Saturday, June 18, 2016

Last Kodiak post for now

This hike was actually on my second day in Kodiak. As before, I had an excellent tour guide with Robin. It sure is a beautiful Island. I was very lucky with the weather being as beautiful as it was. It's well known for its rainy days.
This is a photo of the airport.. One of the only two ways to get here, air or sea.
 The boat harbor where the pictures from the previous post were taken.
 Downtown Kodiak. It's small but it's a really neat place to check out.
 I believe Robin says the island gets about 18% of its power from these turbines.
 This was actually taken in the boat harbor with the turbines in the background. Gives you an idea on how huge they are.
I can't thank Robin enough for her hospitality. I feel she went well beyond what she needed to but I am so grateful she did. The reception from all the people I visited with sure made the trip all worth while and a whole lot of fun.
If you're thinking of going to Kodiak, visit Discover Kodiak. You won't be sorry.

If you like to see all of my Kodiak trip photos, click here

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Back to Kodiak

Kodiak is the second largest island in the U.S., second only to Hawaii. It's one of the largest fishing ports in the U.S. and the largest in Alaska.
At least we're back at the boat harbor via photography anyways. I love walking the docks and looking at the boats. No, I don't want to work on the boats, but I do respect those that do.
 I wonder at their names and how they got their inspiration to name them what they do.
 Most boats were still in dock, some in dry dock doing repairs, cleaning up, painting and stocking up. Irene H might have been on a test run or picking up supplies across the bay.
Alaska Department of Public Safety, Division of Wildlife TroopersMarine Enforcement Section vessel P/V Stimson moved to Kodiak earlier this year from Unalaska. It's a 150 foot patrol vessel and is surely impressive. It's the largest in their fleet.
 Peggy Jo was going out while we were there.
 They built these artificial islands in the harbor to keep these sea lions off the docks.
 I can see trying to tip toe past these guys.
 There was all types of work going on in preparation for the upcoming fishing season.
 I noticed a lot of the boats had four legged deckhands.
 The weather was awesome, not too hot, not too cool.
 I don't know this deckhands name, but he reminded me of Petie on Little Rascals.
 Looking at this boat in dry dock, you cam see how much is below the waterline when it's in the water.
 The small boat harbor
 Irene H was docked and quiet by the time we made it to where she was. If you recall, she was headed into the harbor at the top of the post.
 Another four legged deckhand.
  Another four legged deckhand.
 This is as much I could get of the boat harbor in one shot. It's pretty big. Awesome tour, everyone said hi or started a conversation.
Robin brought me here before taking me to the airport. Good food, good beer and good company. Thanks again Robin for your hospitality.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Off to Kodiak NWR

Two weekends ago I went to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge to do a presentation for International Migratory Bird Day. I hadn't been to Kodiak in over 20 years. I remembered rain and rain and rain and fish. To everyone's surprise, the weather was awesome the whole weekend. 

Claudia put me up for the weekend. I had a little time before she hosted a potluck with the Kodiak Audubon. She loaned me her car and off I went to one of her suggestions, Ft Abercrombie State Park.

What a great suggestion. It was a short distance away and what gorgeous scenery. I was sitting at the top of a bluff overlooking Millers Point when I got photo bombed by a mature bald eagle. It put on quite the show playing in the thermals.
 It flew by a few times and I guess figured it was time to move on. It was really cool. I see lots of eagles and get to do education presentations with them, help rehabilitate sick and injured ones and I never get bored at watching them in the wild.
 The rock formations in the bay are spectacular. The shapes, the colorization is indescribable. I can only imagine what it's like out there during foul weather.
 This guy picked this bluff as his office for a bit. He was talking business at a beautiful spot.
 Here's some of the driftwood washed up on the beach.
This playhouse was on private property right outside the entrance to the park.

