A chronicle of my observations as I learn about the Natural History of the area around Sitka, Alaska.

42 thoughts on “About”

  1. Love the web site! Just found you and enjoyed checking it out – love the pics.
    I take pics of things in interior Alaska for my webpages, mostly. I’ve been in
    Fairbanks for almost 29 years! I love it! I would say I am a naturalist at heart.
    My Bachelor’s Degree is in Biology. I love the nature here. Well enough, just
    wanted to say hello and thanks for the great observations and pictures!
    Barbara Logan

  2. I have been visiting your site for a long time, it is one of my favorites!
    I have a partial photo of a bird I took on Feb 11 08 on the UAS ramp and would like to know
    if you can identify it for me.

    Thanks, hope to hear from you soon.

    Kay Simmons

  3. Is this blog still monitored? I am very interested in learning more about what you refer to as “hot foot trails”…


  4. Yes, it’s still active – just haven’t posted much over the past few months. I don’t know a great deal about the hot foot trails, but perhaps I can put something together at some point.

  5. Hey Matt I stumbled across your 3 pics of the sharp shinned hawk you took while researching the bird for the SE Hummingbird Festival. I would like your permission to draw a pen & ink line drawing from one of the three and submit it for the juried art show here in Ketchikan. If you don’t mind then I’d also like to include a copy of the picture and give you and the site credit while it is on display thru May. I only have a week to the deadline so I may not even be able to finish in time as I have a 2 year old son, newborn twins and work 50+ hrs a week, so a quick response is necessary. Thanks for time, Bianca

  6. Hi Matt
    I would like to get permission to use one of your Plantago maritima photos in an UAF Cooperative Extension Publication which we’re updating. Can you contact me via email? Thank you

  7. Hi Matt, just found your site while I was looking for a photo of wild cucumber’s spring shoots. All the other photos online are of the more mature plant, and I was so excited to find your photo of the choice eating stage! It’s one of my top favorites. Just tried it this spring roasted in the oven with olive oil, like people do with asparagus. Yum!
    I’m from Cordova, we have many or most of the same plants here as you have in Sitka. I am going to be doing a (free) talk about our local wild edibles, and would love to use a few of you photos…. Please email me if that would be alright.
    I see I’m not the only person who has asked! It’s just not that easy to find good photos of wild Alaska plants! I myself am an avid collector, but not a photographer at all. Thank you for your beautiful work!

  8. Thanks for all your hard work on the SE AK Nature Wiki. It has been a very
    helpful resource.

    My question: In your SE Alaska Bird http://wiki.seaknature.org/Birds list
    could you please clarify the “+” and “-” codes?

    *+ = One or more records???*
    *- = Possible but unrecorded??*

    We are having much debate here as we prepare for a trip. We’d love to know for sure. Many thanks!

  9. Thanks Rab – the “+” means accidental, so at least one record, but not more than a handful. The “-” means that the species has not been recorded (in that season).

    I hope you have a good trip!

  10. I would like to use your photo of Pinguicula villas. I wold be glad to have your e-mail address so that I can explain where and how I would like to use this image

  11. Hi! From one of the earlier post (from 2014 maybe) I saw a picture of White-lined looper Epirrita pulchraria. Do you know when was it taken (late autumn?)?

  12. Hi Matt –
    This is Riley Woodford with Fish and game. I’m writing about collared doves in Alaska and trying to get a sense for how widespread they are and how well established. I’ve heard reports of them in the Mendenhall Valley but I have not seen any in downtown Juneau. What is your sense? Have you seen them around Sitka? I see one was photographed last year in Anchorage, and there is a KCAW piece on the website from 2013 saying there were about 30 in Sitka (at that time). Any sense if they’ve increased?

    Best regards,


  13. Hello Riley –

    I’ll send you an email separately, but the short answer is yes, there are quite a few Eurasian Collared-Doves in Sitka, and while it’s difficult to be sure, I suspect there are currently more than the 30 mentioned in the KCAW piece (though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more at the time, as well).


  14. I’d like to use images from your site to help botanists in my area (around the Columbia River entrance to the Pacific) find what are for us rare northern species. What is your policy on sharing photos for educational purposes?

  15. Hello Kathleen –

    Sorry about the long delay in getting back to you. I had family visiting over Christmas, got way behind in some things, and am just catching up now.

    It kind of depends on how you’re using the photos (and how many of them). If you let me know more specifically, I can say more.

    Generally, if you’re producing a booklet or something like that, it’s always nice to get a copy. I also appreciate it if you attribute me and provide a link back to my website.


  16. Hi Matt,
    I am searching for a naturalist to work on our company’s expeditions. I am wondering if you have any leads or suggestions for us.
    Thanks much!
    PS I love your site!!! Kudos.

  17. Hi, do you or anybody else offer guided tours in Sitka? We will be visiting as part of a cruise on August 1st. Many thanks, Tania

  18. Hello Tania –

    There are a number of folks offering guided tours of Sitka. How long will your stop in town be?

    Depending on the cruise company, I know there are some tours that the cruise companies promote, and several more that you could make arrangements with independently (both on land, and on the water).

    What sort of things are you most interested in? History (Tlingit and/or Russian-American), Natural History (on water or land?)

