Start of the Second Half

As yesterday marked the end of the first half of the Sitka Big Year project, and the weather was not super inspiring (low clouds, wet, and with a bit of a breeze), I decided it would be a good day to work on catching up on my organization and reflecting on the progress so far.

Looking back at the first half, I’m happy with the overall participation. Thirty people have contributed almost 4700 observations, of over 1100 species, which is great progress.

Personally, I managed to get at one observation everyday so far, and on all but a handful of days I had three or more new (for the year) things. In the process, I’ve gotten out at least for a little bit every day, taken well over 6000 photos, with 720+ species identified and 800 unique taxa (not everything has been identified to species) as of yesterday. There are certainly multiple additional species that could eventually be identified (from photos or collections), but for now are all clumped at a relatively coarse taxonomic level.

Overall I’ve done pretty well at getting photos tagged and uploaded to iNaturalist. However, as I worked on my photo organization today, I did find quite a few things that never made it on to iNaturalist, so I will try to take care of those soon.

I’ve done less well (but much better than in the past) at keeping the collections neat and organized, but it’s mostly under control, and I hope to clean things up even further over the next couple of days.

The one thing I have not kept up with at all is weblog updates. It’s one of those things where in my mind I want to give a good (ideally well-written) account of the day with well-edited photos, but don’t feel up for that effort in the evening, so put it off. It just continues to be put off until I have nothing left but vague memories of the day to go along with the photos.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Sitka Nature Show #134 – Kari Sagel, Jen Cedarleaf, and Kitty LaBounty

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The June 25th show featured a conversation with Kari Sagel, Jen Cedarleaf, and Kitty LaBounty. We talked about the Sitka Big Year project, how we’ve each been approaching our own efforts, and some of the things we’ve been seeing.

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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Sitka Nature Show #133 – Lauren Bell

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The June 11th show featured a conversation with Lauren Bell, of he Sitka Sound Science Center. We talked about her work on various projects around Sitka Sound, with a focus on her experience helping out with abalone surveys and the upcoming research she plans to start soon related to kelp forest ecology. The conversation with Lauren starts at 3:50 in 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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Sitka Nature Show #132 – Richard Nelson

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The May 28th show featured a conversation with Richard Nelson (conversation starts at about 1:45). We listened to recordings of birds we had recorded, and puzzled over some of the mysterious vocalizations and variations in song that can sometimes be heard.

If you have any mystery recordings of birds (or other creatures) that you’ve recorded in Southeast Alaska, I would love to hear them!

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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Spring Birding and Flowers

I was hoping today’s forecast for light winds held up, but it did not work out that way. Although it was by no means stormy, there was a bit of a swell coming in and enough wind to lift up a chop on top of that. With cool temperatures and rain, it did not turn out to be the best day for a boat ride. Originally hoping for a trip to Low Island, Kitty and I headed out in her skiff, but quickly opted for a second choice of heading towards Port Krestof upon encountering the swell near the airport. On the slow trip through the channel, we saw a late Long-tailed Duck and quite a few gulls (with one Black-legged Kittiwake).

By the time we got out in the vicinity of the Chaicheis, it was clear the breeze had picked up a bit – perhaps as part of a minor rain squall. We considered going to shore at the Chaicheis, but there did not seem like an obvious nice wind-sheltered spot to anchor, and with the generally suboptimal conditions, it seemed better to head back to land.

We did look around a bit for birds, but did not see much (Hudsonian Godwit was still at the turnaround), and stopped by Pioneer Park hoping to find the shoreline shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum) blooming. I had checked it last weekend, but just a few flower buds were showing with no blooms, and I was happy to find a few of them in flower this week. This species seems to limited to on some of the rocky shores around Sitka and I think Pioneer Park might be the only place I’ve noticed it growing along the road system.

Somewhat less showy were the flowers of two different sedges also growing at the upper edge of the shoreline.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Sitka Nature Show #131 – Alan Verde

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The May 14th show featured a conversation with Alan Verde, who is in town as a Scientist in Residence at the Sitka Sound Science Center. We spoke about sea anemones (with a little bit about other cnidarians mixed in), with a focus on Anthopleura elegantissima, a species with some interesting traits that he studies (and hopes to find in the Sitka area).

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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