Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween is coming!

All the talk has been about the weather lately. I've lived here a long time. When my kids were young we always made sure that we bought them Halloween Costumes that could fit over winter gear.

When we did go Trick or Treating, we went to a neighborhood that the houses were close together and where most of them gave out treats. Usually that was on the military bases. They also had security everywhere and they handed out little flashlights to the kids.

Then we would go to the military air passanger terminal and they put the candy through the baggage x-ray machine.

We would then go home and then dad would go through all of the candy and throw away the ones with no wrappers and eat the ones he thought was defective.

A friend, Cindy pointed out the eagle while we were on Ft. Richardson on Tuesday. It was just sitting there checking things out. The weather was of no real concern to it, but you can see the storm brewing in the background.

Click on pic's to enlarge

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trumpeter Swans of Turnagain Arm

Trixie and another friend had told me about swans at Potter Marsh. This week I had been slammed at work and was unable to break away until yesterday. That's good because the weather was nice yesterday after raining all week. Actually a little too nice for pictures. The sun was a little bright and there were a few glare issues.

Any way, first stop was Potter Marsh where there were lots of other people stopping to watch and get some pic's of the Trumpeters that were there. Since it was a little crowded, I figured if there were swans there, they would be all along Turnagain Arm between Girdwood and portage. I was right.

Next stop was just south of Girdwood where these 4 Trumpeters were just touring around and honking very loudly at the traffic speeding by. There honk sort of sounds like an old Buick.

After a bit it was time to move on. I got to the welcome sign for Chugach State Park and saw what was in store for me. I had planned as going as far as Portage and this is what the weather looked like from where I was. Oh well, leave the sunny weather in Anchorage for some rain I guess.

If you look in the pic at left you can see the rain drops hitting the lake. These 2 were right off the highway but didn't like me getting too close. The cars and trucks buzzing by at 65 mph wasn't an issue, but me pointing a camera was. Enough getting wet, it's time to turn around.

Just past Portage I saw a whole bunch of them as my son would say "just chillin". A few were sleeping, eating and just touring around both young and older ones. I could see them from the highway, but it was a little hike back to them. I stayed there for a bit before it was time to head home.

If you want to know more about Trumpeter Swans, check out the Trumpeter Swan Society. To find out more about injured swans in Alaska and their rehabilitation, check out the Bird TLC blog. For more pic's of my trip, click on the photo below
Trumpeter Swan Hunting along Turnagain Arm

Trying to catch up because Blogger was being challenging.
Meggie of Meggie's Stuff honored me with the "You Make Me Smile" award. Well, she made me smile by doing just that. This blog is fairly new and to attract someone so far away as a reader and give such a nice compliment, well she made my day. She also asked that I list blogs that make me smile. Well' if they are listed on my side bar, that's because they make me smile, but here they are....

Trixie's View - She was the first to post on my blog. So I visited hers and became a regular after that. Check it out and you'll see why.

Somewhere in NJ - Just her rambling about birds, books, bunnies, or whatever! Laura does a fine job of telling us about the neat stuff in her home state.

Dharma Bums - Obsessed with politics . . . in love with the natural world. I'm not much into politics, but I love their view on the natural world.

Ben Cruachan blog - A blog about birds and nature in the land down under. Duncan has a talent for writing and photography.
and last but not least....

Meggie's Stuff - Living life to its fullest, one day at a time in PA. This young lady has a lot of friends and keeps herself busy. There's nothing boring about her.

There are more out there that make me smile, but this is my list for today.
Click on pictures to enlarge

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not a sunset kind of night

I'm a little behind because of Blogger, and then the real job and other commitments, but we'll see if we can catch up. I went down to the Anchorage boat launch because it looked like we might be in for a beautiful sunset. But when it got closer and closer the sun started hiding behind some clouds.

So it was time to look around to see what was neat to take some shots at. Here's the Cosmic Wind sitting on the glacier silt and mud. She's not going anywheres for a few hours.

