Category Archives: wildlife

Honkers


International Polar Bear Day

Today, February 27, is International Polar Bear Day. I have only seen a polar bear once in the “wild”, when visiting a client at Prudhoe Bay. Two bears had come in for a stroll through the parking lot. I have posted those pictures on here in the past. Today, since it is the bears’ day, I figured I would go with a more natural photo. Unfortunately, I could not find the photographer’s name, although she/he certainly deserve credit for such a beautiful shot.

SAFETY NOTE: It should be noted, that hugging a polar bear, on this day, or any other, is highly hazardous and not recommended by the author, or any representative of Circle to Circle.


Boreal Owl

I stopped by one of my regular customers this morning, and found myself eyeball to eyeball with this little Boreal Owl. I had walked right by it, and only noticed it after I rang the door bell, and was waiting to be let in.

I’m pretty sure it’s a Boreal, and a small one at that. The Alaska DNR says that they can grow to 10″ long, with this one being in the 7-8″ range, by guestimate.

Around six inches of snow fell overnight, and the wind finally started to blow, knocking the snow off the tree limbs in small avalanches. No doubt, the little owl found the covered walkway to be well protected from the wind and falling snow.

The owl’s head would turn as I walked back and forth from my truck to the house and back again, but for the most part, it paid me only marginal interest. When I left, it was still perched on the carving that hangs on the wall.

Taking a few steps back, gives you an idea how small the owl is. Unfortunately, the only camera I had with me was my cell phone.


Jiu Jitsu goes Wild

This comes to C-to-C from the Solicitor General of Altoona.

It also came with a note: With the bears in hibernation, this is the perfect time for me to train.


Alaska’s Frogsicle


The wood frog

Alaska has two native frogs: The Wood Frog and the Columbia Spotted Frog. The wood frog is the only amphibian found north of the Arctic Circle. This amazing little creature will have 65% of the water in its body freeze solid during our harsh winter months. The frog’s heartbeat and breathing will completely stop. Yet, the frog will survive.

When autumn comes, the wood frog starts to build up a glucose in its cells. Its blood turns into a syrup-like substance, a natural glycol, if you will.

In the spring, the frog will thaw along with its surroundings, and then hop along on its way.


Hippo Pride

Some tourists in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, witnessed a pride of lions attempt to take down a hippo. The battle did not go the lions’ way.

Thanks to Nat Geo for posting the video.


Tales written in the fresh snow

I came home from work, and by the looks of the tracks in the fresh snow, there had been quite the party going on when I was gone.

At first, I was looking for the weasel’s tracks, which I found right away, but I was surprised to see grouse tracks practically right on top of the weasel’s. Upon further inspection, I found a whole covey’s worth of grouse tracks all around the yard.

The rabbit tracks were also plentiful, although that was not a surprise, since I have been flushing them all summer long.

I followed the story written in the snow as best I could. The new Siberian peas that had been planted two years ago, seemed to be of interest to the grouse, and I took note that the weasel enjoys visiting the Rover Hut. He probably has been entering the hut for some time, but his secret was not revealed until the recent snowfall. It made me wonder if weasels can catch red squirrels. We have an abundance of those damn, pine rats. I had a roll of insulation in the Rover Hut for a customer, and within 24 hours the red squirrels had attacked the roll, and little tufts of the stuff were all over the hut. We also are high on the rabbit cycle.

A little over a year ago, the neighbor’s cat died suddenly. It was an outdoor cat, and roved the entire area. I didn’t mind the cat, and it very kindly left me gifts in my work shed if I left the door open at night, but I’m kind of glad it is gone. She was a killing machine, and left a trail littered with small carcasses. Underneath the neighbor’s house is a ghastly killing field. This summer, I noticed far more birds hanging around than was usual, and I expect the weasel moved in to fill the vacancy.

The neighbor does have a new cat, but it’s terrified of the outdoors, and can not be coaxed out the door, which secretly thrills me, and less secretly amuses me. I told the neighbor to just embrace the new cattitude, and enjoy the fact that this pet is entirely different from the last one. I left out the part that I’m starting to prefer the weasel, if only for a change of pace.

After reading the snow, I went on my late afternoon walk, and flushed three ruffed grouse just down the trail from my place. The sound of those beating wings, and the sight of those zig-zagging brown rockets is a great way to forget one spent any time at work at all.