Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bye for now!

We arrived in Kodiak on the ferry at 3AM and since my 11AM flight to Anchorage was cancelled due to weather, I got to hang out for the day there and then flew to Anchorage this evening. Tomorrow it's a quick flight to Fairbanks and then a float plane to the Minto Flats area where I will spend three weeks driving around in a Zodiac doing Avian Influenza testing and other research on Pintails and Mallards for the AK Dept. of Fish and Game. I'm eager to try flying in a float plane and new capture techniques, as I've never worked with ducks before. There will be absolutely no internet so I'll be taking a blogging break. I haven't posted too many pictures on flickr yet but I hope people like that format and I'll post more when I get back around August 22nd. Hope everyone's having a great summer! Here's one last grizz pic for now! I especially like the pads underneath the cub's paws!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trying Flickr

I'm experimenting with uploading some pictures onto Flickr. It's an easier way to post lots of pictures at once, but I haven't given up on blogging. It just seems to be a good way to post groups of pictures where it's hard to pick just one for the blog because there's a whole bunch of good ones. For instance, the first thing I've uploaded are some scenic shots from some of the many plane flights this summer. I hope it's easy to access, or if it's not, please let me know! Thanks! www.flickr.com/photos/laurainak.

I thought the Russian Orthodox cemetary in Sand Point was stunning when I stopped by in early June, but I had no idea how much the lush greenery and daisies would add to the scenic beauty as summer progressed. Here are "before" and "after" pics. I took the "after" yesterday. Summer takes longer to arrive in many parts of Alaska, but it's worth the wait.

I saw this eagle's nest on a skiff ride in Port Moller. As I was taking the picture while riding in a bumpy boat, it's not a great pic, but it does give a view of the immense size of an eagle nest. I think this one has picked a pretty excellent location for a home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm back in Sand Point, slowly making my way back to civilization via the Tustemena Ferry, the "Trusy Tusty," which will depart Sunday evening and arrive in Kodiak on Tuesday at 3AM. Then it's a flight to Anchorage and straight to Fairbanks to start my duck job for Fish and Game out of Minto Flats. Hope to check in before that, especially if the wireless is working on the ferry! Sand Point is green, lush and flowery now, beautiful! I'll post some pics soon, I hope!

Monday, July 23, 2007

My sister remarked that this cub doesn't even look real! It's like a stuffed teddy bear cub. This was taken the day we posed for those pics with the large group of bears. As you can see, this one doesn't have a care in the world except for that delicious stick.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mom won't be crazy about this one...

The bears behind me are the sow with four cubs and a sow with one cub. These two sows get along amazingly well. Someone told me once that sometimes sows "babysit" for one another and I think these sows have that arrangement. They are very familiar with us, whizzing by all the time on our ATV's and seem comfortable with our presence. You can probably tell how relaxed they were--in this picture none are even looking at me and they continued to play and frolic when we stopped. Still, in almost every picture taken of me, I am looking over my shoulder. We parked the ATV's allowing for a quick getaway and I am holding bear spray, but if the bears had seem agitated at all we wouldn't have stayed. Altogether there were nine bears hanging out in the this area (near the dump, naturally) and we did not stay long.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I actually do work--but here's more pics of what I do when I have time off. This hot springs is a 30 minute skiff ride from where we live. There are a few large pools and a long meandering hot spring creek. It is the site of an old Native village and many artifacts have been found, including implements made from shells and even a mask. There are midden piles everywhere, which are basically piles of garbage left over--shells and bones mostly. The cabin hasn't been occupied in years, but makes a great changing room. It's amazing to me how large an area the hot springs covers. I took a hike last time I was there and could see the steam at a good distance. At the end is a pool of boiling water.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

When we were watching the sow and four cubs the other day, I was thinking how hard it must be to take care of four rambunctious youngsters at once. At one point momma just seemed exhausted and went over to the side to nap while the four cubs played together. But when it was time to go, she gathered them together and they took off, in an orderly single-file line. Amazing that the cubs are willing to line up like that. Probably not next year, when they are "teenagers."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

bear pile

I finally had my Port Moller wish come true: taking a few pics of the sow and four cubs that were not from behind! Well, one is napping, but at first they were all in one big fuzzy bear clump (see smaller pic) so I'm not complaining! Note the cub leaning on the cub leaning on Mom! Enjoy the sweet cub cuteness!

I've been trying for a while to get a great pic of this sow and four cubs who are our close neighbors. A few mornings ago they showed up outside the cabin at 7AM but quickly were deterred by the dog barking, which is good. But not for pics--I got a nice one of five bear behinds in a morning fog. Yesterday I got a better one--they were a little further away but at least it wasn't foggy and they're not ALL seen from behind!

Bears have free reign at the dump around here. Unfortunately that's just the way it is--there's no fence around it and a lot more bears would be coming into civilization if there was a fence. It's very nervewracking for me to have to drive an ATV near the dump--people have seen as many as 12 bears there at a time! I saw this one the other day but honestly he was way more interested in dump treats than in me.

I love the way this little guy has his back legs kicked out like bunnies sometimes do and I also love his cute little cub butt.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Several nights ago we saw these two cubs snorgling while their mamma napped nearby.

What more do you need on the 4th of July besides hamsters, dogs and bubbles?!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm having a hard time uploading pics, it's impossibly slow, so I'm probably going to take a few weeks off. I will try intermittently (it seems to have a lot to do with the weather--which in the Northern AK peninsula is usually overcast). I have some ridiculously cute bear pics now. I know I have other stuff to show like the work that I'm doing but I don't think I'll ever get over being able to look out my window and see bears napping and playing! We were visited at 7AM two days ago by a sow and FOUR cubs!! Anyway, best bet is to try me again at the end of the month, I should have wireless on the ferry back to Kodiak at the end of July. Then I'll be off for a month-long duck gig Minto Flats, another exciting adventure, I'm sure!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We saw this blondie coming back from a day trip on our ATV's. My boss felt comfortable enough to stop and take a few pictures so I followed his lead. He was sitting up and then plopped down, as if us photographing him was quite a dull experience. Very cute. Later, we ran into a sow and a cub up on another hill. That time we did not stop but respectfully motored on by.