of conspiracy talk about Jade Helm 15 as the military exercises get underway this week. Here’s what is actually happening, and why. So what is our military doing? The world situation is changing and the combat environment that our forces face will soon change from deserts, hills, and villages, to one where our troops will have to fight in a more urban and or metropolitan setting. So in response to this, our Special Operations Forces (who normally are one of the first into the fight) are familiarizing themselves with operating in these types of environments….

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Mudflats Goes Militia in Talkeetna

Jul 12, 2015

Friday 13:00, Tesoro Station Mini-Mart, Talkeetna, Alaska The Tesoro gas station mini-mart in Wasilla does not carry potatoes. As a matter of fact, they do not carry produce of any kind. I am supposed provide dinner tonight for my little corner of the militia encampment. Yes, I’m going back again this year to the Alaska Prepper/Survivalist/Militia Rendezvous, and instead of PB&J like last time, I’ve got steak, and asparagus – but I left the potatoes sitting on the counter at home. After a couple laps up and down the tiny aisles, I have to make a call. The closest thing…

Solitary Sandpiper, Chena Hot Springs Road, Fairbanks

Bird of the Week: Solitary Sandpiper

Jul 11, 2015

Another sandpiper that doesn’t have much to do with sand, the Solitary Sandpiper nests in trees in the boreal forest. There aren’t many tree-nesting sandpipers, which makes the Solitary pretty unique. It gets its name because it’s different in another way, too: it migrates alone, not in a flock. This is a slender, fairly small, dark sandpiper, about 8 inches long. Its upper parts are dark olive-brown, finely spotted with whitish-buff to cinnamon-white. It has a white throat and belly, yellow legs and that distinctive narrow white eye-ring. The bird’s dark underwings contrast with white belly in flight. Camera geek stuff:…

Upland Sandpiper, Delta Barley Project, Delta Junction

Bird of the Week: Upland Sandpiper

Jul 4, 2015

The Upland Sandpiper is a little different. Unlike most shorebirds, the Upland Sandpiper has only incidental contact with the shore. It spends its winters on the grasslands of South America and its summers on the grasslands of North America, including the fields of the Delta Agricultural Project, southeast of Delta Junction. Uppies have an amazing call, exactly a wolf whistle. This fellow was, literally, singing in the rain. This is a bigger sandpiper, 12 inches tall. The large, dark eye in a small head and the long, pale yellow legs make this an easy identification, even if he isn’t singing…

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Hartney Bay, Cordova

Bird of the Week: Semipalmated Sandpiper

Jun 27, 2015

Even birders struggle to distinguish Semipalmated Sandpipers from Western Sandpipers. Generally, Semipalmateds are paler than Westerns, less rufous in coloration. The bill is a bit blunter. But Semipalmateds can be pretty rufous, and generally sandpipers’ bills are probing the mud, making comparison tough. As WC said, it’s a tough identification in the field. This photo catches a field mark that is quite hard to see in the field but definitive: note the webbing between the toes. That’s the “semipalmated” business in the bird’s name. This is another photo taken while laid out flat in the Hartney Bay mud. WC would…

NYC Reacts to Gay Marriage  Ruling at Stonewall Inn

At the Historic Stonewall Inn – Gay Marriage Celebrations in NYC

Jun 26, 2015

On a week of historic Supreme Court decisions and non-stop breaking news, the decision that gay marriage was constitutional has swept the Nation like a cool breeze on a Summer day in Fairbanks. I’m stuck in New York City for the time being so hearing the news, I ran to the Stonewall Inn, the place many call the home of the LGBT rights movement in the USA. The celebrations were just ramping up as it was only an hour after the official announcement from D.C. but the crowd was certainly celebratory. Here’s a couple of my best shots – I’ll…