    I hope you have a good visit!

  19. Hello, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you! We will only be in Sitka for one day (August 1st) but we arrive early and leave mid-afternoon. My dad would be looking for a birding guide but on land rather than water. Many thanks!

  20. Dear Matt –
    I am drafting a blog post on our restoration nursery program at the Sustainability in Prisons Project (http://sustainabilityinprisons.org/). It is about early pollinators and their use of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. I would like to use your image of Bombus melanopygus from your web site.
    We will credit you and link to your excellent site..
    Thank you for your consideration.

  21. Hello Tania – Sounds like a fun trip. I don’t think there is anyone in town who does birding tours for hire at this point, but I’ll respond further via email.

  22. Hi Matt, I don’t think I ever received an email. It would be great to have some more info if you can! Much appreciated, Tania

  23. Hi Matt, I’m an undergrad ethnobotany student. I’m wondering if you might allow me permission to use one of your photos of the Swainson’s Thrush eating Red elderberries? I would like to use it for a class presentation I’m working on and will only share it with my classmates and professor. Beautiful photos!
    Thank you for your consideration,

  24. Greetings Matt –

    The green water in Sitka sound would make an interesting discussion topic on your radio show. I was looking at zoomearth.com. The satellite images shows the color change between 9/14 and 9/20. The most dramatic change is in Nakwasina Sound.



  25. Thanks for the suggestion Brent – I’ve reached out to someone to be a guest and hopefully will have a conversation that includes the topic of our green water in a couple of weeks. Thanks also for the tip about zoom.earth – I wasn’t aware of it before, and it looks pretty interesting!

  26. Matt, Bob Moyer here from New Jersey. Do you know of anyone knowledgeable enough about sphagnum to send me a couple shoots of Sphagnum austinii in an envelope? We have a record of it here in NJ from 100 years ago, but no sightings since then. I need an example of what I’m looking for.

  27. Hi, Matt.
    We are going to be in Sitka on Monday, Sep 16th on a Princess cruise. We would love to have an opportunity to bird with a local birder and/or hear your thoughts on how to make the most of our 9am to 8pm day there. I tried to email Sitka Nature, but it got rejected. If you could contact me I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Mel and Jeanne Goff
    Richard and Jan Bunn

    Colorado Springs, CO

  28. Hi Matt I would like to use your Arabis pycnocarpa photo in an Cornell Cooperative Extension publication about native bee resources. There is a specialist bee named Andrena arabis that raises its young specifically on the pollen of A pycnocarpa. I would be immenseley grateful. I like your website blog. I wish that I get it together soon to make a blog like this about my passion for nature, reflection, and personal expansion.

    The resource will eventually be made available for free at the URL I provide in the private details.

  29. Hello Maria –

    I’m sorry about the delay in responding here – I just noticed the comment waiting in the approval queue.

    Are you still interested in using the picture of Arabis pycnocarpa? If so, you can email me at sitkanature@gmail.com, let me know which photo specifically, and I can get you a copy in the dimensions you need.



  30. Matt, good to meet you at Swan Lake last week. I realized I did not see any Eurasian Collared-Doves on this visit to Sitka, and I did not find any eBird records after January 2022. It would be fascinating to track their rise and fall in the Sitka area. Bill

  31. Thanks Bill – it was good to meet you as well.

    This week a Common Yellowthroat showed up where we chatted by the lake.

    Eurasian Collared-Doves have become scarce. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember which year the numbers dropped sharply, but it was a few years ago (maybe the year after it happened in Ketchikan). Since then, there are usually a few each summer. I just heard one today at the airport, and there were two or three seen in another part of town within the past few days. One theory is the goshawks figured out they were good eating, and the collared-doves aren’t good a avoiding them.

  32. I like the goshawk theory In the lower 48, there is good evidence that Cooper’s Hawks are taking advantage of the situation. I’ll be in Sitka this coming Sunday PM through Thursday. Hope to see you around

  33. I’m interested in your photo of Monilinia oxycocci. where and when was that photo taken?
    I’m pursuing the possibility of writing about this genus of fungus for my weekly Empire column, but your photo is the only indication (so far) that our native blueberry and cranberry species may become afflicted (esp. as climate warming continues). Please provide more info about your encounter with that species (or any other Monilinia). Thanks.

  34. Hello Mary –

    I started to write a response to your question and realized it would be better to just write up a post.

    I’ve got it mostly done, and should be able to publish it in the next day or so. I’ll email you when I do (and update this comment with a link).

    It’s now published


  35. As newcomers to Sitka, we enjoyed your presentation about birds in the Sitka area at the Raptor Center in advance of the Christmas bird count. We didn’t feel competent as birders to later participate, but it was a treat to see your excellent photos and learn more about what kinds of birds to look out for. We haven’t fully explored your website, but your list of Sitka birds is a valuable resource. BTW, we just saw a Belted Kingfisher on the decorative post overlooking the creek outflow at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

  36. Thanks Jimmie – I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the slideshow, and appreciate your kind words about my site!

    I just saw a picture on iNaturalist of a kingfisher on the carved pole by the science center – I wonder if that was yours?

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