Tsunamis and Sunset

This entry is part 48 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

The kids and I walked down to Crescent Harbor this morning to see the unusual currents flowing in and out of the harbor mouth as a series of small tsunamis reached the shore. The largest water level change I noted was probably about a bit over 1 foot, but it was an impressive amount of water to move in the few minutes it took for the water level to change.

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Trumpeter Swans

This entry is part 24 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Was fairly busy today with various things and ended up running late so had to hurry to get to UAS in time for class, but still thought it worth taking a couple of minutes to enjoy the Trumpeter Swans that flew in and landed at Crescent Harbor. We were walking along the harbor by the cruise ship lightering float when I heard a brief honk and noticed four swans flying over the Lincoln Street side of the harbor coming from the direction of Totem Park. I thought they might fly over to Swan Lake, but instead the banked left towards us and landed in front of the lightering float.

As I walked down the ramp to see about getting a picture, they swam over to check me out as well – so I suspect they’ve been getting handouts somewhere. I took a few pictures and they seemed to decide I wasn’t offering anything they were interested in, so started swimming away. As I was heading back up the ramp, the kids asked about going down to get a better look, so I let them. The swans came back a little closer to make sure they didn’t have anything as well. Rowan told me it was the closest she had ever been to a swan and Connor said they just about could have reached out and touched them.

It’s been a good year for swans along the road system. There have been as many as 12 at Starrigavan – where they seem to stay pretty consistently. At various times I’ve heard of other swans being seen at Jamestown Bay, Thimbleberry Lake, Swan Lake, and now Crescent Harbor. I saw 11 swans at the upper end of a largely frozen Thimbleberry Lake yesterday, and I suspect these 4 I saw today were part of that bunch. I’m not sure why the swans at Starrigavan would tend to stay put more, while these others are apparently more inclined to move around.

Weather today was overcast with little precipitation through daylight hours. This evening it did start raining, however. Winds were calm in town, though it appeared there might be a breeze out of Silver Bay into Eastern Channel when I looked that way from Crescent Harbor.

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Snow Returns

This entry is part 21 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

After catching the free brown bag concert put on by the Jazz Festival the kids and I got caught in a little snow squall. We waited out the strongest of it at the Crescent Harbor shelter as the snow, mostly in the form of graupel, fell. The forecast had called for snow with no accumulation, but by the end of the day the snow on the ground was approaching an inch deep.

The ice at Swan Lake continues to retreat. There were three Ring-necked Ducks, quite a few Glaucous-winged Gulls, at least one Thayer’s Gull, as well as Mallards and scaups. Today’s mix of scaups was different than yesterday’s, with two male Greater Scaups hanging together while another group of 5 Lesser Scaup males dove repeatedly at the edge of the ice. After the Greater Scaups moved around the peninsula to where the Lesser Scaups were, it was interesting to be able to compare them more directly and see some differences.

I noticed a Common Ragwort (Senecio vulgaris) with flowers still present. It was under a pine tree at the town end of the Lincoln Street green belt. Presumably the cover provided by the pine kept the plant from being significantly damaged by the frost. It seems unlikely the flowers will be able to produce seed, but I guess as temperatures rise in the coming months it will be interesting to see.

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Storm Tides

This past week 2 or 3 low pressure centers merged in the eastern Gulf of Alaska to create an exceptionally strong low pressure system. Strong low pressure systems are typically associated with strong winds, big waves, and storm surge that leads to higher tides. Accordingly, Sitka was under a Wind Advisory from the National Weather … Read more

Daily Observations

Yesterday I did not feel all that great after a relatively poor night of sleep, though I did stop by Swan Lake briefly and get out on a walk to the park with Connor. Today I stopped by Swan Lake this morning after dropping Connor off at school. I also stopped by Centennial Building and … Read more