A little bit further up Ship Creek there were ducks, mallards and gulls. This guy was having fun climbing the mud. That stuff is pretty muckie. It's very similar to quicksand. If you stand too long in one spot, you will sink. And the mud creates a suction on your feet that won't let go. Ship Creek is very popular for fishing during the summer. Anchorage Fire Dept has to respond often to get people unstuck.

My last stop was at my favorite, West Chester Lagoon. Here it is after the sun goes down. I was surprised at the amount of people that were there.

Click on pictures to enlarge

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blogger is being a pain

Blogger isn't allowing photo uploading right now. They say they are working the problem. As soon as they got it fixed we'll have some more pix's posted. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Protecting wildlife is protecting the environment.

Most of the wild birds brought to our clinic suffer from injuries or problems caused by humans. Since most people try to avoid causing harm to other living things I decided to put together a list of things to do or not to do to help wildlife. The list is in no particular order of importance, but if everyone followed these suggestions, our caseload would be dramatically reduced.

1. Prevent your pet cats and dogs from attacking and/or "playing with" wild birds. Don't allow them to run without supervision and raise your cats as indoor pets. Many injured birds are brought to the clinic each year with terrible wounds from dog and cat attacks.

2. Alert birds to large expanses of glass in your home, such as patio doors or picture windows, by hanging streamers, putting bird silhouettes on the glass surface, or allow the glass to be a little bit dirty. Reducing the reflection should cut down on the number of birds who collide, often fatally, with windows and doors. Static-cling decals that you can affixed to windows are available through WindowAlert.

3. Educate children to respect and care for all wild creatures and their habitats. Children need to learn that wild animals are not playthings and should be allowed to go about their lives unmolested. Children should also be told not to destroy nests, burrows and other wildlife homes.

4. Pick up litter and refuse that could harm wildlife, including six-pack connectors (after cutting each circle to reduce the risk of entanglement), monofilament fishing line, lead weights, swivels and watch batteries (if consumed by waterfowl they can cause mercury poisoning).

5. Be alert when driving, especially near wildlife refuges and in rural areas, to avoid hitting or running over wild creatures. Animals do not recognize the danger from an oncoming vehicle. And please stop and move any turtles away from the roadway or shoulder of the road.

6. As a general rule, leave infant wildlife alone, since they are not always truly orphaned. A parent may be nearby or will return soon. Be sure they are in need of help before you remove them from the nest area. If you find young birds on the ground, attempt to return them to the nest.

7. Place caps over all chimneys and vents on your roof to prevent birds, ducks and raccoons from taking up residence and becoming a nuisance or getting trapped.

8. Do not leave fishing line or fish hooks unattended or lying about outdoors. Try to retrieve any kite string left on the ground or entangled in trees. We lost one sea gull and a loon due to fishing lures and or weights. Check out Wildlife Without Lead.

9. Before mowing your lawn or rototilling your garden, walk through the area first to make sure no rabbits or ground-nesting birds are in harms way. Remember, it only takes a couple weeks for these babies to grow and leave the nest. Be tolerant and give them the time they need.

10. Check trees to make sure there are no active nests or residents of cavities before cutting them down. Even better, avoid cutting down dead trees if they pose no safety hazard, since they provide homes for a wide variety of wildlife.

11. Use non-toxic products on your lawn and garden.

12. Motor oil should not be left in oil pans unattended. Birds often fall into these pans and few survive.

13. Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife yourself. Not only is it illegal, but wild creatures do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. Young wild animals raised without contact with their own species fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans, virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild.

14. Explore non-lead alternatives for ammunition and fishing tackle. Voluntary change to non-toxic substitutes will help keep the environment free of poisons and give outdoor enthusiasts the gratifying opportunity to preserve the nature that they dearly treasure. We recieved seveal eagles in the clinic every year with lead poisoning from eating other birds or animals that were shot with lead pellet.

15. Trappers, check your traps regularly. Promote trapping methods that will reduce the possibility of catching nontarget animals. Follow the Trappers Code of Ethics.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Under federal and state laws, it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to possess a native wild animal.

