Questions About Verstovia Mosquitoes

On this relatively warm and sunny day I decided it was time to go for the second (1200ft) viewpoint on Verstovia Trail for the first time this year.

Distance wise, the second viewpoint is well over halfway to picnic rock, but it just under the halfway point elevation-wise.

We made steady progress up past the first viewpoint, but then Rowan’s mouth and throat started drying out. She stopped several times between the 1000 ft marker and the second viewpoint. Stops were brief – if I didn’t get her started again, the mosquitoes did.

There was just a bit of snow on the trail at the beginning of the clearing that leads up to the viewpoint, most of it was packed on the trail, but there was also a little bit off to the side.

The view was good, and the warm sun was pretty nice, but the mosquitoes were not so welcome, and Rowan was ready to start back down again shortly after arriving. She gave me a sour look when I asked to take her picture, and this outing got a thumbs trending down rating.

Rowan’s mouth was still quite dry, so I grabbed some of the snow that was off the trail and she ate that over the next few minutes. This seemed to improve her outlook significantly, and she resolved to bring some water the next time.

I’m still curious about the mosquitoes in the forest. I’ve definitely noticed them in the early season before, but I don’t remember noticing them during summer hikes in the mountain slope forest. Do they just have generation per year, with adults overwintering? I think mosquitoes generally need standing water to reproduce, and don’t tend to be strong fliers – where are they finding the water? Maybe they don’t need much and here is enough in nooks of trees?

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Verstovia Trail Flowers

On today’s trip up Vestovia trail, I noticed the fern-leaved goldthread (Coptis aspleniifolia) was blooming along with some of the blueberries in the set of switchbacks between the Verstovia stairs and the last section before the viewpoint.

It was interesting to see them blooming here relatively early. It’s possible there are some blooming down closer to sea level (I think this was probably around 600-700 feet), but I’ve not noticed them. It’s a south facing slope, and there’s enough of a gap in the canopy for sun to shine through and warm the ground, but still covered enough to keep from cooling off too much at night due to radiation cooling.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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Sitka Nature Show #154 – Brian Buma


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The April 8th show featured a conversation with Brian Buma, assistant professor at University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau. We spoke about his research investigating how landslides (an landslide prone areas) affect carbon cycling at the landscape level over the long term. To see more about this and other work he has been doing, check out his website.

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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Bear Mountain Waterfall

Partly cloudy, but breezy conditions this afternoon when Rowan and I hiked up from Herring Cove and took the unofficial side trail to the base of Bear Mountain Waterfall.

My track indicated it was a little under 2 miles round trip, and we were able to spend a little time there but still be back to the car in just over an hour.

Looking back from the waterfall, it was easy to see the sculpting of the clouds, though it was also directly into the sun, so not the easiest to capture clearly.

In the open brush field below the waterfall there was still some snow, and I didn’t see much in the way of new growth.

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Wind and Clouds

I could hear the chimes tinkling before I even really woke up.

The wind had picked up overnight, and when I checked the weather conditions, I was a little surprised to see the current temperature was already approaching 50 – much warmer than the forecast.

Skies started mostly clear, but as the day progressed, clouds moved over from the south.

There was a talk about the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (which includes St. Lazaria) this evening, and the winds were still blowing after it was done.

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First Violet of Spring

Clear and cool conditions with a little bit of breeziness continued for another day.

Rowan and I made it to the 800 ft viewpoint on Verstovia in just right around the same time as our prior best for the season. That was good, but even better was we didn’t feel too bad about it (I even got a thumbs slightly up from Rowan).

On the way down we stopped briefly to enjoy the sun near the small mossy streamlet that is a short distance up the trail. While sitting, I noticed a stream violet flower out – the first non-shrub I’ve seen in flower this year. (On the way up I had noticed quite a few leaves and one flower bud, but no flowers).

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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