Alaska Outdoors

A kingfisher’s diving sequence: a headfirst plunge with wings folded, splash, airborne again. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
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On the Trails: Diving into birds underwater

There’s a lot going on under the surface.

A kingfisher’s diving sequence: a headfirst plunge with wings folded, splash, airborne again. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
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Ellesmere Island National Park in Canada. (Courtesy Photo / Joel Barker)

Alaska Science Forum: Mummified forest tells tale of changing north

Ancient fair-weather trees suggest a very warm period in the far north

Ellesmere Island National Park in Canada. (Courtesy Photo / Joel Barker)
This July 13 photo shows a short-tailed weasel. Short-tailed weasels or ermines wear brown summer coats but white coats in winter. The animals are among the dozens of species that make up the family Mustelidae. The long, slender body form of weasels is well-suited for these predators to pursue voles and mice into narrow tunnels and tight spaces. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: The weasel family

Flexing our mustelids.

This July 13 photo shows a short-tailed weasel. Short-tailed weasels or ermines wear brown summer coats but white coats in winter. The animals are among the dozens of species that make up the family Mustelidae. The long, slender body form of weasels is well-suited for these predators to pursue voles and mice into narrow tunnels and tight spaces. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Prioritizing time, money, attention and energy can help create more opportunities for good experiences while preventing lingering stress from ruining those good experiences. But it's not as easy as making an resolution as the author has discovered.  (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Prioritizing in 2022

I only have priorit-eyes for one focus word.

Prioritizing time, money, attention and energy can help create more opportunities for good experiences while preventing lingering stress from ruining those good experiences. But it's not as easy as making an resolution as the author has discovered.  (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Voles left several trackways at the edge of the wetlands; a tail-drag mark shows behind the foot marks. (Courtesy Photo / David Bergeson)

On the Trails: Observations from four wintry walks

Plenty of creatures stirring.

Voles left several trackways at the edge of the wetlands; a tail-drag mark shows behind the foot marks. (Courtesy Photo / David Bergeson)
A graphic shows warming of the Arctic compared to the rest of the world. The image was released as part of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card for 2021 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Dec. 14, 2021.  (Courtesy Image / NOAA climate.gov)

Alaska Science Forum: News of the Arctic from New Orleans

We need to talk about this report card.

A graphic shows warming of the Arctic compared to the rest of the world. The image was released as part of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card for 2021 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Dec. 14, 2021.  (Courtesy Image / NOAA climate.gov)
This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a New Mexico whiptail. The lizards are obligately parthenogenetic(capable of reproduction without fertilization) and unisexual (female). (Courtesy Photo / Greg Schechter)

On the Trails: Parthenogenesis in vertebrates

There’s another way to be a single parent.

This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a New Mexico whiptail. The lizards are obligately parthenogenetic(capable of reproduction without fertilization) and unisexual (female). (Courtesy Photo / Greg Schechter)
A forest growing on Malaspina Glacier in southern Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Martin Truffer)

Alaska Science Forum: Elephant Point and trees growing on ice

Pointing out the origins of a name.

A forest growing on Malaspina Glacier in southern Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Martin Truffer)
This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a gynandromorph of a common blue butterfly. Gynandromorphy, meaning female-male-morphology, is well-known, apparently, among birds, including chickens and several songbirds of the eastern U.S.; these individuals have one half with male plumage and the other half with female plumage. They also occur in reptiles, amphibians and fishes (as well as a variety of insects and other invertebrates.) (Courtesy Photo / Burkhard Hinnersmann)

On the Trails: Determination of biological sex —it’s a complex topic

The determination of biological sex is a complicated matter, even just focusing on vertabrates.

