Nature

Redpolls have come to Juneau in large numbers this year. (Photo by Mark Schwan)

On the Trails: Snow flies and other wintery things

January brought us two massive snowfalls, piling up about six feet deep, and pretty much shutting down the whole city for a couple of days.… Continue reading

Redpolls have come to Juneau in large numbers this year. (Photo by Mark Schwan)
A mallard feeding on rockweed in North Tee Harbor. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Mallards eating rockweed (and how plants hear)

Mallards are omnivores, eating seeds, little invertebrates, an occasional tiny fish, and whatnot. Recent midwinter observations at North Tee Harbor documented them grazing on rockweed,… Continue reading

A mallard feeding on rockweed in North Tee Harbor. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
A tiny tree bears a great weight along the Montana Creek Trail on Jan. 21. (Photo by Deana Barajas)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

A tiny tree bears a great weight along the Montana Creek Trail on Jan. 21. (Photo by Deana Barajas)
Tracks from a hermit crab that wandered over the sands at Eagle Beach. (Photo by Mary F. Willson)

On the Trails: Animal tracks (and bird feeder activities)

One of my winter pleasures is traipsing around after a nice snowfall and looking for animal tracks. In mid-January, I walked up my driveway to… Continue reading

Tracks from a hermit crab that wandered over the sands at Eagle Beach. (Photo by Mary F. Willson)
Wigeon Ponds is one of the areas adjacent to the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge purchased by the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, which is producing an updated digital map of the entire wetlands area. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Mendenhall wetlands area to get first new full map since 1979

Change in vegetation, tidal areas, land “rebound” after glacial retreat shown — along with area’s name.

Wigeon Ponds is one of the areas adjacent to the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge purchased by the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, which is producing an updated digital map of the entire wetlands area. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
A deer’s eyes reflect headlights from an approaching vehicle. (Harold Neal / CC BY-SA 2.0)

On the Trails: Eyeshine and rumination

The eyes of a wary cat or dog on the roadside at night can reflect the light of oncoming cars, often with startling vividness. That’s… Continue reading

A deer’s eyes reflect headlights from an approaching vehicle. (Harold Neal / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sun on the peaks from the Boy Scout Beach Trail on New Year’s Day. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

Sun on the peaks from the Boy Scout Beach Trail on New Year’s Day. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
This adult male Anna’s hummingbird was captured, banded and released in Soldotna in June 2023. (Photo by T. Eskelin, USFWS)

On the Trails: Nectar-feeding birds

Nectar is a rich, sugary food source used by plants to attract pollinators, and many animals exploit that resource, including lots of birds. The sugary… Continue reading

This adult male Anna’s hummingbird was captured, banded and released in Soldotna in June 2023. (Photo by T. Eskelin, USFWS)
A wide view of the Mendenhall Glacier along the Nugget Falls Trail on Dec. 24. (Photo by Deana Barajas)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

A wide view of the Mendenhall Glacier along the Nugget Falls Trail on Dec. 24. (Photo by Deana Barajas)
American coots gathered at Kingfisher Pond this winter. (Photo by Helen Unruh)

On the Trails: Wintering birds

Shortly before the winter solstice, I walked with a friend on the Boy Scout Camp Trail. There was a stiff, chilly breeze but — wonder… Continue reading

American coots gathered at Kingfisher Pond this winter. (Photo by Helen Unruh)
A coyote pauses on its way through the Presidio of San Francisco, a two-square mile former military base that is now managed by workers for the National Park Service. (Photo by Heather Liston)

Alaska Science Forum: The coyotes of San Francisco

A person is bound to notice changes if he bicycles the same pathways for 20 years. Such is the case in San Francisco, where the… Continue reading

A coyote pauses on its way through the Presidio of San Francisco, a two-square mile former military base that is now managed by workers for the National Park Service. (Photo by Heather Liston)
Afternoon skies at Mendenhall Campground on Dec. 16. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

Afternoon skies at Mendenhall Campground on Dec. 16. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
A firefighter clears loose brush from around a sequoia tree in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, Calif., in July 2022. (Garrett Dickman/National Park Service)

On the Trails: Fire-adapted trees

In areas subject to fairly frequent wildfires, especially surface fires, we find many plants that have evolved resistance to burning, even taking advantage of the… Continue reading

A firefighter clears loose brush from around a sequoia tree in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, Calif., in July 2022. (Garrett Dickman/National Park Service)
A local display of flowering rhododendrons may include some types with toxic nectar. (Photo by Denise Carroll)

On the Trails: Honey and nectar

Several kinds of bees can make honey, although domestic honeybees are the most famous and best-studied. They make honey from flower nectar, storing it in… Continue reading

A local display of flowering rhododendrons may include some types with toxic nectar. (Photo by Denise Carroll)
A bit of a sun break as seen from the John Muir Cabin, submitted on Dec. 6. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

A bit of a sun break as seen from the John Muir Cabin, submitted on Dec. 6. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
A flying squirrel launches a glide, with patagium spread wide. (Photo by Richard A. Wood)

On the Trails: Gliding in air

An eagle soars overhead, wings spread, making only minute steering adjustments of wing and tail feathers. It’s gliding on air currents and may travel considerable… Continue reading

A flying squirrel launches a glide, with patagium spread wide. (Photo by Richard A. Wood)
Tree reflections and icy patterns on an East Glacier Trail pond Nov. 29. (Photo by Denise Carroll)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

Tree reflections and icy patterns on an East Glacier Trail pond Nov. 29. (Photo by Denise Carroll)
A large foamy heart in a Juneau creek formed by decaying organic matter (dead leaves and twigs) at the Twin Lakes area Nov. 27. (Photo by Denise Carroll)

Art in Unusual Places

The Juneau Empire welcomes reader-submitted photos of art in unusual or unexpected places. To submit email your photos and captions to editor@juneauempire.com.… Continue reading

A large foamy heart in a Juneau creek formed by decaying organic matter (dead leaves and twigs) at the Twin Lakes area Nov. 27. (Photo by Denise Carroll)
View from the West Ridge at Eaglecrest on Nov. 13. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)

Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

View from the West Ridge at Eaglecrest on Nov. 13. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
A female robin carries a wad of earthworms to her chicks. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: November gloom and cheers

I like to live where there are seasonal changes in weather and natural history activity, but sometimes those changes, including the most recent conditions, just… Continue reading

A female robin carries a wad of earthworms to her chicks. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)