Recent Observations

Tufted Puffin

Clearly I have not managed to keep up with the updates over the last couple of weeks. I have been spending some time outside, mostly with work, but my attention has been elsewhere.

A couple of things I forgot to mention previously were the berries. What few salmonberries there are started get ripe two or three weeks ago. The blueberries also started getting ripe a week or two ago. It looks like it’s going to be a poor berry crop all around this year.

I spent three days in Juneau this week. On my way to the airport on Tuesday morning, I heard what I thought was a yellowlegs calling near the airport lagoon.

In Juneau I noticed some interesting differences in flora. The thimbleberries seem to be more common there than in Sitka. Also some plants that I tend to associate with alpine or sub-alpine meadows were in the montane forest on Mt. Roberts. There also seemed to be a fair amount of Ribes lacustre around Juneau. I have only seen that noticed that once in the Sitka area, north of town on Piper Island.

Also while I was in Juneau, I saw a black bear getting into a garbage can. That seems to be more of a problem in Juneau than in Sitka.

Last Friday I had a pretty fun tour. It was my first time on the smaller 6-pack catamaran. The tours on this boat just have a captain and crew member, with a maximum of 6 passengers. This particular tour had three folks. We had good views of humpback whales, great looks at Tufted Puffins, a good minke whale sighting and a stop off at the beach near Pt. Brown. The people were interesting to talk to. One of the ladies on the trip was a plant and bird enthusiast, so she asked a lot of questions about the birds and plants we saw.

A week ago Thursday I went over to Kruzof on a trip that was primarily for looking at seaweed. A group of Phycologists from the international conference being held in Juneau came to Sitka for a field trip. There were a few spaces available on the boat, so I took advantage of the opportunity to get over there. I saw new-to-me plants, and found a bird nest. I may yet get an entry written about that trip specifically.

Weather has been varied overall. There were a few nice days, but there’s been a lot of rain. I guess that Wednesday was pretty nice, but I was in Juneau (where it was pretty nice as well).

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