Category: Local Wildlife

Things to Do, Places to Go, Things to See!

By , February 22, 2018

Tuesday, snow fell in a wonderful fashion. Large, light flakes covered the ground like sequins. By the next morning’s sunrise, an inch and a quarter of snow lay on the homestead so lightly, it seemed as if we’d been inundated with dust bunnies.

When I went out to measure the snow and look at the sky, I found an interesting track way on the path.

I think it’s a shrew track, but a different one than I’ve ever seen before. Instead of a tiny line of footprints on top of the snow (I’ve seen these tiny creatures run around on top of rhubarb leaves without weighing them down much) this animal appeared to push his way through what for it was shoulder-deep snow!

shrew track way in snow

The shrew track way, seen as a diagonal line across this photograph (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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Hedwig in Haines?

By , December 18, 2017

Our local bird watching community, to which we claim membership, has joined many others along the U.S./Canadian border in watching for the latest snowy owl “irruption.”

An irruption, or unpredictable migration, occurs when snowy owl populations increase, encouraging individuals to expand south from their normal arctic zone territories. It seems the last one occurred in 2013-2014, and a new one is currently underway, apparently.

Snowy Owl Photo posted on Flckr by tuchodi

An awesome photo of a snowy owl near Ft. St. John, British Columbia, Canada (an awesome place on one of the feeders to the Alaska Highway, by the way!). (Photo: tuchodi on Flckr.)

Surrounded as we are by Canada on three sides, we have a very good chance of seeing Canadian snowy owl sightings in our area. In fact, a neighbor who lives over on Mud Bay reports seeing one near their place recently. We have other sightings in the area as well.

If you’re not familiar with snowy owls, think of Harry Potter’s Hedwig from the movies. I simply couldn’t resist the alliteration in the title.

But, imagine seeing one of those beautiful birds in the wild! Imagine seeing one in your own neighborhood, or on your own property!

So, as we hike out of and in to our homestead, we’re keeping a close eye out for this rare, astonishingly beautiful visitor. I may even go so far as trying the birder’s trick of broadcasting recorded snowy owl hoots on my iPod as we go. With any luck, we may see one—perhaps even Hedwig herself—who’s to say no?

Here’s a good article on the subject, although, I must warn you—it’s “ferrin,” being from Canada!

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