A friend of mine who works for UAS invited me to go on an outing to Kruzof Island to hike Mt. Edgecumbe. They had chartered a boat as part of a wellness activity, and the UAS people were allowed to invite someone to come along. It was a good trip, and I will probably write up a couple of separate entries to get into more detail about some of the things I saw.
Weather: It started out overcast with some clouds up and down on the top of Mt. Edgecumbe. The last time we saw the top was about 6 miles up the trail. While making the final ascent, a misty rain started and continued for an hour or two. The clouds lifted a little bit, and there were a couple of small breaks, but it stayed overcast. Apparently the weather in town was rainy for most of the day.
Birds: Riding over to Fred’s Creek and back reminded me of all the seabirds I have not been seeing this year since I have not been on a boat at all. I saw Murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Tufted Puffins, Pelagic Cormorants, Rhinocerous Auklets, and Red-necked Phalaropes. Of particular note was a large gathering of these birds not too far from Fred’s Creek while on our way back.
When we arrived, I saw a small flock of small sandpipers, but didn’t have time to investigate more closely. While waiting for the boat, I saw a single Semipalmated Plover, several Black Turnstones, a couple of Wandering Tattlers, and a Spotted Sandpiper.
The highlight of the day was a Sandhill Crane that I heard and then observed on the way back down.
While above the trees, I heard some calls that sounded strange. There’s an outside chance I was hearing the crane calling from a long distance away, but I’m not sure.
Flora: There were a few plants still blooming on the beach, in the muskegs and in the alpine, including Lady’s Tresses, Apargidium, Subalpine Daisy, Partridgefoot, and Beach Pea. I also saw a couple of slime molds. I’ll do a more detailed write up of my plant observations in a separate post.
Other Notes: Conditions were pretty good for looking at animal tracks. I will write a separate entry on these.
The people who had stayed at the cabin reported seen 4 bears early in the morning. There was an obvious trail of a sow and cub that went down the beach. We also saw lots of droppings along the first half mile or so of trail. Some of the droppings were almost entirely made up of blueberries, but others appeared to include fish.
Pink Salmon were running up Fred’s Creek. Some of the fish I saw looked like they had gone through encounters with predators, but managed to escape with only the loss of some (presumably) non-essential flesh.
The section of Fred’s Creek just above the hightide line is interesting to explore. The creek travels through basalt from old lava flows. The erosion of this rock formation has created channels much different than on rivers along the Sitka road system. There narrow channels with deep pools were particularly interesting to me.