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April 19, 2015

  • 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.

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    Photos: The NRA Takes Nashville

    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

    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?!

    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

    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…

Headlines

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Coffey Tape Reveals Illegal Donations (AUDIO)

Mar 22, 2015

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…

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Coffey Spilled the Beans Long Ago

Mar 22, 2015

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…

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New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Photos

Mar 21, 2015

For the first time in my photo career I was assigned to cover the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade – it was one of my bucket list assignments. The specific focus of my assignment was the first ever LGBT group allowed to march in the parade. You can see my photos from that part of the parade over at the Village Voice. While I was there on assignment, I also photographed the rest of the parade – below are a few of my favorite shots – many more can be seen at my photo website.

Arctic Warbler Male, Denali Highway

Bird of the Week – Arctic Warbler

Mar 21, 2015

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…

Blackpoll Warbler, Denali Highway

Bird of the Week – Blackpoll Warbler

Mar 14, 2015

This post is a little late. Sorry. Realy good concert last night. The Blackpoll Warbler breeds in the Boreal Forest south of the Brooks Range and across Canada. It’s a very cool bird for several reasons. First, its breeding and non-breeding plumages are so different that for many years it was thought to be two different species. Here’s a Blackpoll Warbler in breeding plumage along the Denali Highway. And here’s a bird in non-breeding plumage, photographed by Tom Johnson off the coast of Maine in early October. Next, there’s the bird’s song, which is among the highest pitched of any bird…

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Mar 9, 2015

Alaska Alaska Public Radio – Unusual Weather Prompts Concerns Over Early Fire Season Possibilities Alaska wildfire mangers are anticipating the possibility of an early season. This winter’s unusual weather is prompting concerns. Bloomberg – Alaska’s Hidden Billionaire Just south of the Elmendorf-Richardson military base in Anchorage, Alaska, there’s a seven-block mobile home park named Four Seasons, where rentals start at $1,300 a month. It’s one of at least 40 multifamily properties in the area, or about 12 percent of the city’s entire rental market, owned by Weidner Investment Services Inc. ADN – Denali’s squeaky-clean air best among all US national parks Fairbanks air…

Northwestern Crow, Cordova, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Northwestern Crow

Mar 7, 2015

There are four species of crow in North America, but only one breeds or commonly occurs in Alaska, the Northwestern Crow. Smaller than the American Crow, there’s a lot of disagreement among ornithologists about whether the Northwestern Crow may just be a subspecies of its American Crow cousin. For now, based on the size difference and their quite different calls, the American Ornithological Union thinks it is a different species. Camera geek stuff: f8, 1/250, ISO1000. The white drops are rain. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Palin Outraged Clinton Pulled a Palin

Mar 5, 2015

Sarah Palin, whom shame and decency dictate should be hiding out somewhere in the back of a dark deep cave with a bag over her head this week, is instead standing on the tippy top of Mt. Hypocrisy with a giant bullhorn yelling, “Look at me!” Should any of us be surprised? No. Was I still a little surprised? A little. Apparently the thought of raking Hillary Clinton (whom Palin thanked in 2008 for putting “16 million cracks in the glass ceiling”) over the political coals was just too tempting, just too enticing to put in check her own conscience, or…

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Mar 2, 2015

Alaska ADN – Application for Russia’s Arctic shelf claim out for bid Russia has announced a tender offer for preparation of documents to back its claim with the United Nations to expand the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic. The Ministry of Natural Resources has announced a tender offer for edit of the application for extension of the Russian shelf in the Arctic. The tender offer, which carries a 120 million-ruble ($1.96 million) price tag, closes on March 13, RIA Novosti reports. ABC – Canada Border Hours Worry Residents in Small Alaska Town Residents in a small southeast Alaska…

Black-billed Magpie, southwest of Delta Junction

Bird of the Week – Black-billed Magpie

Feb 28, 2015

WC is staying with corvids – birds of the crow family – a little longer, this time we’ll have a look at the Black-billed Magpie. A bird of myth and legend, like the Common Raven, the species is expanding its range, breeding in the Fairbanks area in recent years. The species readily habituates to people, in fact, when Lewis and Clark first encountered magpies in 1804 in South Dakota, these birds were bold, entering tents to steal meat and taking food from the hand. Magpies sometimes seem to WC to model themselves, showing off their flashy feathers for a photographer. How…