First posted at BirdTLC on 1/11/2006

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rain not snow

But they are predicting snow real soon. But because it was raining there wasn't a lot to shoot. Ruth is out of town, so I have a fair size to do list. But I have to get out even if it's raining.

I started downtown. I guess it's sort of a self portrait. Can you see my reflection in the window? That's Resolution Plaza, kind of a neat looking building.

After that I drove around West Chester Lagon and got a shot of downtown from there. The sun was trying to break through, but it never really happened. It just kept on drizzeling.

After that I checked out the airport. I'm a retired aircraft mechanic so airplanes are still neat to me.

Here's hoping the weather is better tomorrow. Maybe we'll get some better pix's then.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My weapon of choice.

About 6 months ago I decided to upgrade my camera from my very first digital camera that was several years old. I spent some time researching online and asking my photography friends endless questions. I don't want one to put me in debtors prison, but I wanted one that was very reliable and could handle the type of shots I'll be taking with my volunteer work and my around Anchorage ramblings.

Over the years I have owned a lot of Sony electronics, TV's, stereo's, radio's, phones, etc. I never had a warranty issue, never. I haven't tried their computers because I never saw them as a computer company. So I didn't at first take their camera's seriously. I looked at

and read up on the Cannon's and Nokia's, but they didn't have the combination of megapixels and optical zoom that I wanted.

Sony was comming out with a new model, so the only reviews of it were put out by Sony. The model wasn't available in stores or online. You could preorder through Sony for delivery of 2 to 3 months away, but this is what the new Sony DSC-H9 had to offer;

Shoot long distance, fast action, even night scenes. The 8.1 MP Sony® Cyber-shot® DSC-H9 provides Carl Zeiss® 15X Optical zoom, Advanced Sports Mode, even NightShot® infrared capability. Also: tilt-up 3.0”1 LCD screen for low-angle shots, Super SteadyShot® image stabilization, high sensitivity, Face Detection, HD Output2, up to 250-shot3 Stamina® power. All for $479.00 plus freight.

It showed up in about 3 weeks. Earlier than they said it would take. I fell in love. The price is reasonable and it's user friendly. You can always use the automatic settings or you can manually set them. I've been using it on all of my blogs and websites. I'm not a photography Guru, so it does take a bit to catch on to some things. But it's very forgiving and the menu settings are very helpful.

So now I needed more. Ruth kept wanting to use the camera the same time I needed it, so I ordered her one for her birthday. I figured while I was ordering one I might as well order the telephoto lens (1.7X) and the wide angle lens (0.75X). Freight was free this time.

So, I've been playing around. What do you think so far?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Winter is coming, no matter what I say

We had an excellent summer and a gorgeous fall. But like most everything else, it must end sometime. It's presently 42° with a 70% humidity level. It's suppose to get to 30° tonight.

I was getting the yard prepared for winter when I saw the sunset. I ran in the house and got my camera and told Ruth what I was doing as I grabed my coat and ran out the door. By the time I got to West Chester Lagoon the sunset was way low in the sky. If the weather is like this tomorrow, we'll head on down early to see what we can get for pix's.

Sleeping Lady is half covered with snow and mountains further out are fully covered. It's making it's way across the inlet. There were still geese and ducks in the lagoon that haven't headed south yet. They better get a move on.

The leaves are still hanging to the trees, but they are getting thinner and thinner. There's a definate chill in the air tonight.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Not much going on

Not much has been going on. The weather is getting wetter and cooler. We haven't had our first hard frost yet, but I know it's near. I was out of town for the weekend so we didn't have any short trips.

I drove down to Ship Creek and walked around near the dam. The leaves are staying around because we haven't had a frost yet. The colors seem extra
vibrant this year. I'm not the only one talking about them. There was a story about it on the news tonight.

It was pretty quiet there. Probably because it was a work day for most people. There were a few pigeons and a couple ducks there. Tourist season is pretty much over so there was ample free parking.

It looks cooler than it actually is. The sun was out most of the day and the temperature hovered around 52°. But we had some serious rain recently, so most things are still pretty damp.

Pigeons aren't native to Alaska, but we have plenty of them. I wonder if this white pigeon feels out of place?