Well, as you know July is “chicks” month up here in Alaska and there are a ton of them out there this year. We had the Pacific loon cam up on the internet for all to see and a couple of trips to the arctic always yields and eye (and card) full. I will try to get some additional ones posted also. These Greater White Fronted Goose chicks were just chowing down. They have plenty to eat up here but you can definitely sense the urgency of trying to put on size. There wings are so little it is hard to believe they will make it out of here in two months. They had better though; it gets a wee bit rough up here in the winter.
The summit lake on the road over Hatcher Pass has some great birds sometimes. Last week produced a pair of surf scoters and this week I located two redheads. I enjoyed a respite from the rain with these guys.
I got up to the north slope last week and the King Eiders were in! Wow, they seemed to be everywhere. This one was gleaming in the sun. Now if you have ever been in the arctic you would know how unusual this is. If not then let me explain. There are 3 types of weather in the arctic; cold, windy, foggy. Usually you get all three however every now then you get only 2 out of three. Very rarely you get one out of three and notice that sunny did not make the list so this is a fairly rare situation. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing these stunning birds. They are very skittish around people as they are sea ducks that do not interact with people but during mating season they can be approachable. Always pick the ones that are following a female around if you want to get with in any kind of range. If you want flight photographs pick the lone drakes, they will fly.
Ah yes, the Horned Grebe. The birding forum had reported one siting and then gone quiet. I wasn’t sure if they had moved on but I was hoping I could find them. Once again I was helped by another photographer/birder, a big thank you out to that gentlemen. I must have walked past them as I worked my way down the water because I got to the end and nothing was to be found. I started scanning back up the way I came and sure enough they were at the other end, I got to hike all the way back. As I was getting into position they joined in their ritual and both were in full display. They were quite accommodating eventually. I will post a couple more.
The weather has been cool but very lovely as of late. The birds seem to enjoy all the variations except maybe the really windy conditions. Spenard Crossing is serving up some very nice bird opportunities. This American Wigeon was pretty cooperative and I enjoyed working with him for a short period of time.
We stopped in at Two Sisters Bakery and had a great breakfast. The Mocha is to die for I can tell you that and the Blueberry scones are tops. Really enjoyed listening to the local banter too. Seafaring stories and all, it was great and we felt right at home. By the way they make a pretty good breakfast quiche too.
We headed down to Homer for some good old fashioned bird photography. We were very successful in finding birds and good views. We started out at Bishops Beach watching the sunrise. The tide was low but not the big minus tide of the month. There were a few clam diggers out there and we enjoyed watching the eagles fly by on their way over to the spit. Great sunrise the first morning, looking south.