Outdoors and Recreation

Trout Unlimited's Matt Boline holds a container with coho fry for official documentation of anadromous fish use in an unnamed creek in the vicinity of Juneau. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: Survey says…

Our floatplane cleared the notch in the snowy ridge then turned slightly north as the mountain dropped below us. The pilot gave Mark, Matt and… Continue reading

 

At least one female wood duck has invented a novel feeding technique. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Wood ducks, redstarts, yellowlegs and flowers

Mid-June, and a few days ago we saw a wood duck with two tiny chicks on Moose Lake. Another female with two fluffy ones came… Continue reading

 

Competitors in the AlaskAcross 2024 race prepare to depart from Eagle Summit at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2024. From left are Bruno Grunau, Mark Ross, Forest Wagner, Mike Fisher, Sarah Hurkett, Clinton Brown, Tracie Curry and Curtis Henry. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Journey through a sub-Arctic summer night

“You guys are the result of thousands of years of selection,” Fran Kohl said. “You haven’t scratched the surface of what you can do with… Continue reading

 

In the spirit of Dolly Parton’s country music roots, race participant Mendenhall River Community School Principal Eric Filardi runs in costume with young Lucy Vogel wearing heart-shaped sunglasses as they enjoy the sunny Saturday weather on the Airport Dike Trail race course. About 85 runners participated, many wearing pearls and pink hats provided at the starting tent. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)

Busting out the pink and pearls at the first Dolly Dash

Dolly Parton-inspired fun run raises funds for free books for kids.

In the spirit of Dolly Parton’s country music roots, race participant Mendenhall River Community School Principal Eric Filardi runs in costume with young Lucy Vogel wearing heart-shaped sunglasses as they enjoy the sunny Saturday weather on the Airport Dike Trail race course. About 85 runners participated, many wearing pearls and pink hats provided at the starting tent. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Barn swallows firmly attach their nests to walls, so they support the weight of nestlings and visiting adults.  (Photo by Bob Amrstrong)

On the Trails: Spring to summer

Spring temperatures were cool this year, but the lengthening days gave birds the signals they needed to start the baby business. By mid-May, a few… Continue reading

Barn swallows firmly attach their nests to walls, so they support the weight of nestlings and visiting adults.  (Photo by Bob Amrstrong)
People often use sea ice, as seen here off Alaska’s northern coast outside the town of Utqiagvik, for travelling. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Did sea ice help populate the Americas?

Human footprints preserved in mud at White Sands National Park in New Mexico suggest that humans arrived there — possibly via Alaska — at least… Continue reading

People often use sea ice, as seen here off Alaska’s northern coast outside the town of Utqiagvik, for travelling. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
A cruise ship makes its way through early morning fog last summer. The passengers who have been arriving lately have not been experiencing similar tranquility. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: Racing the weather

Daylight is unstoppable this time of year. Not like up in the Interior or North Slope, but there is a similar feeling of obligation if… Continue reading

A cruise ship makes its way through early morning fog last summer. The passengers who have been arriving lately have not been experiencing similar tranquility. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
Brown-headed cowbirds are professional egg-dumpers, always parasitizing the nests of other species. (CC BY 2.0 public domain photo).

On the Trails: Egg dumping behavior

Egg-dumping refers to the behavior of a female who puts her eggs in another animal’s nest, leaving all other parental behavior to the host. Some… Continue reading

Brown-headed cowbirds are professional egg-dumpers, always parasitizing the nests of other species. (CC BY 2.0 public domain photo).
The Fairbanks Experimental Farm on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus opened in 1906. (UAF photo by Todd Paris, taken in September 2014)

Alaska Science Forum: The gardening potential of the Last Frontier

More than 100 years ago, a man traveled north on a mission most people thought was ridiculous — to see if crops would grow in… Continue reading

The Fairbanks Experimental Farm on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus opened in 1906. (UAF photo by Todd Paris, taken in September 2014)
An orange-crowned warbler looks for bugs on a willow (Photo by K.M. Hocker)

On the Trails: Maple flowers and some spring observations

The sun came out! So it was a day for me and a friend to head to the Boy Scout Camp Trail, dodging rain puddles… Continue reading

An orange-crowned warbler looks for bugs on a willow (Photo by K.M. Hocker)
The author’s wife kneels to net a trout over the weekend. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: Live free, fish hard

In my young trout bum days I’d go hard. It was the trade off for living in California. I’d pack my gear so I could… Continue reading

The author’s wife kneels to net a trout over the weekend. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
An orca swims beside a boat near Berners Bay on May 12. (Photo by Eric Jorgensen)

On the Trails: Orcas, ducks, warblers and others

I went on the Audubon cruise to Berners Bay in May, on a drizzly, breezy day. On the outbound trip, we enjoyed some of the… Continue reading

An orca swims beside a boat near Berners Bay on May 12. (Photo by Eric Jorgensen)
A porcupine nurses its young one, providing milk. (Photo by Bob Armstong)

On the Trails: Feeding the kids

A parental duty of feeding the offspring can be very expensive in terms of energy expenditure and sometimes risks of predation. Many animals avoid that… Continue reading

A porcupine nurses its young one, providing milk. (Photo by Bob Armstong)
An adult male mountain goat scans the horizon near the Juneau Icefield. (Photo by Kevin White)

Alaska Science Forum: Mountain goats live and die on the edge

Kevin White has placed his hands on the long, white fur of more than 400 Alaska mountain goats during the past 20 years. His diligence… Continue reading

An adult male mountain goat scans the horizon near the Juneau Icefield. (Photo by Kevin White)
It’s always a good idea to overpack for an off-island beach day. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: To burn or not to burn

The go-carts and caramel apples from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also come to mind, but I can’t think of Estes Park, Colorado, without thinking… Continue reading

It’s always a good idea to overpack for an off-island beach day. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
A white-crowned sparrow inspects the ground for seeds. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Yellow-rumped warblers, white-fronted geese, and white-crowned sparrows

These are some natural history tidbits about three of the several species I’ve enjoyed seeing this spring. Yellow-rumped warblers Usually the earliest warblers to arrive,… Continue reading

A white-crowned sparrow inspects the ground for seeds. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
Denali stands at 20,310 feet as seen from a commercial flight between Anchorage and Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Searching for microplastics on Denali

Two college students will soon be stuffing snow from the slopes of Alaska’s highest mountain into Nalgene bottles. Their goal is to see if that… Continue reading

Denali stands at 20,310 feet as seen from a commercial flight between Anchorage and Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
A Pacific wren sings in the understory. (Photo by Helen Uhruh)

On the Trails: April jaunts

A walk at Fish Creek was productive, as it usually is. The marine side of the point was full of ducks: widgeon, green-wing teal, mallards,… Continue reading

A Pacific wren sings in the understory. (Photo by Helen Uhruh)
The beginnings of a budding garden in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
The beginnings of a budding garden in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
A male rusty blackbird in breeding dress. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: A hungry goshawk and some early spring observations

Every late afternoon, a bunch of mallards is in the habit of coming to snack on fallen birdseed that accumulates on my ice-covered pond. And… Continue reading

A male rusty blackbird in breeding dress. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)