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Sunday, December 10th 2017


Alaska 3: Some Fauna

  • STATE OF EXISTENCE: Still fighting bronchitis ickies

Alaska 3: Some Fauna

[I really wanted to do a StreetJelly set this afternoon, but still felt a bit too crummy to make it work.]

Sitka bearsI'm going to use a few pictures from my 2008 study trip on this entry, and I'll mark them as such.

Please take it from me: There are no moose on Barinoff Island, where Sitka is located.

However, there are bears.

And now you know the reason why there are no moose.

That whole area of the southern panhandle of Alaska constitutes rain forest. Now, some of you may feel confused because that expression has frequently been used as synonymous with "jungle." Jungles are tropical rain forests, but there are also temperate rain forests, e.g. the Alaskan panhandle. See the Wikipedia article on "Rain Forest," which only briefly acknowledges the existence of temperate rain forests.

Did I just write "temperate" with regard to Alaskan weather? I did, and I did so deliberately. There are warm waters off the shores of British Columbia and Alaska, streaming in a current called he "Gulf of Japan." Just to illustrate, here are the weather predictions for the next ten days, including today (Sunday) for Smalltown, USA and Sitka, Alaska. I got these numbers from the Microsoft Weather app, and I'm not providing any guarantee for accuracy. But even if the exact numbers all turn out differently, you'll still have the same pattern.

Well, it turns out that Bravenet doesn't want to show my table in the manner in which I created it. I will try to construct along some other method. In the mean time, Sitka's temperatures were higher; the differential between night and day was less, and every day showed some precipitation. 

Of all of the wild life in Sitka, as well as the surrounding area, none are as important as two birds: the raven and the eagle. Please hang in here for a moment as I write this without sufficient explanation. In the belief system of the Tlingit nation (the original settlers) there is a hierarchy in which the raven ranks a little bit higher than the Eagle. The adjoining Haida people reverse this relationship.Looks like I couldn't have picked a more illustrative set of days. Only on two days are the temperatures expected to be higher in Smalltown. For the most part, the Sitka temperatures are higher, and the differential between high and low is far less. And, finally, there is not a day listed for Sitka without precipitation, whereas it just so happens that none is expected here in Hoosierland for the next ten days. In case you're wondering how you can have snow when the temperatures are above freezing, the snow predictions apply to the mountains surrounding Sitka. Some of it will show up in town, but--given the temperatures--will not stick.

Ravens are a constant presence year-round. If you can't see them for a moment, you can certainly hear them.

Raven in Sitka

During the summer, bald-headed eagles are everywhere in and out of town, but in late November they were a little more rare. However, on a walk through the small national park, Wolf and I discovered one of them along with three juveniles. Below is an animation of four pictures.

Eagle juveniles

To Wolf's surprise (not mine since I didn't know anything about it), there still were salmon in the Indian River inlet. I took some video clips, and I must warn you that you may want to take some anti-motion-sickness pill before watching. The salmon gets a little more distinctive about half way through. You hear ravens cawing in the background. At the outset you hear some clucking sounds; those are made by ravens as well.

Finally, here is a picture of the hole my leg went through as I was filming the salmon.

Hole in the Ground

Next time: Living with/in/alongside Nature.

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