Swan Lake and Skunk Cabbage

The kids and I had time to stop by Swan Lake after lunch today. Two juvenile Trumpeter Swans are still spending most of their time on the lake, though the adults they wintered with seem to have moved on.

After stopping by Marge and Tedin’s to start getting caught up on several weeks of cards, I noticed some Skunk Cabbage up and getting ready to bloom – the first I’ve seen this year.

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Trumpeter Swans

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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Thimbleberry Lake to Heart Lake

Connor, Rowan and I went for a hike to Heart Lake from the Thimbleberry Lake side. There was plenty of snow on the ground and Heart Lake was entirely frozen. Thimbleberry Lake had a bit of open water near the outfall. In addition to the Ring-necked Ducks and Mallards we saw on the open water, there were at least 11 Trumpeter Swans at the upper end of the lake, barely visible against the snow.

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Starrigavan and Sea Mart

Made a brief trip out the road today. Highlights include 4 Trumpeter Swans swimming up to the river’s edge at Starrigavan to see if we had any handouts. Also noticed 5 or more Gadwall – a fairly high number for Sitka in any season, but especially winter.

The view from Sea Mart’s parking lot can be pretty stunning – though it was fairly muted today. I suspect most people primarily think of the view to the west out over the sound with Mt. Edgecumbe rising above the lowlands of a distant Kruzof Island. While that is no doubt the more striking view, a look inland reveals Harbor Mountain looming above in a view that isn’t too shabby either.

This evening I took a photo of one of the moths we accumulated last summer/fall.

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Stormy Weather

Winds picked up through the morning and by this afternoon it was blowing Southeast with strong enough gusts that the crew working on roofing the new house decided it was prudent to shift their efforts to parts of the job that didn’t have quite so much exposure. Accompanying the winds was a moderate rain that seemed heavier as it was driven by the stronger gusts.

Connor and Rowan had seen four Trumpeter Swans on Swan Lake this morning, so they wanted to stop by and check to see if they were still there. I had arrangements to test drive a pick up just up the street, so we all walked to the lake together. There were 40 or more Mallards and a few gulls resting on the ice around the open water adjacent to the peninsula. It was interesting to see the wind whipping the rain and surface water across the ice that remained over much of the lake. The south end of the lake had opened up quite a bit since I walked by on Monday, and I saw at least two Ring-necked Ducks along with a handful of scaups.

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