Sitka Nature Show #163 – Kitty LaBounty

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The August 5th show featured a conversation with Kitty LaBounty. We talked about the recent sunny weather and some of her activities this summer. These included a two week vegetation field class that involved travelling the haul road to Prudhoe Bay, and a return trip to the alpine outside of Juneau as part of a new monitoring project.

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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Last of July Sun

With about 10 days of mostly sunny and warm dry weather (Sunday excepted, sun-wise), the forecast is finally hinting at an impending change. Despite the call for a chance of drizzle before 1pm, the clouds broke up early this morning and it was partly to mostly sunny throughout the day (with clouds forming again later in the evening).

Time will tell whether this last day of July will be the end of this remarkable stretch, or if we’ll get one or two more days.

I spent a little bit of time sitting out in the sun this afternoon and it felt quite warm. Some plants were looking a bit wilted, so I gave them some water.

It was quite windy again today, especially this afternoon, before settling down in the evening.

Connor and my dad went fishing again this morning (though not so early) and caught a couple of fish each. I imagine the first good rain we get, they’re will be a big push of pinks up the river.

Rowan told me she got good looks at a Northern Goshawk in the park this morning (she was a little bummed that she didn’t have her camera).

I also heard the young Golden Eagle is still on the nest, flapping wings and looking like it is about ready to fledge. Hopefully cloud ceilings remain high enough for folks to keep an eye and see how it goes.

My dad picked another gallon and a half or so of blueberries from the bush in the yard today (he had picked a gallon or so on Sunday), and said there was at least that many still on the bush. He was impressed at how much fruit was on that one bush.

This evening there was quite a bit of activity at the porch light with various moths and at least one ichneumon wasp.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Sitka Nature Show #162 – Brooke Schafer and Paul Norwood

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The July 22nd show featured a conversation with Brooke Schafer and Paul Norwood. We visited about some of their recent travels, including trips to Ketchikan and Yakutat, and a three week kayaking adventure from Glacier Bay back to Sitka.

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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Roadside Rockcress (fna Arabis hirsuta)

I had been noticing a big patch of what appeared to be plants formerly known as Arabis hirsuta (now better known either by Arabis pycnocarpa or Arabis eschscholtziana though I have not been sure out which one) out along Sawmill Creek Road just past Whale Park.

Today seemed like a good time to check on those and see if, with Kitty’s help, I could learn the difference and figure out which ones we have here.

As it turned out, the ones growing along road all appeared to be A. pycnocarpa – in particular they had many more stem leaves than are expected for A. eschscholtziana. Looking back at old photos, all the ones that showed enough features to try and make a call appeared to be A. echscholtziana.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Sitka Nature Show #161 – Jon Shaw

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The July 8th show featured a conversation with Jon Shaw, a bryologist at Duke University whose research is currently focused on Sphagnum (peat mosses). We spoke about some of what makes Sphagnum interesting and unique, as well as the role these mosses play in carbon cycles, and some of the work being done to investigate what might happen with shifts in climate.

He was in town to look for a species described and so far known only from Harbor Mountain here in Sitka (though if it holds up as a species, it seems likely it occurs elsewhere). I am grateful to have been able to get out in the field with him during his short visit and to record the conversation featured in this show.

You can learn more about Jon’s work and research 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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Sunny Fourth

After not getting to bed until very early this morning, I opted to sleep in a bit, and take care of some things during the morning.

I had thought about getting out for a hike, but Rowan wanted to watch the parade, so I figured maybe we would go somewhere in the afternoon and evening.

In the end, I didn’t end up feeling too ambitious, and we just went over by the airport to look around this evening.

At the airport, I saw what I believe was a Savannah Sparrow carrying food, and spent some time looking around at the plants growing by long-term parking. There’s actually a pretty good mix of diversity (including introduced and native species) there, and if I do another big day next week, I’ll probably try to make sure I stop by.

It’s my understanding that in the not too distant future, they’ll be tearing stuff up where long-term parking now is, and make it part of the tarmac. We (mostly Rowan) picked 3+ pints of strawberries today, and there were plenty more that will be getting ripe in the coming days/weeks. Someone drove up just as we are about to be done and was a little bummed, as she had hoped to pick the strawberries. Given the potential destruction of the patch, I’m thinking about transplanting some of the plants into my yard – they seem happy to grow in minimal soil over gravel (which I have plenty of).

Yesterday’s thrash in the brush left my arms scratched up, but I did my best to avoid cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), as I’ve reactions to it on many prior occasions. Unfortunately, it seems like I did get some on one hand at least – hopefully it doesn’t end up being too bad.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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