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June 21, 2021

Headlines:

The Return of Bird of the Week — Osprey

For about three years (187 weeks, in fact) WC featured a Bird of the Week post on Saturdays that was cross-posted here at The Mudflats. The idea was to share bird photos with readers, maybe provide a little mostly accurate information about birds, and perhaps sell some bird photos and help pay for WC’s expensive avian photography habit. The series stopped when WC ran out of Alaska bird photos that were decent enough to share. That was about a year ago. After a massive, sometimes tedious review of a chunk of WC’s library of bird photos, WC is feeling inspired. Bird…

An Aurora Named Steve

I first saw and photographed this phenomenon on August 21, 2014, while shooting the aurora borealis in Portage Valley of the Chugach National Forest with friend and fellow photographer CJ Kale of Lava Light Galleries in Hawaii. The nature of the phenomenon was notably different compared to the typical aurora borealis. It stood straight up from the horizon with a slight bend like a bow, and it pretty much did not move. It had a pale pink hue, and it arced from the west to the east, forming a curved line across the sky. The times I have seen and…

Bird of the Week – Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Creamer's Refuge, Fairbanks

The smallest songbird in the New World boreal forest is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The red spot on the species’ head is only present in males and even then not all the time. Even ithout the red spot, the broken white eye ring, two white wingbars and incredible hyperactivity make this a pretty easy bird to identify in the field. If you can keep your binoculars on it as it frenetically jumps around. For a tiny bird, this little kinglet has an amazingly loud and long song. It’s a wonderful sign of spring. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

Bird of the Week – Sabine’s Gull

Sabine's Gull in Flight, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

A much less common gull than the ones we’ve seen the last two weeks, the Sabine’s Gull is a very handsome species that breeds in Western and Northwestern Alaska. The species winters at sea in the Southern Hemisphere, flying to the coastal Arctic and Subarctic to breed. The striking white margins on the wings, the black hood, the red-rimmed eye and the yellow tip on a black bill make this an easy bird to recognize. Like most long-distance migrants, Sabine’s don’t build much of a nest, just some packed grass on a high spot on the tundra. Sabine’s Gull is…

The Big (Not So) Bad Wolf of Yellowstone

I came across this striking video of a talk by Guardian environmental writer George Monbiot. The argument for wolves in our public parks is quite simple. It’s makes them better, healthier and easier to maintain. Last week, every wolf in the Lost Creek pack was killed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. After learning that the 11 shot included two that were part of an ongoing government research project, I felt that it was even more important for people to see this. I know that the State of Alaska is trying to start a war on “federal overreach,” but…