Sitka Nature Show #112 – Kitty LaBounty

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The 7th August show featured a conversation with Kitty LaBounty. Among other things, we talked about some of her travels this summer, and how such disparate locations as Bethel, Alaska and southwest Oregon can both share species with the Sitka area. The conversations begins about 4 minutes in to the recording.

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

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Wandering Tattler, Western Toad


It’s the views that makes all the blood, sweat, and tears of hiking Sitka mountains worth it.

I’ve been pretty focused on getting through pictures from summer 2012 in an attempt to see if I made my 1000 species goal (more on that in a future post), but I took some time outside today to go look for a Wandering Tattler Connor mentioned was between the science center and the park.

It was not raining when I left (though it had been earlier), but I wisely took a rain coat, as rain had resumed by the time I got down to the beach. At first I did not see the bird, and thought maybe the visitors wandering down on the beach had scared it off. However, I happened to catch a large-ish shorebird fly out and then back to the rocks on the park side of Sage Rock, and was able to find it there.

This afternoon, Connor, Rowan and I made a conditioning hike up to the first viewpoint on Verstovia. Rowan and I were (mercifully) delayed when we spotted a toad around the big turn from the old Russian charcoal pits. It’s the first one I’ve seen away from a lake or other standing water source in some time. Hopefully it is a sign that the population is recovering.

I ended up making it to the viewpoint in just under 30 minutes – about 7-8 minutes off the pace I went the last time. Despite the slower pace, 61F with high humidity left me a bit wrung out. The chocolate I had as a snack wasn’t salted, but the sweat pouring down my face added a bit of that flavor anyway.

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Sitka Nature Show #111 – Paul Norwood

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The 24th of July show featured a conversation with Paul Norwood, local naturalist and adventurer. We talked about his 1000 species project of 2015, an idea we’ve been discussing to do an All-Species Community Big Year – Sitka, and some of his hiking adventures. If you want to skip ahead, I begin introducing the conversation at about 2:20 (-56:40).

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

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Devil’s Matchstick (Pilophorus spp)

Two species of Pilophorus lichens growing on a rock outcrop provided a distraction while I caught my breath after the 20 minutes (fast for me) trek up to the first viewpoint on Verstovia.

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Sea Lion Remains

A little league all star tournament had Moller Field today, so there was no ultimate. After yesterday’s walk up to Indian River falls, I was not feeling too motivate to get out very far, so I decided to check at Pioneer Park to see if I could find any of the caddisfly larvae that were in brackish pools on the upper part of the beach.

When I got out of the car, I was a little surprised to catch a whiff of salmon spawning season. For one, it seemed pretty early, and for two, the nearest stream that hosts any numbers of salmon was a fair distance away and upwind of me. The smell did not persist, so I didn’t think much more about it and walked down the trail to the picnic site with easy access to the beach near the brackish pools. It was not quite as easy to refind the pools as I had expected, as initially I had failed to consider the vegetation (mostly sedges) growing among the rocks and partially obscuring the lower lying pools. After I realized the issue, it was easy enough to find pools to look in, but I did not notice any caddisfly larvae trundling around. It will be interesting to check again later in the year to see if they are there in the fall again.

I decided to go back to the car along the beach, and just before I was going to step up off the beach, I caught the smell of dead animal again, this time even stronger. It only took a few moments to find the source, the mostly scavenged remains of a sea lion were laid out on the rocks. I imagine it had been there awhile, as I suspect what was left would not have floated. Based on the pattern of bird droppings, I imagine ravens and eagles had been taking advantage.

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Sitka Nature Show #110 – Sue Karl (Part 2)

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The 10th of July show featured the second part of a conversation with Sue Karl of the USGS. In this part, we talked about fossils (and why they seem to be unusual around Sitka despite the marine sediment origins of so much of the rock here) as well as the volcanism of Mt. Edgecume and some of the other volcanoes in Southeast Alaska. In case you missed it, you can listen to the first part of the conversation here.

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

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