This photo available under the Creative Commons license shows a gynandromorph of a common blue butterfly. Gynandromorphy, meaning female-male-morphology, is well-known, apparently, among birds, including chickens and several songbirds of the eastern U.S.; these individuals have one half with male plumage and the other half with female plumage. They also occur in reptiles, amphibians and fishes (as well as a variety of insects and other invertebrates.) (Courtesy Photo / Burkhard Hinnersmann)
Cheryl Fellman checks her watch before attempting an Ice Mile. An Ice Mile is a type of endurance swim that tasks swimmers with covering a mile in water that is 41 degrees or colder. Fellman swam a mile in just under 35 minutes on Saturday at Auke Recreation Area. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Ice day for a swim

Juneau woman completes a mile in near-freezing water

Cheryl Fellman checks her watch before attempting an Ice Mile. An Ice Mile is a type of endurance swim that tasks swimmers with covering a mile in water that is 41 degrees or colder. Fellman swam a mile in just under 35 minutes on Saturday at Auke Recreation Area. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
The Pebble deposit lies at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the greatest salmon fishery in the world. (Courtesy Photo / Colin Arisman)

Pride of Bristol Bay: Permanent protections in view for Bristol Bay

By Bjorn Dihle For more than two decades, those who care about Bristol Bay — the largest sockeye salmon run on the planet — have… Continue reading

The Pebble deposit lies at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the greatest salmon fishery in the world. (Courtesy Photo / Colin Arisman)
This photo shows a raven in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: Transition to winter — maybe

A mat of old leaves lined the roadway, each leaf fringed with crystals, making a pretty mosaic…

This photo shows a raven in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Eaglecrest Ski Area is preparing to open for its 2021-2022 season with infrastructure upgrades and eased COVID mitigation strategies. (Courtesy photo / Nate Morris)

Freshly up-gunned Eaglecrest readying for opening day

New snow guns and hardened nordic trails will great winter sport enthusiasts on opening day.

Eaglecrest Ski Area is preparing to open for its 2021-2022 season with infrastructure upgrades and eased COVID mitigation strategies. (Courtesy photo / Nate Morris)
The author with a Kenai River rainbow caught during his honeymoon in June. (Jeff Lund / for the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: It’s OK to be happy

Of course, it’s not as easy as going fishing.

The author with a Kenai River rainbow caught during his honeymoon in June. (Jeff Lund / for the Juneau Empire)
The egg mass under the tipped up shell is indicated by A, and the head of the male sculpin by B. (Courtesy Photo / John Palmes)

On the Trails: Caring for offspring

Vertebrates have a broad spectrum of ways to care for their offspring

The egg mass under the tipped up shell is indicated by A, and the head of the male sculpin by B. (Courtesy Photo / John Palmes)
Killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / North Gulf Oceanic Society, NMFS research permit 20341)

Alaska Science Forum: Listening to the voices of killer whales

By Ned Rozell In the deep blue ocean just off the coast of Alaska, killer whales are now communicating with one another with clicks and… Continue reading

Killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / North Gulf Oceanic Society, NMFS research permit 20341)
This photo shows sandhill cranes in a Southern Wisconsin field. "It’s always a big treat to see them," writes Mary F. Willson. (Courtesy Photo / J.S. Willson)

On the Trails: Visiting old home ground

By Mary F. Willson For the Juneau Empire In mid-October, I made a quick trip back to my old stomping grounds in southern Wisconsin. In… Continue reading

This photo shows sandhill cranes in a Southern Wisconsin field. "It’s always a big treat to see them," writes Mary F. Willson. (Courtesy Photo / J.S. Willson)
A bar-tailed godwit born in Alaska that undertakes one of the greatest non-stop migrations in the animal kingdom, often flying from Alaska straight to New Zealand in the fall. (Courtesy Photo / Zachary Pohlen)
A bar-tailed godwit born in Alaska that undertakes one of the greatest non-stop migrations in the animal kingdom, often flying from Alaska straight to New Zealand in the fall. (Courtesy Photo / Zachary Pohlen)
An American robin perches on a branch, with toes loosely curled. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Why don’t birds fall off their perches?

A growing body of evidence suggests that birds have a second organ of equilibrium.

An American robin perches on a branch, with toes loosely curled. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
A male bar-tailed godwit near Prudhoe Bay during the summer breeding season. (Courtesy Photo / Zachary Pohlen)

Alaska Science Forum: Shorebirds depend on wee slivers of Alaska

By Ned Rozell Pencil-beaked shorebirds with the ability to stay airborne for a week — flying all the way from Alaska to New Zealand —… Continue reading

A male bar-tailed godwit near Prudhoe Bay during the summer breeding season. (Courtesy Photo / Zachary Pohlen)