Monthly Archives: July 2017

View from The Dome


Wild Alaska Live

A review:

PBS has a new three part series that started Sunday evening, called “Wild Alaska Live”. The premise of the show, is that producers have several “live” cameras distributed around Alaska, which they then broadcast. The show is a partnership between PBS and the producers of BBC Earth. Living in Alaska, I expect that none of it was actually broadcast live, but maybe it was somewhere.

The first episode centers around the salmon run, and camera footage comes from Tongass, Katmai and Kenai Fjords. I’m not sure who the Kratt boys are, but I assume that they do a kid’s show on PBS. They can be difficult to take, as they constantly wave their arms and talk to the camera like they are talking to a seven year old. Whenever they came into view, I wanted to grab their arms and duct tape their hands behind their backs. Early in the show, the Kratts were standing on a map of Alaska, trying to point out the locations of the cameras, and I found myself shouting directions at the TV, since they obviously had no idea where the Chilkat River was in the state.

Sigh…

From what I’ve seen in the first episode, the pre-recorded bits were the best, and the most informative. The show is worth watching for those parts alone. The footage is quite good, and simply seeing the incredible number of salmon in the streams will amaze viewers who are not familiar with our salmon runs. As for the Kratts, Alaskans will just have to suffer through, and hope that some young viewers get excited about Wild Alaska because of their antics.

The second episode airs on Wednesday.

WAL logo credit: PBS


Welcome to Yakutat

While en route to the Yakutat Lodge, two people in a car were charged by an agitated bear. A warning to anyone contemplating picking up a hitchhiker.


Alaska’s Only Hummingbird


Photo credit: Audubon.org

Alaska has a lot of summer visitors, one is the Rufous hummingbird, the only hummingbird that visits the Last Frontier.

At only 3″ tall, with a wingspan of about 4″, the Rufous is quite the robust traveler. They winter in Mexico, start their crossing of the Rocky Mountain states in late spring, and spend the summer in the Northwest, Canada and Alaska. For many of the speedy flightsters, it can be a 7800 mile round trip.

They are quite territorial over both nesting and food sites, and have been known to attack chipmunks that get too close to their nests. The main, natural predator is snakes, which makes Alaska a wonderful breeding ground.


Was that a Monday?

Sometimes you open a can of worms and find a nest of snakes. That’s how my Monday went.


Beware of the Winter Jokes

A friend of mine posted an obscene, apocalyptic headline Sunday night:

Winter has come…”

I’m thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you?”, but I refused to be baited, tried my best to ignore the comment altogether, and had a beer out on the deck in the sunshine.

Turns out that Sunday night was the start of a new “Game of Thrones” season.

It was probably for the best that I refrained from commenting.


Aurora Watch in July?

Not this far North…

In an interesting twist, according to NOAA, Sunday night will be offering a great chance to see some Northern Lights, assuming you are someplace south of Canada in the U.S. Northern Europe looks good, as does the middle of Russia.

Right now, I’ll take the daylight, and the Twin Cities can have some Aurora action. No sense rushing what is coming.

Aurora Map courtesy of NOAA


Walrus Cam


Getting cozy on Round Island

Walrus Cam on Round Island

This is one I didn’t know about: explore.org has a Walrus Cam out on Round Island in Alaska’s beautiful Bristol Bay. The Alaska Fish & Game offers walrus viewing permits between May 1 – August 15, which begs the question: How many do they issue?

As many as 14,000 walruses have been counted on Round Island at one time. If you go, you will also see tens of thousands of seabirds.

Before clicking on the link above, I should warn you that the Walrus Cam does not have the action of the Katmai Bear Cam. No salmon jumping, or bears catching salmon mid-air.

I will say that a walrus sure knows how to relax when visiting Alaska.

Photo & cam credit: explore.org


Breaking News:

This just in from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus:

Minnesota Athletic Director, Mark Coyle has announced that the University has sold the rights to the Minnesota Rouser to Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing for the next 12 years to the tune of $750,000.
“I’m really excited about this, and obviously I have enhanced the marching band by bringing in 3M, an iconic corporation in Minnesota. Nothing says Minnesota like the Rouser and Post-It-Notes”, Coyle stated in the press release.

Mr Coyle goes on to say, “You’ll hardly notice the difference, since the old rouser will still be a part of the new & improved version. It seems really ‘catchy’ and I think people will enjoy the addition: M-M-M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A!”


Katmai Bear Cam

Katmai Bear Cam

Thanks to the fine folks at explore.org, the Bear Cam is back up at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park & Preserve. The salmon are running (and jumping), so follow the link at the top, and check out the dining habits of some Alaskan brown bears.