My Twitter Feed

April 27, 2015

Bird of the Week – Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow, Steese Highway, Alaska

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.  

Read More

Bird of the Week – White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow, East Denali Highway

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.

Read More

Anchorage Secessionist Wants to be its Mayor

safe_image-1.php

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…

Read More

Bird of the Week – American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow, Denali Highway, Alaska

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…

Read More

Bird of the Week – Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow, Copper River Delta, Alaska

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…

Read More

Bird of the Week – Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spring Migration, Delta Barley Project

By far the most common warbler in the boreal forest, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the “Butter-Butt,” prefers the canopy, the tops of trees. As a result, it’s probably the most common cause of “birder’s neck,” neck strain from looking straight overhead. The species winters in the southern United States and Central America. The Yellow-rumped Warbler has two different forms: the Audubon’s and the Myrtle. They were once thought be be separate species, but were “lumped” into a single species a little while back. Alaska sees the Myrtle Warbler form. Camera geek stuff: f8, 1/640, ISO6400. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen…

Read More

Quiet, 26 Years After the Spill

Quiet

Several years ago Shannyn Moore, Jeanne Devon and I went out to Prince William Sound [read the post from Jeanne Devon] on an assignment from BBC World Service. We were sent for the odd request that could only come from a international news agency like the BBC… gather sound. They didn’t need video, or pictures, just sound. BBC had certainly been there before and had much in their catalogue to make it sound like their reporter was in Alaska – but they were looking for sound from right then. It was July 4th weekend so instead of BBQ and beer the…

Read More

Coffey Tape Reveals Illegal Donations (AUDIO)

installation-gui-2

The following is a press release from Michigan public radio reporter, and former Anchorage radio personality Aaron Selbig. The audio tape is the subject of this week’s Alaska Dispatch News, and Mudflats column by Shannyn Moore. Her commentary can be found HERE. *** The audiotape of former Anchorage Assembly members Dan Coffey and Bill Starr discussing illegal campaign contributions first aired February 26, 2008 on the Aaron Selbig Show on KUDO 1080AM. It was later replayed by KUDO hosts Camille Conte and Shannyn Moore. The tape came to Selbig after it was recorded on the home answering machine of former…

Read More

Coffey Spilled the Beans Long Ago

spill_beans

Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey has a problem — a big problem. I’m not sure if it’s a medical issue that has affected his memory of events over the last decade or so, or if it’s just way easier for him to pretend some of the things he’s done or said didn’t happen. Shall we climb into the not-so-way-back machine? Oh, it was an exciting time, and I was in the middle of it. We’re only going back to 2008 — for now. There was this wonderful character named Alan Tesche. He was an assemblyman and used to get on…

Read More

Bird of the Week – Arctic Warbler

Arctic Warbler Male, Denali Highway

There’s been a request for bird songs and call as well as photos. WC is a photographer. But the among birders, Xeno-canto is the go-to site for bird songs. We’ll try an embedded bird call from Xeno-canto and see what the Boss thinks.  The Arctic Warbler, unlike the majority of warblers, is an Old World warbler. It’s also another incredible migrant, traveling to Alaska from Southeast Asia to breed in the alpine and sub-alpine hills of Alaska. After such an epic migration, you might expect the males to rest and feed up before staking out their territories. You’d be wrong. The…

Read More