Alaskans have been enjoying the recent snowfall combined with some relatively warm temperatures. Been out skijoring without your bear spray? State biologists are saying Alaskans may want to rethink that.
Due to the warmer than average weather and the availability of food, bears have not gone into hibernation just yet.
Black bears tend to start their winter hiatus in October, while brown bears like to hang around into November as they attempt to pack on every calorie possible.
This year, the bears seem to be not in any rush to turn in. Like always, it’s a good idea to pay attention out there, but don’t forget to keep the cabin site clean of trash. One brown bear in the Anchorage area has taken to raiding garbage cans this month. No one needs that, especially the bear.
Since we’re in the middle of Katmai Week here between The Circles, I wanted to share this photo, although probably not for the reasons many would think.
The pic above was taken of two fishermen in Katmai National Park. I’ve found myself in a similar situation while fishing Alaska’s rivers. Once was with my Dad, which was more nerve-wracking than when I was solo! Forget the bear, I was worried about how my Dad would react.
What I love about this picture, from all my time in Alaska, is that the bear actually has little to no interest in the fishermen. The bear simply has salmon on its mind. We don’t have two fishermen in the picture, but three.
If given half the chance, man can live with wildlife. The two species above, can coexist. Katmai NP&P is a prime example of that. I would hope that is the lesson the photograph has to give. After all, Alaska would be a much poorer place without her bears.
The photo was taken in July by Robert Hawthorne, a photographer out of Bozeman, Montana. His link is below:
Voting for the Fattest Bear of Katmai continues over at the Katmai National Park & Preserve Facebook page.
In round one, fan fave Otis went down to Lefty, in an upset. Divot, Grazer and #909 also moved into the second round. There is some large competition waiting for them, as Wide-Body #747, Holly, Chunk and #503 had first round byes, and could continue hoarding calories, as they watched their fellow bears compete.
Upon my return from the lake, I found that WordPress has finally forced me to use their new editor. I have avoided it, ignored it, and found loopholes around it for months now. The demons finally got me when I had my back turned while trout fishing. I hate the new editor and I hate it with a passion. I simply do not have the free time to learn the ins and outs in the summer months. Things could be interesting in the meantime.
To further add to my frustration, my internet connection seems to have slowed to a torturous crawl when I was away. My provider sent me an email today admitting that it seemed slow, but that there were no lines down.
I thought that a bit obvious, since I have service, just slower than postal service. That part of the equation may take a while, as we live in our own time zone up here.
Hopefully, I will continue to just bull my way through it until I get it all figured out, before I’m forced to use a newer editor, but if I get cranky and disappear for days at a time, don’t be surprised, and don’t send out a search party. I’ve either gone back to the lake, or gone back to my typewriter.
Recent paths of Arctic ice floes; Source credit: Thomas Krumpen, Alfred Wegener Institute; Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen
Researchers from around the globe have congregated on Alaska’s Arctic coast. They are planning a once in a generation expedition into the heart of one of the harshest environments on Earth: The Arctic.
It’s a 12 month, 17 nation, 300 scientist effort aboard the German ice breaker Polarstern, to document climate change in the Arctic. This coming autumn, the Polarstern will be positioned in a remote part of the Siberian Arctic, and then wait to be frozen in the ice. The research vessel will then flow with the floe; traveling with the ice as it moves across the Arctic Ocean.
Only twice has a transpolar drift happened successfully in history. Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen did it first in 1893. Ten years ago, a small sailing ship named the Tara also completed a transpolar drift without the sea ice crushing its hull.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the National Science Foundation and universities from Alaska-Fairbanks to Oregon State to Dartmouth are involved. Most northern nations are playing a role, as well. Russia, China and Sweden have all committed ships and aircraft for resupply support. Japan and Switzerland have developed new research equipment especially for the expedition.
Unlike Antarctica, there is no land at the north pole to build a permanent research station. The RV Polarstern is the next best thing. At any one time, 60 people will be living and working on the ice breaker. Resupply will take place every 60 days, weather permitting. Researchers will also be swapped out during resupply runs.
Graph credit: National Snow & Ice Data Center
Time is running short for a expedition like this one. The key is to find old sea ice, 4-5 years old, and get locked into that. Since 1980, 95% of Arctic sea ice that is 4+ years old, has been lost. In the graph above, the lightest yellow is 1 year old ice, the dark purple 5+ years old.
It should be an interesting study, although researchers on board the ice breaker from December to February will not see the sun. They should see polar bears, however.