Hunting Trip


A heron watched as we loaded up to leave

Today Connor, Rowan and I went out with my dad and a friend to see if we could find a deer at Deep Inlet. Connor was quite enthusiastic and hopeful that he would get to shoot his first deer, or at least be able to see one cleaned/prepared for packing out. It was a sunny pleasant day with little wind, a little chilly in the shade, but not like a day I remember when I was a kid.

After hiking up the hill together, Rowan and I split off from the others. We saw plenty of tracks, but no deer. The last time I was up there was probably when I was around Connor’s age, so though it wasn’t too familiar, I was kind of surprised that I recognized as much as I did. (One thing is for sure, the hike up the hill wasn’t nearly as bad as I remember.) We joined back up after a bit and hiked back.

Along the way back, we followed a bear trail that had some relatively fresh tracks (probably from the day before). I was also interested to see a spot where the trail led up to a sign tree and the vegetation in the trail was distinctly different than that on either side of the trail (or even further away from the tree along the trail).

We checked out where the dead Gray Whale had been hauled last spring. I was a little surprised to see how little of it remained. I guess people came out and salvaged the bones, as there were none of those left that we could see. All we were able to find was a patch of what appeared to be skin/blubber. It seemed odd that bears hadn’t eat it down, but perhaps it wasn’t so good for eating for some reason.

It was a pleasant trip back in the boat – the kids each got a turn at driving. It took Rowan a while to figure out how to keep things going in the direction she wanted to go. We ended up turning circles for long enough that I started to get dizzy, but she finally started to get the hang of it. At the green can out off Galankin Island we saw a lone Steller’s Sea Lion laying out in the sun. It raised its head briefly to look at us before relaxing again.

We ended up making it home by early afternoon.

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Tracking Wind

Temperatures remained quite cold, but winds diminished significantly by later this afternoon. It was interesting to see all the polished ice intermixed with thin patches of wind sculpted snow. As windy as it got here over the last couple of days, it was much stronger elsewhere.

From today’s weather synopsis:

THE WEATHER PATTERN THAT CAUSED FREQUENT WIND GUSTS OVER 50 MPH
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM JUNEAU TO SKAGWAY AND THE CENTRAL OUTER
COAST IS GRADUALLY WEAKENING. THE HIGHEST MEASURED WIND GUST WAS
150 MPH /130 KNOTS/ AT SHEEP MOUNTAIN SOUTH OF JUNEAU AT 3540
FEET ELEVATION. HIGHEST WIND GUST AT SEA LEVEL WAS 103 MPH /90
KNOTS/ AT CAPE SPENCER IN CROSS SOUND.

Forecast is for relative calm tomorrow and winds picking back up later in the week s a low approaches the coast of British Columbia. Fortunately, temperatures are also forecast to rise.

Pictures from today were taken as I walked across Swan Lake near sunset – hence the shift towards blue and lack of brightness (though I could have neutralized these things in processing, I found the contrast on the snow made it easier to see the texture and shapes if I left it as it was).

I didn’t notice too much unusual in the way of birds today, but one thing did stand out – there were three Great Blue Herons flying south over Swan Lake as I started across it. Perhaps they had all been roosting in trees around the lake and were headed to the beach for low tide. There certainly wasn’t any open water for them to fish around the lake.

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Snow Returns

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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Warm Winds

Early this morning temperatures hit 52F, near the record high (54F) for this date. After the rain started, the air cooled off pretty quickly to the mid-to-upper 40s, where it stayed much of the rest of the day. During the afternoon, the rain let up, and the relatively warm Southeast wind started drying things off.

The walk over to UAS was largely uneventful. Though it was interesting to see a Great Blue Heron with its back to the wind and head plumes being held up over its head by the gusting breeze. Rowan said she thought it looked like a giant kingfisher that way.

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