So it was off to the potluck where I meet up with some awesome people with the Kodiak Audubon. There were all kinds of bird stories going on, even some about chickens.
The next day, Claudia took me on a hike around Millers Cove. The lighting was terrible, but what a great hike. These Harlequin were just hanging out. Such a beautiful duck. I wish I had taken my Sigma 150-600 with me on the hike.
Claudia was an awesome narrator. I guess with her years commercial fishing helps. She told me that only experienced captains would take there boats between the rocks and only when the water was clam.
The oystercatchers weren't cooperating. They also were between the sun and us.
They weren't happy with some gulls that were hanging out either.
 Just a reminder that we were in the most northern rainforest.
 Another shutter nut. Lisa works for USF&W, if you couldn't tell. But she's a very talented photographer. She took some photos of the birds I took with me that were down right awesome.
While we were talking with Lisa, Robin at Claudia's house, this young brown bear, maybe 2 years old, was walking along the banks of the water maybe 25 feet away from us. He had no concerns with us. We took a lot of photos but were also ready to run in the house.
 The Russian Orthodox Religion is very popular in Alaska. It might have something to do with Alaska being a Russian territory at one time. They sure have some beautiful churches.
This young lady I've known about 6 or 7 years, just by phone. Robin is one of the wildlife biologist at Kodiak NWR, but she specializes in birds. She would call me at night and on weekends to arrange to send in injured birds, mainly eagles, to Bird TLC after hours. She would also arrange with Ravn Alaska to fly the birds to Anchorage and I would pick them up at the airport. BTW, Ravn Alaska never charges us. There is no telling how many birds she's saved.

Oh, she's also a great tour guide. She made sure I got to see as much as possible while I was there. I had a great time.

I got more photos I'll be sharing here soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Building a mew

For those of you that don't know, I've been volunteering at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage for over 10 years now. One of my passions is caretaking a Snowy Owl by the name of Ghost. Another passion is doing education programs with him around Alaska. He had lived with me since 2006, but when I moved last summer, he moved to the Bird TLC clinic until I can get him a new mew (home) built.
 After a few months of getting settled into the new house, I started a Go Fund Me page to help raise monies for supplies. Donations poured in from awesome people from all around totaling over $1700 so far. I expect the total expense to be around $3000. Whatever isn't raised I'm paying for myself.
 I was able to start building some, mainly the walls, in my garage. That worked out well because of the time of year. It wasn't cold yet (at least by Alaskan standards) but there was less daylight every day.
 With the lack of snow, I was able to get started building outside. If we had a normal winter with lots of snow, construction would have had to wait until spring.
 A very sick dog, Christmas and New Years, a cold, work allowing me to only construct on weekends, weather and day to day life seemed to slow the progress down, but I continue to build.
A few mistakes were made. The ground was very frozen when I started, but with no snow cover, the warm days have started to thaw the ground out. That made for some leveling issues. But we got some leveling blocks and got that corrected.
I had some good supervision from Macy and Cooper provided security from the neighbors. Within the next week or so we should be ready for the roof, an arctic entry, gravel and finishing touches. After that comes an inspection by Bird TLC and then US Fish & Wildlife approval. Hopefully Ghost will get to move in within a couple months. It's not a fast process by any means.
My tips to anyone taking on a project like this, don't start it right before the beginning of winter. I'll update this story when the mew is completed. Now you know why I haven't been blogging much.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Some days and good and some days are YIKES!

It had been a while since I took the pups on a walk away from the neighborhood. It was time to get away from the distractions of the neighborhood dogs barking at us because we are walking down the street. I decided we should check out Palmer Hay Flats at Cottonwood Creek. The deals they have on the trails to protect from erosion are hard on Macy's feet and I figured they were covered with snow now, so we should be good.
 Well the place looked awesome. Not a lot of snow, but enough for ground cover. Only two cars in the parking lot, so no people distractions. That's good because Cooper was being a schmuck. He was not listening and was very hyper. I kept him close on leash, but Macy I let loose. She never goes far, maybe 20 feet before she checks to see where I'm at.
 I should have been paying closer to her, but Cooper was being Mr. Brat. Normally he walks OK, but today he was pulling, running from side to side and generally not earning any treats. So I wasn't watching Macy and I wasn't watching the trail.
 You got it. Moose! Maybe 15 to 20 feet away in a bunch of willow brush. I didn't see it until I heard a loud snort and the snap of branches. Neither dog saw or heard it, probably because of Cooper acting up so much. I rushed them up the trail, keeping an eye on Bullwinkle. He came onto the trail and stood with a wide stance while watching us. The pups still haven't noticed it. I'm glad I don't use them for hunting. It turned around after we were maybe 30 feet away and went up the trail from where we came. Now we only have to watch for it on the way back. Fortunately it was long gone by the time we returned.
We made it home in one piece. I have a little less hair, Macy's exhausted from the walk and Cooper is giving the innocent look. I think I need to give Cooper a little more time before I take him back.